Effective July 1, 2022, any residential property listed for sale in Montpelier is required to have on file a Home Energy Profile. This blog post does two things. First, it gives the details and links to info with the City (boring). Second, we break it down into frequently asked questions (way less boring).
For more information or to read the actual ordinance. Here’s how the City of Montpelier describes the purpose of the Home Energy Profile requirement:
The purpose of the ordinance is to provide information to homebuyers about residential building energy performance. This information is designed to protect consumers, to enable more knowledgeable decisions about the full costs of operating homes and to motivate investments in home improvements that lower energy bills, reduce carbon emissions, increase comfort, safety and health for homeowners.
Homeowners can identify energy- and cost-saving recommendations for home improvements, and receive a better valuation of existing energy efficiency features and improvements in the real estate market when selling their home.
Prospective homebuyers will gain more information about the operational costs of owning the houses under their consideration and receive a better valuation of existing energy efficiency features and improvements. This information can also be used in negotiating a mortgage rate.
Real estate professionals will be better informed on how energy efficient a home is, enabling them to more confidently market energy efficiency features.
The VHEP provides more transparency to homeowners, prospective buyers, and real estate professionals on the estimated energy use and costs of a home. This is similar to getting the miles per gallon (MPG) when looking at different cars in the market.
Why is this happening?
As a community (city, state, country, world), we know that using less energy is better than using more energy. This is another opportunity to pay more attention.
Who does this apply to?
This applies to all residential properties, including condos, single family homes, and multifamily properties. It does not apply to office, commercial, industrial, etc. It applies to homes being sold with a Realtor as well as For Sale By Owner.
What if I just sell my house to my buddy?
Well, you either had a Realtor involved or you were For Sale By Owner. Either way, you need to fill out the report.
How do you complete the Montpelier Home Energy Profile?
It’s pretty easy. You go to www.clearlyenergy.com/vermont, put in your address, and then the site walks you through everything. It starts with some assumptions about your house, and you can edit or correct those assumptions.
What does the report show?
The report shows an estimate of how much energy your house uses, and how much it costs to “operate” your house. It’s not perfect. For example, if oil prices change, how does the site reflect that? Or if electricity costs increase. Or, what if you’re the type of person who sets the thermostat really low (or really high)?
It also shows potential areas for improvement, and even has links to resources to find a contractor or other assistance for improving a property’s efficiency.
Ok, I did it. What happens?
The report has to be made available to buyers while the property is for sale. At Green Light Real Estate, in general, we’re putting the report on the Multiple Listing Service as an attachment in order to satisfy this requirement and keep our clients in line with the City’s ordinance.
What if I don’t do the profile?
The City will fine a property owner $25 per day that a property is for sale and the report isn’t on file. That fine stops at $500.
So? I’ll pay the $500. Then what?
There’s also a required Certification Statement. Here’s a link to that form. That form needs to be filled out prior to closing. If it’s not, then the City can place a lien on the property which can hold up the sale, hold up a future sale, prevent refinancing, etc.
I still can’t be bothered. Can someone do it for me?
Yes, with permission someone can do it for you. That could be a Realtor, an attorney, or someone else. When you type in your address, there’s already a “default” profile. By the time you make arrangements for someone else to do it for you, you might as well just click through and do it yourself. But yes, someone can do it for you.
How long is the profile good for?
What if I remodel, make an addition, weatherize, etc. after I’ve filled out the report?
You can go back in and edit the report. So, if you add square feet, you can just add that in the profile. Or, if you upgrade the insulation in the attic, replace an old water heater, add solar, or whatever, you can revise your profile to reflect those changes.
How will this impact my property value?
Tough to say. We all know that electric vehicles are cheaper to operate than a Tacoma or a Subaru. But we don’t all drive EVs. We see the calorie counts at restaurants, and don’t always (or ever) order salads with no dressing.
I suppose that all else equal, if you had two identical properties (yeah, right) with a difference in energy use, the lower use property would sell for more. But they’d have to be exactly the same and for sale at the exact same time to really compare.
Is the report nice and colorful?
Yes! Here’s what it looks like. If you had your heart set on a dry spreadsheet, you’re going to be disappointed.