Add Value to your Home, and save the planet

Let me grab your attention……….

Which of these is the most astonishing statistic or comment (all are true)?

• Only about 1-in-10 home buyers get a private survey completed.
• Only 28% of Listed Buildings are insured: 55% are under-insured.
• 25% of all land is not “registered” despite registration starting in 1925.
• UK Housing stock is the oldest in the developed world.
• Only 1% of our housing stock is EPC Rated “A” or “B”.
• In 2001 new house building fell to its lowest level since the war.
• Social demographics reveal that although one-person-homes made up 19% of total housing stock in 1971, this stat increased to 31% last year (2010).
• Houses (NOT flats) represent 82% of the dwelling stock in England.

To me, two statistics leap out of the screen and shout at me:-

As a Surveyor I just do not comprehend why 9 out of 10 homebuyers do not get unbiased, independent Survey opinion. Surveys have proved to save buyers money (typically a x5 saving in relation to fee costs, perhaps a great deal more).

As a home owner and residential Surveyor I also find it staggering that only 1% of our total housing stock is reasonably good in saving energy or reducing carbon emissions.

It may surprise some readers that the trends towards desktop valuations, as opposed to visit-the-home-and-produce-a-real-valuation, is rapidly gathering pace such that soon buyers will not have anyone look at their purchases unless they can be educated NOW and elect to pay for independent opinion (always separate the loan/mortgage valuation from the private survey – these are two separate matters and only one is a “survey”; the survey should be completed after the Loan Valuation and loan offer is received, in writing ).

At any one time the forces and influences that combine to determine value or worth of an asset are shifting. Today we are entering a period of years whereby carbon footprint and energy performance profile will assert themselves and create a valuation premium.

Like it or not we will all need to far better understand the process of home buying and just what actually creates value.

All the usual candidates remain: a “top five” may look something like this–
1. Location
2. Condition
3. Size
4. Features
5. Modernity (in some cases)

However, word is out NOW that two new candidates are in the top five listing. These are:-
• Carbon footprint to build, plus
• Carbon and Energy footprint to live in.

These factors create “sustainability” and that state may help save our planet and help us save money (energy costs) into the long term future.

Fit-in-Tariffs and RHI (Renewable Heating Initiative) are just two examples of current schemes whereby the Government will underwrite an annual income to you if you change away from, or significantly reduce your consumption of, fossil fuels.

A Home Valuer must nowadays consider and reflect upon whether your home was carbon neutral in its creation and also whether it has a zero-carbon in-use footprint. Did non-sustainable trees and resources need to be expended to produce the home AND/OR can the home produce energy savings (or even create an energy flow into the national grid – an income stream) by clever design, systems and gizmos?

From now onwards these latter mentioned matters will rise and rise and create a new slice of home value leaving your own existing outdated home on the floor as far as “worth” is concerned. This process will be slow but would be kick started if loan and mortgage rates were switched to be lower if your home actually sold energy to, rather than used energy from, the national grid. Differentiation in favour of green homes cannot now be too far away.

Beauty, they say, is in the eye of the beholder. Buyers looking at identical homes, but where one has a Government backed 25 year income stream attached to it and will probably sell for a higher capital sum will be considered more valuable today. For buyers to see the worth of such new initiatives means they must understand what is happening around them and this can only start by education: reading this article marks the start of that process.

So: Read the EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) on the home you wish to buy (this remains a mandatory document on any sell or letting in England). Find out how, and at what costs and future benefits, you could improve the structure and its services to create income and higher value/worth. Plan how and when you could achieve this.

Take energy seriously and take extra value from it.

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