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