Earlier this month, senior policy associate Ben Rabe presented to a room of realtors on energy efficiency in housing hosted by the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors. As energy efficiency becomes a higher priority for home buyers, it’s essential for realtors to understand some of the less visible parts of the home. Ben covered topics from heating systems to insulation levels to on-site renewable energy.
After mortgage and taxes, utility bills are the third highest costs for homeowners. The average American family spends $2,200 per year on energy bills—with nearly half of that paying for heating and cooling. Households of color are also impacted disproportionately by expensive energy costs. While adding upgrades like a bathroom or a kitchen remodel can substantially add value to a home, Ben discussed how less obvious changes can both boost home value and reduce energy costs. The addition of attic insulation or a high efficiency furnace, for example, can significantly cut the cost of homeownership. Increasing realtors’ ability to talk about efficiency upgrades can help buyers compare houses and better understand the housing market. Ben also discussed how energy utility companies offer rebates to make efficiency upgrades that homebuyers can utilize once they’re moved in.
Fresh Energy will lead another lunch-and-learn realtor training in the early spring followed up by a half day training for real estate agents’ continuing education credits in the late spring. Stay tuned to learn more.