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Home > Home Buying Tips > Green Home Inspection: Is it Necessary Before Buying the Home

Green Home Inspection: Is it Necessary Before Buying the Home?

There are many important considerations when buying a home, including conducting an energy assessment of the home you are considering buying. Conducting a home energy assessment allows you to determine the types of improvements that should be made to make the home as energy efficient as possible. A home inspection is a prerequisite, but it will not allow you to determine whether a need exists for replacing the heating and cooling units. Also, a home inspection will not give you insight regarding whether the insulation and caulking will need to be replaced for the home to be energy efficient.

Home inspectors typically check to determine whether the heating and cooling equipment is operating sufficiently. They typically will not be able to tell you whether there are more advanced models of thermostats available or whether you can take advantage of equipment with higher SEER levels than what the home currently has. All of these matters fall under the purview of a green energy or eco consultant. At one time a green home inspection was not a common type of inspection to be included in a home purchase transaction; however, that is rapidly changing today as more and more home buyers become interested in energy savings.

A green professional will assess the home to determine its ability for supporting energy efficient measures through the use of the most energy efficient appliances available on the market. A green professional will also review the home to determine how well the doors and windows are sealed in addition to how well the attic and basement are insulated. The matter of how air tight a home is can mean additional expenses for a new homeowner. It can definitely be a good investment as the years pass, particularly if you are able to realize savings in your electric bill. For instance, a home that is air tight only needs to be air conditioned once every three hours or so but a home that is not will need to be re-cooled several times per hour. This can make a tremendous difference in the amount you pay for your monthly utility bills as well as wear and tear on the heating and cooling equipment, which can lead to increased maintenance and replacement costs later on.

A certified green professional who is trained in ecological consulting will also be able to assist you with obtaining available federal tax credits. These tax credits are offered for homes that have been weatherized or retrofitted to take advantage of energy saving measures. A home energy assessment can cost between $300 and $1,000; however, this should be viewed as a beginning investment for a home that will not only be energy efficient but will also be cost effective in the future.

Ideally the green home inspection should take place either before a deal is made on a home you are considering buying or after you have made an offer on the home. If you choose to have the assessment take place before you make an offer, the findings from the assessment may help to guide you in determining how much you should offer for the home.

If you are considering buying a home, you might consider negotiating the cost of the green home assessment with the seller. In today's buyer's market, many sellers are considering offering concessions such as green home inspection, that would not have previously been considered in the last few years. You might ask for the seller to provide the green home assessment or to split the cost with you. Based on the findings of the green home consultant, you might also negotiate the costs of necessary upgrades and repairs with the seller. Many sellers are surprisingly willing to work with buyers to make necessary upgrades in a home to make it more energy efficient, if it means the home will sell faster.

Keep in mind that if you choose not to have a green home inspection until after you have actually purchased the home and the deal has closed, then any repairs or upgrades that are necessary to make the home more energy efficient will be your responsibility. This is why it is a good idea to ensure the green home assessment is performed either before or right after you reach a deal on the home and before the transaction closes.

In the end a green home inspection can provide you with greater peace of mind and insight into how to make your new home as energy efficient as possible.

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