A friend of mine bought a resale home at Mueller and kept his old Austin home as a rental property. His tenants are complaining that the home is leaky, and he’s wanting to sell the home in the next few years. Should he have Home Depot come take a look and bid for some energy efficiency upgrades?

Yes, and no. Mostly no. There’s a strong chance that his rental home will require an ECAD Audit before he sells it – it’s a part of the energy efficiency disclosures mandated in the City of Austin for Austin Energy supplied homes. If he doesn’t qualify for an ECAD exemption, he’ll need to have an independent 3rd party provide an energy audit of the home and provide this information to any buyer. This differs from the free audit that Home Depot might do – a sales effort which allows them to bid for work.

So when should he do his ECAD audit? Given that they are valid for 10 years, and he’s planning on disposing of his income property in that time, I would advocate doing it now. That way if there are egregious energy leaks, he has the option to take care of them on behalf of his tenants, and get the benefits of any work performed when marketing the home for sale. For example, auditors often find leaks around the return air handler which can be significant and inexpensively fixed.

Does he definitely need an ECAD Audit? If he hasn’t had rebates from energy efficient upgrade work from Austin Energy, he probably does. Call 512-482-5346 to check, and have a copy of the account number to hand.

Who should he use for his energy audit? I like Positive Energy at 512 462 1000 – Kristof’s team are extremely over-qualified, and are true scientists when it comes to measuring building performance. They are the auditors’ auditor.

Categories: For Sellers

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