Today, I participated in a webinar with the U. S. Department of Energy that blew my mind. While I do not recall having ever been in agreement with the National Association of Realtors regarding anything, I can see why the NAR is so dead set against this new U.S. Department of Energy “Home Energy Score” rating program that is coming out this Fall.
Their concerns and their objections are valid. This program is, indeed, a potential for disaster for anyone who pays to have their home “scored”.
These “Home Energy Scores” are to be provided by inexpensive “raters” who are to spend one hour or less at the home taking measurements and inputting data into an online database that provides the seller a quick “Home Energy Score” that rates their home in comparison to other homes in their area.
Imagine being the home seller who gets a Department of Energy “Home Energy Score” of ‘5’ —as did the average person in one of the test cities that was mentioned.
Yep, on a scale of 1 to 10 … after his quick hour of measurements and data input, the average seller only gets a “Home Energy Score” of *5 *when compared to homes in his area.
On the third page of his official DOE “Home Energy Score” rating certificate, the home owner is provided a list of “improvements” that he can make which … if he spends the money to do them all … will get him to his highest achievable Home Energy Score of 7. Yep…a high of 7.
According to the official rating certificate described by the government official speaking at the webinar, a two to three point improvement was the average in which a seller could ever achieve no matter how much money he spent, nationwide, according to the results of their test program.
This is not a “Home Energy Score”. It is a Home Energy “Stigma”, in my opinion.
Even in the best possible market (which this is definitely NOT) how does he expect to get his full asking price for a home that has been officially rated to be inferior to others in the same area… with no chance of ever getting the highest “Home Energy Score” no matter what he spends to improve it … while competing against similar homes with no Home Energy Score at all?
Wanna kill a deal? Add this “Home Energy Score” to your inspection report and add insult to injury.
According to the official who was doing the Q&A, today, the only home inspection association named was ASHI … inviting its members (who must also be either BPI or RESNET certified, according to the government official) to participate with the program. Frankly, as closely associated with the NAR that ASHI is … I cannot see them willfully going out of their way to offend real estate salesmen and alienating people by performing these meaningless ratings that have such a potential for harm.
Government programs often begin as good ideas and I’m sure that this one originally looked good when it started … but what it has since developed into is an invitation for disaster.
Home owners don’t want or need “scores”, anyway. They want and need useful information that will help them increase their levels of comfort, lower their utility bills and improve their home’s air quality and value. The Department of Energy “Home Energy Score” does not do any of these things.
They should take this turkey back to the drawing board.