Maximize Your Home’s Resale Value
For most of us, buying a new home is the largest investment we will ever make. And we do so with the expectation that we will get a good return on our investment should we decide to sell. For that to happen, we are hoping and betting that the home will appreciate in value. While there is no sure way to predict home values in the future, since much depends on external factors like when you sell and where you live, building or buying a home that is certified as a high-performance home is a great way to hedge your bet.
TODAY’S HOME SHOPPER
Smart shoppers are aware that the cost of a new home is not just the initial price of the home, but rather the total cost of homeownership: the long-term utility bills and what it will cost to maintain the home. Here in the Rio Grande Valley area with the heat and humidity, this is very important to consider. Today’s home shopper needs to be focused on the high performance qualities of the home—looking beyond the luxurious marble floors, exotic granite countertops, designer lighting fixtures, and all the other “lipstick” features that don’t reveal how the home will perform in the long term.
HIGH-PERFORMANCE HOME CERTIFICATION
The BUILT TO SAVE™ program is a voluntary program for homebuilders who strive to build above the minimum building code required by law. Homes certified as BUILT TO SAVE™ are inspected and tested by a licensed, third-party inspector who guarantees that the home has met the requirements of the program to receive the high performance label of
BUILT TO SAVE™. Homebuyers receive a BUILT TO SAVE™ certificate which, much like the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval for household products, is recognized as a symbol of a product inspected and tested with a promise of quality and consumer satisfaction.
ACHIEVING BUILT TO SAVE™ CERTIFICATION
The BUILT TO SAVE™ program process begins with a pre-construction analysis of the home’s floor plans, elevations, and Manual J, which determines the correct size of the HVAC (heating and cooling) system. Using special software, an independent energy rater estimates a projected Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Score, a nationally accepted system that predicts the energy efficiency of a home. The goal is to build a home that is 15% or more energy efficient than a similar home built to code.
THIRD-PARTY INSPECTION AND TESTING
An independent Energy Rater inspects the home after insulation is installed and before the walls are covered. This inspection verifies that the insulation used complies with current code laws and that it was properly installed. A visual inspection at this stage assures that the home’s interior is protected from cool air escaping to the attic space and that hot air from the attic does not enter the home.
Final testing occurs when the home is complete. Special equipment is used at this stage to identify air leakage in the home and in its ductwork, which would increase utility bills. The tests performed are known as a blower door test and a duct leakage test. While some municipalities mandate these tests, it is important to ask if they comply with the new 2015 energy codes as required in Texas since August 1, 2016. For builders, it is important to know that the responsibility to comply with the new Texas energy code rests on the builder and not the city code officials.
The value of the BUILT TO SAVE™ program is the Rater’s guarantee of home comfort, improved indoor air quality, construction durability, and lower utility bills. But one benefit that several national studies have revealed is that energy efficient homes achieve higher resale values. It makes sense that buyers would be willing to pay more for an energy efficient home with long-term savings. That equates to more cash in your pocket! So when you decide to sell your BUILT TO SAVE™ home, its official certificate of high performance will be instrumental in setting a premium price. Why tell buyers that your home is a high-performance home…when you can show them?