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Local Color and Culture

Energy Efficiency Requirements


Austin has long been among the most environmentally conscious, and active, cities in the country.  That is part of what makes Austin Austin.  An energy audit is required for all resale homes (1-4 family) at the time of sale, and new construction has been subject to required energy efficiency sampling for a long time.  Now, it appears that 100% of homes built in Austin next year will require an energy audit for compliance with international standards.  Today, I added this article to my Market News page:
Austin Business Journal, November 20, 2009
Proposal ruffles builders
The new rule will instead mandate testing for every single- or two-family unit by outside contractors.  More:  http://austin.bizjournals.com/austin/stories/2009/11/23/story3.html?b=1258952400^2478101

I am all for improvements, but it seems to me that the market has pushed builders to improve energy ratings and will continue to do so.  The “good” builders obviously market their superior efficiency and the utilities savings that will result for homeowners.  Other builders won’t be able to substantiate such marketing claims, but may be able to sell their products at lower prices.

Of course, the market will also determine how much value buyers attach to improvements, and there is a limit.  This proposal will “level the field” by imposing the same costs on all builders equally, but buyers will still limit how much they are willing to pay for better energy efficiency.  At some point, that will limit the sale of new homes in Austin and/or push new construction farther and farther from the city.

The article notes that statewide adoption of the international standards is required to qualify for federal stimulus funds.  Does increasing the cost of housing and increasing sprawl really qualify as “stimulus”?

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About Bill Morris, Realtor

More than thirty years of business experience (high tech, client service, business organization and start-up, including many years in real estate) tell me that service is the key to success and I look forward to serving you. I represent both buyers and sellers throughout the Austin metropolitan area, which means first-hand market knowledge is brought to bear on serving your needs: -- Seller Representation is a comprehensive process that begins with thorough market analysis and consultation, continues with properly staging the home to achieve the highest price possible in a reasonable time on market, a complete program of marketing and promotion, ongoing updates and communication, closing coordination, and follow-up throughout (and after) the sale. -- Buyer Representation is also full service: shopping, previewing, price and market consultation, contracting, negotiating, coordination of inspections, appraisals, repairs, and closing details, and follow-up beyond the closing of your purchase to ensure your lasting satisfaction. Because the real estate industry is becoming more sophisticated and challenging every day, you need a professional that understands the industry and is positioned to stay ahead of the game. I go the extra mile to help you achieve your goals. That's why I constantly research the market and property values so your home is priced effectively from day one. I also make sure the public knows your home is for sale by using innovative advertising and marketing techniques to attract potential buyers.

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