If you are buying a home around Austin Texas, then you want an Energy Audit. If the seller was required by the City of Austin to do an ECAD Audit, then you should require a full detailed report from the seller.
Having your new home’s performance assessed will tell you a lot about how and where your home is losing money. You will then know specifically what needs to be done to stop the waste, and upgrade your home.
One of the most common issues with homes is that they are leaky, and need to be air sealed to stop the loss of expensive cold air in the blistering hot summer months.
In addition to air sealing, most homes are not compliant with the current energy codes for insulation. If you don’t have the right amount or type of insulation in your attic, your home will be:
- uncomfortably hot in rooms
- overworking the A/C unit
- unnecessarily wasting electricity
- and draining your bank account!
When is the best time to fix your home’s energy performance problems? The smartest time to upgrade your home’s insulation and air sealing is before you close on the loan for your mortgage! Why?
Look, it can cost thousands of dollars to have your insulation upgraded. If you are getting a mortgage, you don’t have to pay for money saving upgrades up front. Instead, it is often better to have the cost of the upgrade included in your mortgage.
In other words: Let’s say your home is $350,000. You need $5,000 in upgrades. The upgrades should reduce your monthly energy bills by $75, but only increase your mortgage by $25 a month. If you take care of your home performance now, you will have $600 a year in net savings. Over the course of a 30 year mortgage, if you invest the yearly savings, you would have nearly a six-figure return on the initial investment.
What is the biggest problem with buying a home when it comes to energy efficiency? The problem is that there is so much going on that it is easy to overlook the most important investment you can make in your home: insulation and air sealing.
Why won’t your Realtor tell you about this missed opportunity?
The home buyers are usually fixated on the comparing homes by the finishes, the neighborhood and schools. So the Realtor is trying to give the buyer what they want. That is their job.
It is the buyer’s job to be educated on the right questions to ask the Realtor. As a buyer, you will have many questions. Here are a few to add to your list:
- Has the home had an ECAD or Energy Audit? Demand to see all the details.
- What is the R-value of the attic insulation? Code Compliance requires R38 for blown or batt insulation, while spray foam insulationon the roof decking is R25.
- What is the R-value of the wall, and floor insulation?
- What are the blower door and air duct test results? How leaky is the home?
Now, the realtor will probably tell you that “most homes are like this.” This answer is acceptable when comparing home prices, but not when talking performance. If a home’s energy performance is low, this may be another negotiating point with the seller to justify a reduced sales price. Take advantage of it.
Here is what to do next:Now you have the information you need to strengthen your negotiation as a buyer in a seller’s market. You know what to look for that most uninformed buyers will overlook. Use what you’ve learned to save some money on the purchase price of the home. Then tell your lender that you want to borrow a little more money to upgrade your home’s insulation. Lastly take action. Have your home upgraded. Put your savings in an investment account. That’s it.
About the Author
Shawn Mansur is the founder of Stellrr Insulation & Spray Foam in Austin TX. Shawn is famous for his 200% Money-Back Guarantee. He is laser-focused on delighting every client while helping them achieve stellar performance in their homes. Plus, with every purchase, Shawn gives 10% of the profits to the cause of the client’s choice. Learn more at: https://www.stellrr.com