Sunday, June 19, 2011
Homebuyers across the country as well as homeowners are becoming more concern on finding ways in saving money on their utilities bills as well as making their homes more comfortable and healthier to live in.
Yes, many real estate agents are not aware of the financial incentives now available at the federal, state or local levels for homeowners contemplating on upgrading their properties or buyers looking into buying a green qualified home for that matter. Many agents misrepresent their listing without even knowing exactly if the features they are calling as green (energy efficient) really makes a difference. They only do this because of the vast demand by buyers wanting these features on the homes they are looking to buy. These real estate agents just want to jump on the bandwagon without having the education to make them knowledgeable in this fast growing home market.
An Ecobroker Certified agent would be able to assist these consumers wanting to incorporate green features in their homes or point out false features advertised on property listings that they are interested in buying in hopes to keep more green in their pockets.
The economic stimulus bill is the most generous credit for investment in alternative energy systems for houses, already extend through 2016 and likely to play key roles in homeowners' housing choices in upcoming years. Energy guzzling houses just like clunker cars will command lower prices and less attention from buyers than those minimize energy expenses.
Most retailers and manufacturers should be able to certify for homeowners whether the product or systems are considered to meet or exceed federal requirements to qualify for a tax credit.
Homeowners' claiming and homebuyers' looking to buy homes with such features should be able to verify the claims through manufacture documentations. For example: how do you know that you are buying an appliance that is Energy Star? This is the simplest thing to do. The Energy Star seal is embedded on the appliance. Well if anybody is claiming green (energy efficiency) in a home their should be documentation for the product being advertised as doing so. If the homeowner or real estate agent is unable to produce this documentation you can pretty much assume advertising gimmick. Word of caution.
Energy Efficient Improvements
Even though in certain part of the country green houses are more popular than others does not mean that the homeowners can not make the improvements. Eventually, homeowners' that have made their homes more energy efficient will acquire the return in their investments. Simple energy efficient upgrades are upgrading exterior windows, doors, including sliding glass doors and skylights. These upgrades must conform to 2 key energy-efficient standards and product must be certified by the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC). Homeowners, homebuyers and real estate professionals do not need to be energy experts to figure this out. Energy Star states that the NFRC is the only Federal recognized organization for determining the energy performance of windows, doors, and skylights.
So, when a claim is made of energy efficiency in a home and you have not hired an Ecobroker Certified agent to assist you just request the manufacturer or retailers documentation of the upgrades and see the rating given by the NFRC.
Look for the Energy Star blue seal
U-factor usually ranges between .20 and 1.20 and SHGC of .30 or below you will pay a good penny to obtain the lowest end of the scale. This will not come cheap. So, when you see a home that has these features do not expect to buy them at a rock bottom price because a seller will not pay top dollar to put in these high-end products to just turnaround and sell it at a discount price.
Roofing- asphalt and metal are eligible for credits of up to 30% of the cost of the materials, but not of the installation cost to a maximum of 1,500. Materials must be Energy Star certified and rated for a useful life of at least 5 years or come with a 2 yr warranty from the manufacturer.
Insulation carriers a maximum credit for installation of 30% of the material cost up to $1,500. Labor & installation expenses are not eligible. To be able to qualify for the credit the material must meet efficiency standards set by the International Energy Conservation Code and be expected to have a 5 year useful life or come with a 2 year warranty from the manufacturer.
You should also check with your state for tax credits available for energy efficiency home construction or for retrofitting s home.
Just remember to get the proper documentation to rightfully claim a home with the energy efficient improvements and avoid GREENWASHING or legal ramifications. This is why it is so important when a home for sale advertises energy efficiency there must be documentations to the claim. If the property is advertised by a Realtor it is their responsibility to verify the claims.
If you find yourself overwhelmed with what energy efficiency home improvement to begin with contact your local Ecobroker Certified Agent to provide you the guidance for your improvements.