Cap and Trade: A License Required for your Home

Many cities that have adopted the IRC already has inspections of property prior to sale, with the requirement that corrective action be taken on code defects prior to sale so that the buyer is assured an occupancy permit.

I worked for a municipality in St. Louis where buyers were actually denied permits to occupy their new homes because the seller had failed to have such an inspection, requiring the buyer to have the inspection…and having safety issues uncovered that required significant costs.

Adding energy efficiency to the code is not that big of a leap and makes a whole lot of sense. I hope to see it adopted.

For somone as opposed to licensing as you are, I wonder at your support for defacto licensing of housing.:roll:

Have you no regard for what government mandates do to the price of housing?

With repairs (windows, insulation, doors, 13 SEER HVAC) needed to a home just to sell it, owners may owe more than the home is worth, and add the cost of needed repairs, I can see owners just walking away from their home, defaulting, and then millions of empty homes will be the result.

The financial system of the U.S. is then in jeopardy.


An unbelievable amount of housing becomes unsaleable without massive reductions in price.

Let the free market work it out and people will make their own value decisions on a property.

I’m only telling you what is already in existence and has been for years.

Building code enforcement, for those who have not actually read the IRC and IBC, includes an item called an “occupancy permit” that the jurisdiction grants to owners at the time they purchase the home. New owners require new occupancy permits…which are not granted in cases where code is not met.

This is the case in about 75 of the municipalities surrounding the City of St. Louis in what is St. Louis County.

Travel 50 miles away, and you don’t even need a permit to build a hotel.

I understand HERS is working with MLS to add the HERS rating onto the listing sheet.
I hear alot of people saying that this is going to add debt to our kids, it ill ruin the housing market and so on but if we don’t start doing something the outcome for our children could be worse.

It appears you presume much higher energy costs and I agree.

The cap and trade bill guarantees it.

Can we get a do over?

Hopefully it won’t pass and oil will go back down to 30.00 a barrel :wink:

It should be up to the home owner whether or not they want to save money. If we spend money to save energy, the utility companies have no choice but to raise energy prices when total energy usage goes down. Not one business is in business to lose money; energy companies are no exception. Besides, more people in the world, more consumption anyway. Any energy saving thing we do will only allow that energy to go to the growing population; or to third world countries.

So is this a done deal in some form or another ? Just how will the Gov. handle the REO market ? The banks do not even have to get a SOE or supply the buyer with a disclosure. Will the buyer have to bring the property to code at some point in time.

This whole bill is far from passing.
Sad but true.

Gary, what most industry leaders are looking for is to establish a rating system for current housing stock.

I know everyone has an opinion on this but the fact remains that we as a country need to address our energy consumption before we have a crisis and not after.

Again, energy consumption will never go down; it is all due to the population growth of the U.S. and of the world. Save energy here, sell what is left to other countries. Retro fitting older homes with new upgrades as I stated will cause homeowners to walk away from their homes if they decide to sell. This is especially true in low income areas, where there are millions of homes under 100k, which may need over 50K to bring up to fed standards. The homes will still only be worth 100K, and not worth fixing up. This can, and most likely will, affect all homes over 50 years of age. How many homes nationwide is that? Is the government going to give home owners all of this money to retro fit their homes?

Gary, your analyse couldn’t more incorrect. I am involved in weatherization on a daily basis and most improvements can be made for less than 5k and result in up to 20% in fuel savings.

I was also very skeptical about widespread weatherization but now that I see it first hand I know it can work. Instead of guessing what you think might happen maybe you should get involved and find out what’s going on at your state and local level.

I’ve been doing thermography for three years, started doing energy audits and bought a blower door in March, I’m a member of the Building performance Institute, Efficiency First and locally the Residential Energy Performance Association. At yesterdays REPA meeting the five leading organisation in the state of NH spoke, these are BPI, Leeds, HERS, NAHB, and Build Green NH. In attendance where representatives from the utilities companies, each state weatherization agency, auditors and contractors like myself.

When you look at whats being done presently you begin to understand that these goals are achievable. Is the system perfect, no, far from it, but it’s a start.

In NH we have severe winters and when oil went up to or was projected to go up to 4.50 per gallon it was going to cost app. 4-5k per season to heat the average home. The same goes for warmer climates with cooling. I took m BPI training in Phoenix where their cooling issue’s in the summer mirror our heating issues in the winter.

Gary, you speak of how your business is dropping off, that state laws are forcing you out of business, well are you doing anything about it? Maybe you should look at whats really going on in your area and find some new business opportunities like I have. From everything I hear and read when we start to come out of this recession we will go into a inflationary period which all our cost of goods will increase, oil being the one that will hurt most of us.

I choose to be part of a solution and not b!tch about the problem.

I should also state that I am strongly against the cap and trade bill and believe these programs can be funded with budget cuts and throwing out the damn health care bill.

I should also add that the energy audit has a ROI and no upgrades should be recommended without one.

Cash for Caulkers could mean $12K per home

By Steve Hargreaves, staff writer
On 6:24 pm EST, Tuesday December 8, 2009
Buzz up! 896
President Obama proposed a new program Tuesday that would reimburse homeowners for energy-efficient appliances and insulation, part of a broader plan to stimulate the economy.

The administration didn’t provide immediate details, but said it would work with Congress on crafting legislation. Steve Nadel, director at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, who’s helping write the bill, said a homeowner could receive up to $12,000 in rebates.

The proposal is part of the President’s larger spending plan, which also includes money for small businesses, renewable energy manufacturing, and infrastructure.

We know energy efficiency “creates jobs, saves money for families, and reduces the pollution that threatens our environment,” Obama said. “With additional resources, in areas like advanced manufacturing of wind turbines and solar panels, for instance, we can help turn good ideas into good private-sector jobs.”

The program contains two parts: money for homeowners for efficiency projects, and money for companies in the renewable energy and efficiency space.

The plan will likely create a new program where private contractors conduct home energy audits, buy the necessary gear and install it, according to a staffer on the Senate Energy Committee and Nadel at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

Big-ticket items like air conditioners, heating systems, washing machines, refrigerators, windows and insulation would likely be covered, Nadel said.

Consumers might be eligible for a 50% rebate on both the price of the equipment and the installation, up to $12,000, said Nadel. So far, there is no income restriction on who is eligible. That would mean a household could spend as much as $24,000 on upgrades and get half back.

Homes that take full advantage of the program could see their energy bills drop as much as 20%, he said. The program is expected to cost in the $10 billion range.

It’s not clear how the home efficiency plan would be administered - the government may issue rebates to consumers directly, homeowners might get a tax credit, or the program could be run via state agencies.

If consumers have to spend a lot of money up front to get the credit, it could throw a wrench in the works, David Kreutzer, an energy analyst at the Heritage Foundation, told CNN.

“This will not be something that’s attractive to people who are having trouble already making their budget payments month to month or week to week,” he said.

To keep consumers from having to spend thousands of dollars before getting reimbursed, Nadel said, one idea is to have contractors or big box retailers pay part of the cost up front.

Fraud issues could also come up, Kreutzer said.

“Any program that is going to run through a third party and is going to distribute billions of dollars needs to have lots of checks and balances to make sure there’s not abuse,” he said.

Nadel noted that as a way to guard against fraud, contractors would have to be certified to participate.

Energy company boost

Obama’s new spending plan also calls for renewable energy companies to get additional support. That could come in the form of loan guarantees - basically, money the government uses to secure loans for startups.

In the original stimulus bill passed earlier this year, $6 billion was earmarked for such loan guarantees. But then lawmakers took away $2 billion to fund Cash for Clunkers - the popular program that paid people to turn in their old cars.

The $4 billion from the original bill has funded about $40 billion in loans, said the staffer on the Senate Energy Committee. Meanwhile, firms are hoping for another $4 billion in loan guarantees, since they have another $40 billion worth of projects that need funding.

A bill on energy efficiency reimbursements already has supporters in the Senate.

“Not only will [such legislation] increase our energy security and transform our energy infrastructure to a modern, clean and efficient one,” Senate Energy Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., wrote in a recent op-ed column in the Hill, a Capitol Hill newspaper. “But it also will position the United States to lead in the development of clean energy technologies.”

I actually believe that some of the provisions of the bill, especially as it pertains to retrofits having nothing to do with safety, may be deemed legal but unenforceable.

Some provisions may wind up being struck down by the courts, especially in those cases involving hardship or potential hardship. The housing market is in the crapper, and denying someone the ability to sell their home, and retain any equity, while escaping a poor jobs market, or high taxes, or high utility bills, or whatever, will not stand.

With the president and congress with the lowest approval ratings in history, I am not sure how far any of these politicians are willint to stick their necks out. This will be especially true if a handfull of companies, orgs, or training providers hold the keys to approving the energy efficiency of these homes…

If your home has a low number, and you want/need/have to sell it, it will need a high number even to be allowed to be sold. This may mean new energy efficent doors, windows, appliances, HVAC, insulation, etc. all just to sell it. I heard cap and trade bill is dead, but with the wheeling and dealing going on with health care, and the holidays coming, who knows what will happen.

As far as business, I had 8 inspections in November, my worse month in over 9 years. I advertise on radio, The Real Estate Book, Keller-Williams folders, 3,000 fliers delivered, and 8 inspections. I also do e-mail blasts, and up-date my web site daily. The largest RE company in KC sold 2,000 homes in November. We here in KC are at a loss at who inspected these homes, but most agree that they are all as-is, and are not getting inspected. RE’s may be suggesting that the buyer not get an inspection, since the home is “as is” anyway, so save that $300. We do not know what is really going on, as my agents i work with all say the same thing; slow, due to the economy. I will be on the radio live this Sunday, to help push the importance of home inspections. I am doing about all I can to stay in business. I think many inspectors have taken regular jobs here. Dan Bowers is in Texas, as his business here is zero. As of today, only 40 inspectors have registered in Kansas to be licensed. The effective date is only three weeks away.

Don’t worry Gary, Zero will just come up with a Cash for Chunkers program! :wink:
The government will pay you $50,000 to not throw your house away, but you must buy one with a higher efficiency number than the one you may chunk. :roll:

You never know. How about cash for cabins? I like Tiger Wood’s wifes idea; chunks for hunks.

Tiger is writing a new book,“How to take you Mother in Law out under par!”