Do Home Energy Scores Affect Home Buyers in Portland?

portland home energy score impact

Disclosing energy costs for a home is a scary prospect. If the home is very energy efficient, that’s good – but what if the buyer thinks it should be even better? If the home is not energy efficient, will they walk away from the sale?

While Portland didn’t begin requiring Home Energy Scores for homes listed on the real estate market until the beginning of 2018, other cities, states and countries have been overseeing similar programs for many years. 

Their experiences can show us how buyers feel about Portland homes with a Home Energy Score — whether it’s low or high.

  1. Real estate agents agree: Buyers are curious about energy efficiency. According to a 2019 report by the National Association of Realtors, 71% of Realtors say that promoting energy efficiency in real estate listings is very or somewhat valuable. Over half reported that their clients are interested in sustainability when they go home shopping.
  2. Homes in Chicago that disclose energy costs sell for more, faster. In 2013, the City of Chicago became the first municipality in the country to allow direct disclosure of residential energy costs (gas and electric) on its multiple listing service (MLS). In 2015, an independent analysis found that buyers were responding positively to this information, and that it influenced their buying behavior. Researchers at Elevate Energy found that homeowners who obtained a Home Energy Score or similar report, and shared that data on the Chicago MLS, sold their homes for 1.3% more. That’s a price boost of over $5,000 on a $400,000 home! In addition, Elevate Energy found that homes that disclosed their energy costs spent eight fewer days on the market.
  3. In Austin, Texas, home owners actually implement the recommendations from required home energy audits. Since 2009, Austin has been requiring that homeowners get a home energy audit (similar to the Home Energy Score required in Portland) before selling. When the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy analyzed the data in 2011, they found that 98% of home buyers had implemented at least one of the energy efficiency recommendations given in the audit.
  4. Worldwide, poor energy ratings don’t discourage home sales, but they do inform upgrades. A 2016 study by Dunsky Energy Consulting examined ten international and four US programs similar to Portland’s Home Energy Score program. Although they did find a strong correlation between homes that had a higher energy score or rating, and higher market value, they didn’t find any indication that home buyers were walking away from sales because of lower home energy scores or ratings. 

The idea of scoring homes according to their energy efficiency is still fairly new, and more research needs to be done to determine how the policy is affecting Portland home sellers. However, the studies so far seem to point out a trend: Getting a Home Energy Score report will give buyers a more complete picture of the home they’re about to purchase, allowing them to make an offer with confidence. Schedule a Home Energy Score for your Portland home today!