Real Estate Report: Real Estate Going Green

Real Estate Report: Real Estate Going Green

Pat Colburn

When I was asked to write a blog about real estate, I decided that information about those issues directly affecting homeowners such as efficiency, health and comfort should also be included along with market activity reports and realty issues. While no one intends to buy an uncomfortable, unhealthy, energy hog, without adequate awareness of these issues and the remedies, most homeowners are destined to wasted dollars and discomfort.

When purchasing real estate, we look at how the space will fit our lifestyle. Will it accommodate all members of our household now and in the future? Will it provide adequate room for our business, hobbies, and community? And how much work/expense will be required to “personalize” it?

A buyer is highly encouraged to obtain a pest inspection and a home inspection. Obtaining a pest inspection has become de rigueur in today’s marketplace because it identifies rot and structural defects which add costs to the durability of the building. A home inspector will identify deficiencies in structure, electrical, appliances and plumbing. However, neither the home or pest inspections will address health, comfort and efficiency issues or the anticipated costs to maintain your new home.

One simple and cost-effective way to discover and remedy these concerns is to have an energy assessment of your home conducted by a Home Energy Rating System Rater (HERS). A leaky or inadequately ventilated house will not only cost you wasted energy dollars and create moisture issues, but can expose your family to unhealthy indoor air. Since the majority of our time is spent in our homes, it makes sense to ensure healthy air and a comfortable environment.

The HERS Rater will measure the structure’s air flow/ventilation, check for duct leakage, identify inadequate or poorly installed insulation, and verify that your combustion appliances are burning efficiently and not exposing your family to carbon monoxide. HERS Raters are given rigorous training to locate possible threats to your health, comfort and pocketbook and provide you with a checklist of remedies.

I feel so strongly about the value of an energy assessment that I provide for an independent HERS rating for all of my buyers.

Rebates and tax incentives are now available to offset the costs of your energy upgrades through Alameda Municipal Power, Energy Upgrade California and PG&E. An excellent website for listings of all rebates and tax incentives throughout the country is

Market Activity

Prices are improving for sellers and inventory is getting better for buyers. There were some very nice properties on this week’s Alameda Broker’s Tour. Listings are in the attached graphic.