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EPCs - Do I need one when selling my home?

Published: 12th September 2018

EPCs - Do I need one when selling my home?

Home Information Packs have long since been consigned to the dustbin history (they were needed between 2007 and 2010) but their legacy continues in one small way, which is that most home sellers are now required to have at least applied for an Energy Performance Certificate by the time they put their home on the market. (There is an exemption for people who are selling listed buildings). Here is a brief guide to what you need to know about them.

Your home may have an existing EPC

EPCs were introduced in 2007 (as part of HIPs) and are valid for 10 years, so if you bought your home within that time, then your current EPC may well still be valid. Check the EPC Register to be sure, since this is the place where all valid EPC are listed. EPCs have two dates at the top. One is the date of the assessment and the other is the date of the certificate. These can be the same date but where they are different, the period of validity starts from the date of the certificate.

You can organise an EPC yourself or have an estate agent organise it for you

EPC can only be granted by government accredited energy assessors and you can find one yourself via the same EPC register or you can have your estate agent organise this for you. In either case there will be a charge. It’s hard to give general guidelines for how much an EPC should cost since the price will depend on the location and size of your home as well as on your ability to get the best deal. The best advice we can give is to get a few quotes and then make your decision.

It may be worth your while to update your EPC if you feel you would get a better rating

If you have carried out improvement works to your home, which have improved its energy efficiency then it might be worth getting a new EPC to obtain a higher rating. Before taking this decision, however, be aware that EPCs are non-invasive, meaning that the assessor is not going to poke into the fabric of your building to check for improvements which are hidden from public view, such as cavity-wall insulation. Therefore, if you wish this to be taken into consideration for your EPC, you will need to provide the assessor with evidence of the work having been undertaken.

Analysing your home’s energy efficiency may help you to make improvements before you get your EPC

Consider allocating some time to give your home a DIY energy audit. There is plenty of advice online about how to do this, including guidance from the Department of Energy. Then see if you could make any cost-effective improvements to improve your EPC and, by extension, your home’s appeal to buyers.

Remember that EPCs are standardised and focus on core costs

EPCs basically reflect the cost of heating, lighting and hot water in the home. They do not reflect the cost of running appliances, not even ones which would be considered essential, such as cookers. Therefore, only changes which make a difference to one of these factors will influence your EPC. For example, both installing low-energy lighting and buying a more energy-efficient washing machine will both help lower your bills, but only the former will influence your EPC. Similarly, EPCs work on standardised assumptions about energy use, so while training your family to switch off lights when they leave a room can certainly do wonders for your energy bills, it won’t influence your EPC.

EPCs are based on cost rather than environmental impact

The purpose of the EPC is to show buyers:

  1. How much it is likely to cost them to run the home in its current condition;
  2. How much they would have to spend to make improvements which would reduce their bills in the long term; and
  3. How much money they could expect to save if they made these improvements.

A lot of the time, there is a correlation between improvements which increase energy efficiency and improvements which benefit the environment. There are, however, a few exceptions. For example, if you have conventional electric heating, then the EPC will recommend these be changed to storage heaters as these are cheaper to run, even though they actually use more energy overall than conventional electric heaters and hence can actually be worse from an environmental perspective (unless your energy comes from a renewable source).

For the most part, EPCs also ignore micro-generation activities on properties, they do, however, recognise the positive impact of solar panels.

If you found this article useful and you are considering selling your Manchester property then please contact our local area experts at Indlu who are more than happy to answer any questions you may have. Alternatively, why not use our free online valuation tool to see how much your property is worth!

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