Since June 1st, most homes sold in University Hills have been subject to mandatory energy audits. What does this mean for buyers and sellers in the area?
If a home served by Austin Energy is over 10 years old and has not received $500 in energy efficiency rebates in the last 10 years, it is likely to require an audit. The majority of homes in University Hills were built in the 1960s and 1970s, and often were built in a split level or ranch style – the average size of homes sold in the last three years is 1640sqft.
For buyers this means a perception of older, larger home which may be less energy efficient than a smaller, newer home. 69% of homes sold in the last three years in University Hills have less than two energy efficient features recorded in the MLS. So double pane windows and ceiling fans aren’t the norm.
Buyers looking at a 40 year old home aren’t expecting them to be built to modern building codes with R38 attic insulation. Only extreme energy efficiency problems are being negotiated between buyers and sellers right now.
How do the Energy Audits affect buyers in the area? The results aren’t surprising – I’ve seen HVAC duct leakages between 8% and 80% in the last two months. As it says on the audit form itself:
In homes the average Duct Leakage is 27%. Acceptable leakage should not exceed 10%.
So an 80% duct leakage is something so catastrophically out of the norm that it could be negotiated. And the rule for sellers is that the sooner you can find, fix and disclose, the better you do in negotiations.
One way some sellers are avoiding the audit is to simply apply for energy efficiency upgrade rebates as part of their home sale preparations. Then they can market a more energy efficient home, avoid negotiations based on an energy audit and have a smoother sale.
If you’re considering selling your home in the next few years, check if your home requires an Energy Audit before sale, and consider some of the available Energy Star rebates.