2006 Sellers Home Energy Inefficiencies Can Sour Buyers

Share Article

Stung by rising mortgage rates and higher commuting costs from recent increases at the pump, homebuyers in the last three months have paid extra attention to energy costs during their home searches.

Forget the real estate bubble, energy prices are primary concern for homebuyers. Stung by rising mortgage rates and higher commuting costs from recent increases at the pump, homebuyers in the last three months have paid extra attention to energy costs during their home searches.

"From my experience and hearing client reports as they look for seasonal homes in southern climates, natural gas, heating oil and electricity costs have moved dramatically up the list as potential deal-killers," according to Mark Nash in his fourth real estate book, "1001 Tips for Buying and Selling a Home". Sellers should be prepared for buyer inquiries about energy consumption and efficiency improvements. Energy questions apply to condominiums and single-family homes.

The following are some do's and don'ts from Mark Nash's new book:

Do's:

--Provide the last three months electric and natural gas/heating oil bills. Buyers appreciate pro-active sellers providing these costs without asking. Buyers can usually can energy history from utility companies.

-Be honest about how you set the temperature in your home. If you blast your furnace for a new baby or practice conservation let buyers know. Disclose that you have turned the thermostat down on the hot water or pool heater too.

-If you have your pool opened up for showings and have a solar cover, let buyers know. Pool energy costs are a second-tier energy expense to buyers.

-Install a programmable thermostat if you don't already have one. Buyers look for this telltale sign of energy-awareness .

--Make readily available manuals from energy star appliances (appliances that significantly exceed the minimum national efficiency standards). Save yellow energy use labels from furnaces, hot water heaters and appliances.

-Inform buyers that you have solar-energy systems. Buyers might miss these systems while taking in other features of your home on their first visit.

-Disclose active or abandoned buried oil storage tanks. Most state residential property disclosure laws require sellers to inform buyers of the location, size and age of tanks.

-Display furnace and air-conditioning service histories. Buyers love to see maintenance records.

-Verify that all radiators valves work properly. Buyers love the even heat from this old system but want to know that they can control heat levels. Buy radiator valve keys at the local hardware store.

-Provide receipts from recent insulation or window replacement projects. Highlight special features such a double glazing and low-e coatings.

-Reports from energy audits on your home completed by your utility company.

Don'ts:

  • Forget to replace your furnace filter once a month. Home inspectors and home shouldn't discover filthy filters. Ditto water filters in your refrigerator and sink. Check dryer and range-hood filters too.

-Cover windows and doors with plastic sheeting. Buyers want to see views and use doors on property tours. Plastic coated windows looks like a energy band-aid. Boomers remember the coated couches and lamp shades.

-Pile straw bales around the foundation. Buyers consider this a quick fix for problem crawlspaces.

-Close all the blinds to save air-conditioning costs when showing your home. You won't sell your house if it is dark and closed up for property showings or buyers have to fumble in the dark for lights.

-Remember to vacuum floor vents and ventilation supply ductwork. Many a homebuyer has moved-on from pet-hair tumbleweed coming from the bowels of a heating system.

-Leave exhaust vents running in bathrooms and kitchens during home showings. They suck the heat out and appear wasteful to buyers.

-Neglect covering window air-conditioners in the off season. Drafty air-conditioning units aren't a selling plus and emit outside noises . Don;t forget to clean filters on window units.

-Ignore installing storm windows during heating season. Buyers need to see that you have storm windows for maximum heat retention. Make the screens visually available. Buyers always ask about them and sometimes verify the number matches window and door count.

-Disregard build up of dust on refrigerator and freezer coils. Move appliances out and vacuum before listing your home . Mr. and Ms. clean-obsessed buyer might question overall home maintenance at a home inspection if they discover excessive debris around refrigerators and freezers.

Mark Nash's fourth real estate book, "1001 Tips for Buying and Selling a Home" (2005), and working as a real estate broker in Chicago are the foundation for his consumer-centric real estate perspective which has been featured on CBS The Early Show, Bloomberg TV, Chicago Sun Times, Fidelity Investor’s Weekly, Dow Jones Market Watch, MSNBC.com, The New York Times, Realty Times, Universal Press Syndicate and USA Today.

# # #

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Mark Nash

773-728-8210
Email >
Visit website