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For the last few years, anyone selling their home now has to provide an Energy Performance Certificate to the new buyer. It’s very helpful in showing the prospective buyer how energy efficient the property currently is and whether there are any changes that need to be made such as adding insulation in order to improve the efficiency. It is worth pointing out however, that the EPC should only be used as a guide, in terms of the energy performance of a home.

An EPC ranks the property on how energy efficient it is with A being the best and so on. The certificate not only provides information regarding rankings and energy usage, but also recommendations by the assessor on how to improve the properties energy efficiency and reduce energy costs. If you live in Scotland, you may be aware of the EPC as being part of a more extensive energy assessment known as a ‘home report’, which includes a property survey and questionnaire as well as the Energy Performance Certificate.

With so much emphasis in the UK now on energy efficiency, alternative forms of energy and wastage, many people have begun to rely on the results of a properties energy performance rating when considering purchasing a property. It is obviously important to be aware of how efficient a house is prior to purchasing a property, but they are not set in stone and other factors are often neglected when the assessment is completed, such as current energy bills and how many people are resident in the property etc. It is a useful guide though, to highlight any inefficiencies and how you can improve on these, including the cost which could be negotiated within the agreed purchase price.

When you look to sell your home, it is a good idea to arrange the assessment for the Energy Performance Certificate if you haven’t got one already as this can be delayed and put potential buyers off. Particularly if you are looking for a quick house sale, it’s important to have applied for it at least as many people like to see the information identified by the assessor and any key areas of recommendation. There are only certain things an assessor can do however, which is why the information contained within the certificate shouldn’t be taken too seriously. For example an assessor cannot drill into walls to establish the existence or condition of insulation, and therefore this information is often not completely accurate.

Nearly all properties are required by law now to have an Energy Performance Certificate in place with the exception of some. Listed building for example are not required to have an EPC as improvements usually recommended to make the property more energy efficient, cannot be undertaken, as they are usually classed as structural changes which are prohibited. It’s also worth noting that your EPC will last ten years meaning that you do not need to obtain a new one every time you sell your home.

by Cormac Henderson

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