If your high-performance homes are appraised lower than contract prices, the National Association of Home Builders has some tips for you. Appraisers and buyers can’t see what’s behind the walls, unlike high quality finishes. It can be difficult to directly address inaccurate appraisals for homes above code, but there are a few steps that include educating appraisers, lenders, and the general public. First, NAHB suggests assessing and even changing how your homes are marketed. A comfortable, energy and water efficient home can help lower a homeowner’s utility bills—advertise that. Energy Rating Index, the Home Energy Rating System score, or the Home Energy Score are important, but agents may not know that. You should consider educating your selling agent on its importance.
Teach your sales staff how to articulate what an ERI, HERS and/or HES rating is and what it means;
Display the ERI, HERS or HES rating and potential expected energy savings at open houses. Include an infographic to demonstrate the anticipated energy-use breakdown (e.g., 40% space heating, 10 % space cooling, 15% water heating, etc.). Use handouts to explain how the home brings in fresh air, why specific materials were chosen to eliminate harmful sources of particulate matter, and what mold-prevention techniques were used; and
Highlight any independently verified green home certification, such as the National Green Building Standard, prominently in your marketing materials by adding the badge to flyers and webpages, and explaining what the certification means in terms of better indoor air quality, lower toxin levels in the home, and an overall quieter and more comfortable living experience. Display and discuss the certification plaque during open houses as well.
Step 2: Educate your buyers on the importance of choosing a lender who is familiar with sustainably built homes. Local mortgage lenders who have a separate appraisal panel of trained professionals with experience valuing high-performance homes are critical to get the value your above-code home deserves. Your prospective buyers can encourage the lender to use an appraiser on the Appraisal Institute’s green registry. If the lender is familiar with efficient homes, he or she is more likely to wrap the slightly higher cost of the home into the mortgage, allowing your customer to realize monthly energy savings that make any potentially higher upfront cost work out financially.