May 26, 2009

Energy audits now part of home sales

Under a new ordinance, all homes more than 10 years old being sold in Austin, Texas, must have energy audits, officials say.

The law, adopted by the city council last year as part of a program to make Austin more energy efficient, takes effect Monday, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

There's never a good time to add fees to a transaction, but I think this requirement is a good thing, Councilman Mike Martinez said. It allows the consumer to fully understand the purchase they're about to make. If you spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on an investment, you would want to know how efficient that investment is going to be for you.

Jay Gohil, head of the Austin Board of Realtors, called the ordinance reasonably acceptable for buyers as well as sellers. The board was part of a task force that helped draft the law.

But some other real estate agents questioned the wisdom of adding new costs to selling a home in a very slow real estate market.