The new Austin Energy Audit ordinance is in play now, and we’re already starting to see it affect some deals. The official start date of the ordinance is June 1, 2009, but that means any home subject to the ordinance that is closing on or after June 1 will have to comply.
Covered homes must be 1) ten years old or older, 2) located in the city of Austin city limits, and 3) be a utility customer of Austin Energy for water and/or electricty service. If your 10+ year old home is located in Austin but you get your electricity from PEC and don’t get water from Austin Energy, your home is not subject to the ordinance. If your home is located in the Austin ETJ, is is not included. Condos are not subject to the ordinance at all, but townhouses are. Homes that have received over $500 in Austin Energy green energy rebates, or completed any 3 improvements under the rebate program, are exempt for 10 years and not required to have an audit.
There are a lot of additional details we could cover, and the links to the Austin Energy website are below if you’d like to know more, but what I want to write about now is how ordinance this will affect actual real estate transactions. Sylvia and I currently have homes under contract and listed that are subject to this new ordinance.
Example #1. Our buyer wrote an offer on a house covered by the ordinance. Prior to the offer being executed and signed, I asked Sylvia if we had received an Energy Audit along with the Seller’s disclosure. She said no, we hadn’t. After discussing it, we decided not to ask for it until the contract was signed by the seller, as we didn’t want to introduce a new variable into the negotiations. Once we had the signed deal, we requested the other agent provide us with the Energy Audit prior to the end of the option period.