Not every new home is designed to be as energy-efficient as possible. In fact, many new homes completely miss the mark.
You can easily end up paying 3-4 times more per month than you should for your energy costs. Unfortunately, contractors will cut corners when building new homes so they can increase their profit margins.
We’re not saying you need to shell out an extra $100,000 for a new home with all the most technologically advanced energy-efficiency upgrades. We are saying, however, that a moderately-priced $200,000 home should be highly energy efficient.
Here’s how to make sure that’s the case for your new home:
1. Ask for a Year’s Worth of Energy Bills from the Previous Homeowner
As you make your decision, you have the right to due diligence. Ask the seller to see the past year’s energy bills. They’ll be close to what you’ll have to pay in the future.
Remember, energy rates always rise long-term. And if you have a different size of family, you may use more or less energy.
But at least you’ll have a good estimate.
2. Have a Home Energy Audit Performed
Many utilities, and even contractors, do these for free. They’ll check out what’s most important, which includes things you can’t easily observe.
That means stuff like your insulation, air envelope, whether you have the right size air conditioner for your home, and your return air ventilation. Even though these things aren’t easy for you to check, they play a large role in your overall comfort.
Make sure you join along for the energy audit. That also gives you the opportunity to assess the inspecting professional’s credibility.
By the way, if they find any major item that should be repaired, you have more negotiating power with the previous homeowner. They’ll have to make the fix to sell the home to you, or anyone else.
3. Make a Plan for Reducing Energy Bills
After you have your home energy audit done, you’ll know exactly what needs to be done. Now of course, you aren’t going to be overflowing with money after purchasing your new home (Or if you are – congratulations!).
So you’ll want to know from the inspecting professional which repair gives you the biggest payoff the fastest. Or maybe the home you look at will be so inefficient that you decide not to purchase it.
Either way – you stay protected.
Never Walk into an Energy-Inefficient Money Pit Again
If you follow those 3 steps, you’ll get a good deal – from an energy efficiency perspective. Make sure you take responsibility for them because not every realtor will recommend them!