FAQs About Appraising High Performance Homes

FAQs About Appraising High Performance HomesMore and more people are building new high performance homes and upgrading existing homes to combat rising energy costs and climate change. Appraisers who can market themselves as “green appraisers” will be in high demand so that these properties can be properly valued given their efficiency features. Here are answers to common questions regarding high performance homes.

What are high performance homes?

High performance homes are strong, durable, healthy, energy efficient homes. The goal is to reach “Net Zero,” or that sweet spot where the house produces as much energy as it consumes. Quite simply, renovators and builders want to create homes that do a better job of providing shelter to humans. That means that the houses will be:

  • Dry
  • An ideal temperature (68-78 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Free of issues that could cause or exacerbate health problems (moisture, mold, dust, chemicals)

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What value do they provide?

The benefits of high performance homes are tremendous, reducing the consumption of energy and the subsequent operating costs for the owner. Additionally, they are great for the environment and, therefore, society as a whole. Such homes focus on controlling the flow of air, heat, and moisture. As a result, they eliminate or dramatically reduce issues that undermine the value of a house.

High performance properties are sought after and deemed more valuable by many homebuyers because of these benefits:

  • Improved health
  • Enhanced comfort
  • Durability and extended life of home
  • Energy efficiency
  • Lower utility costs
  • Boost to local economy

What common characteristics should appraisers look for?

Characteristics that are commonly present in high performance homes, and that add to their overall value, include:

  • Raised floor with sealed crawl space
  • Advanced framing features
  • Exterior insulation (XPS R5)
  • Air sealing features
  • HVAC features
  • Ventilation features
  • Water efficiency features
  • Solar PV

For related info, check out our article: FAQs About Appraising Solar Panels.

What are the best resources for valuating a high performance home?

While the popularity of “green” high performance homes is growing, valuating them is still very much up to you. You can’t treat high-performance homes as you would every property, and they do require that you take a deeper look at the upgrades. Fortunately, most of what you need you can obtain from the homeowners or public records. As you appraise these properties, be sure to reference the following documentation, in addition to the documents you regularly reference:

  • Energy assessment or energy audit
  • Proposals and contracts
  • Equipment spec sheets
  • Green certifications and ratings
  • Solar PV proof of ownership
  • Utility records

Another must-use resource is the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET), an independent nonprofit organization that develops national standards for energy-efficiency rating and certification systems in the United States. The RESNET National Registry is a source of valuable information to builders, consumers, utility programs, and appraisers that is available to the public. Check it out here.

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