Let’s start this post by defining what a home inspection really is: A home inspection is a broad survey that documents the general condition and deficiencies of a home that are prescribed by the home inspector’s standard of practice. What is important to remember about home inspection conclusions is that you want to compare it to what your general impression of the home was when you made your offer on it.
Next, let’s talk about energy efficiency and how it effects home ownership costs. Energy efficiency is relatively important to the home ownership experience. Reoccurring energy bills can make it difficult to keep and maintain a home. Additionally, the energy efficiency of a home directly effects the comfort inside of the home as well as the durability of its components. These are definitely very important factors effecting a purchase decision on a home. If energy efficiency is your most important goal, you should consider looking at new construction. The reason for this is that the building codes today are much, much more stringent in terms of energy efficiency. The general rule of thumb is, the older the home, the less energy efficient is likely to be. It is true that you can make an old home more energy efficient, but it is expensive to bring an older home up to the standards of today. It is also more difficult to determine the energy efficiency on an older home. Conversely, purchasing newer homes can be quite a bit more expensive than older home. There are several reasons for this including: newer building codes make it more expensive to build, general inflation factors of the current construction industry, most new home developments have metropolitan district fees that create a hidden tax on home ownership. In the end, purchasing a home is similar to making a car purchase. The true cost of ownership is what you’re looking to get at.
Is energy efficiency an important consideration in a home purchase? Yes. Work with your Realtor to meet your energy efficiency requirements. What place should energy efficiency occupy in the home purchase? I believe that energy efficiency is something you should look at before you make your offer. Also take into account the size of the home. If it is a large home, energy efficiency may be more important. Take a look at the general age of the home. Look for energy efficiency upgrades when you’re touring the home. Use general guides to give you an idea how energy efficient the home is.
When it comes time to hire a home inspector, use the inspector to find out the condition of the home. My reasoning for this is that repairing things that are wrong with the home can be more expensive and devastating to your budget. If you need to replace a roof or other major system in the home, it can be difficult to keep the home.
The time to do a home performance audit is when you have decided to make improvements to the home. This will help you pinpoint improvements that address specific weakness and improve the return on investment.