Whether you’re representing a buyer or seller, you have to be able to accurately price a home. Besides pulling comps and calculating the average price per square foot, should you also consider conducting a home energy audit to help you get a better idea of the home’s value? Yes!
What is a home energy audit?
A home energy audit will allow you to see a snapshot of how your home is consuming energy and where improvements need to be made. For example, a home energy audit may reveal you are wasting energy because your home isn’t properly insulated. If so, it would suggest you add insulation in order to lower your energy use and therefore your utility bills.
Many home energy audits are completed by professionals, but REALTORS® can use Homeselfe from any smartphone or tablet to conduct the home energy audit right alongside their client.
How does it affect price?
A home energy audit can identify ways you can make your home more energy efficient, and therefore lower your utility bills on a regular basis. REALTORS® should encourage their sellers to conduct a home energy audit and make a few green upgrades before listing their home. Why? Because today’s buyers are both eco-friendly and price-conscious, they are willing to spend a little bit more upfront in order to spend less on energy usage every month once they live in the home. In fact, a number of studies have shown that for every $1 of annual energy savings, the value of your home increases by about $15 to $20 at the time of the sale.
Need further proof? A study of 66,000 home sales in Texas found that listings with the words “energy efficient” sold for 5.8% more than comparable homes without these upgrades. What does this mean for REALTORS®? Use your words wisely! If a home you are listing has green features, make sure you mention it in your write-up of the home so eco-conscious buyers know they should take a closer look. Even if the home is not decked out with green features, having just one upgrade, such as low-flow faucets or toilets, could mean an increase in price of around 1.7%.
How can home energy audits help?
There’s just one problem: sellers aren’t sure which energy efficient upgrades to make to increase the value of their home. Green upgrades are not as visually attractive as installing a granite countertop or replacing carpet with hardwood floors, but that doesn’t mean they’re less valuable. So, when making these energy efficient improvements, it’s important to focus on the energy savings instead of the appearance of the upgrade. Using a home energy audit, you can easily discover which improvements are needed the most, and which will give you the most energy savings. This is a great service you can provide to all of your customers to differentiate yourself from other REALTORS® in the area.
Next time you price a home for a seller or justify a price to a buyer, use a home energy audit to help you get your point across!