If you are selling a home in the City of Portland, you now must provide an energy audit to potential home buyers. Yes, you. You do. You really do!

What is an energy audit?  It is a survey of the home conducted by a licensed contractor to gauge the energy efficiency of the house.  Think of it like you do the MPG rating on a car.  

The test takes about 90-120 minutes, depending on the home and should cost a couple hundred bucks.  The auditor will check out the various systems and structures of the house to arrive at a score on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest efficiency.  The score is based on the house itself, and not on the occupants and their behavior.  The audit report must be shared on RMLS and displayed at the house, and it is good for 8 years (unless changes occur to the home).

It is important to know that home sellers will not be required by the City to make any improvements or repairs.  Buyers shouldn’t either, but everything is negotiable and we have yet to see how this new policy will play out.

This new policy applies to single family homes and townhomes, but not “vertically stacked” condos or apartment buildings within the proper city limits of Portland.  Homes that have Portland mailing addresses but are not technically within the city receiving services are exempt.  To be sure, check out the jurisdiction field at PortlandMaps.com

Sellers are responsible for compliance, and there are penalties for home owners who list their home for sale without an energy audit.  

There are some simple tips to improve your home’s energy score:

  • Make sure the attic has proper insulation (including the access door or panel)
  • Make sure there are no gaps in the insulation, especially in the attic
  • Electric heat is considered to be more efficient for furnaces and water heaters
  • Seal ductwork with mastic tape
  • Only “conditioned areas” will be audited, so if a room or space is getting heat, completely seal the vent and/or return.
  • Do not seal up foundation or attic vents.  Homes still need to breathe!

If you would like more information, let me know and I will send you a couple of informational PDFs.