Tomorrow is Earth Day! (Click HERE to learn about Earth Day!)
What Are These “Energy Ratings” on Real Estate Listings?
And there is no better time then when we talk about our planet, to also talk about energy, and efficiency when buying a home or condo. You often hear these terms, “LEED Certified” or on a listing you see a “HERS rating.” And then there is “Energy Star.”
What do they all mean?
The Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index is the industry standard by which a home’s energy efficiency is measured. It’s also the nationally recognized system for inspecting and calculating a home’s energy performance.
The HERS Index measures how efficient a home’s energy usage is. There are a lot of great reasons to have a home energy rating performed on your house.
It can tell you so much about the home you are going to purchase, like how efficiently it’s operating and where you can make modifications for greater energy savings. When you’re selling your home, a low HERS Index Score can command a higher resale price. And when you’re buying a home you can anticipate the costs of energy bills and efficiency upgrades.
How does the HERS Index work?
A certified Home Energy Rater assesses the energy efficiency of a home, assigning it a relative performance score. The lower the number, the more energy efficient the home.
The U.S. Department of Energy has determined that a typical resale home scores 130 on the HERS Index while a standard new home is awarded a rating of 100.
- A home with a HERS Index Score of 70 is 30% more energy efficient than a standard new home
- A home with a HERS Index Score of 130 is 30% less energy efficient than a standard new home
For more information, visit the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) website.
LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a program managed by the US Green Building Council. It is more frequently used in the commercial office environment, but it can also be applicable to residential real estate.
LEED works for all buildings—from homes to corporate headquarters—at all phases of development. Projects pursuing LEED certification earn points across several areas that address sustainability issues. Based on the number of points achieved, a project then receives one of four LEED rating levels: Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum.
Created by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), ENERGY STAR is a voluntary program that helps businesses and individuals save money and protect our climate through superior energy efficiency.
Energy Star covers items like sealing and insulating, heating and cooling, as well as products like home appliances, electronics and lighting.
For more information about Energy Star ratings or your home, visit the Energy Star website.
Many of the above ratings may have been accomplished when the home, or condominium building was built. Others, you can change later, such as HVAC or home appliances.
If any of these certifications are important to you in your home search, we encourage you to look at these websites and learn more infomation about the areas you have a focus on!
Happy Earth Day!
Emory University Buys Executive Park at N. Druid Hills Road
It’s no secret that a university will purchase adjoining land to be able to expand. But the announcement of Emory University purchasing some 60 acres at Executive Park in Brookhaven is a bit of a break from that norm.
Mind you, the University already has operations in the area with the Brain Health Center and the Orthopaedic & Spine Center. But the addition of some 60 acres of land will certainly give Emory University growing options!
“Emory takes a long-term, mission-oriented view when evaluating its real estate holdings,” said Emory President James Wagner. “This significant parcel, which is in a location accessible to all of metro Atlanta, coupled with the fact that we have successful programs already in the Park, presented an extraordinary, once in a generation opportunity for Emory and the region.”
The site has some 400,000 square feet of office space, and room for growth. It is surrounded by multi-family housing, including a new 310-unit community that is currently under construction, a hotel (Courtyard by Marriott –but not a part of the purchase) and relatively easy access to I-85. (N. Druid Hills Road can be a challenge to say the least!)
It will be interesting to see what comes in the future for Emory University at this site in Brookhaven.
Everybody loves an outdoor market. Especially with homemade goodies and fresh fruits and veggies! And when it’s right in Midtown Atlanta, well then! You know Spring is here when Piedmont Park’s Green Market is opening Saturday, March 19th!
Piedmont Park’s Green Market Opens March 19
The Piedmont Park Green Market opens from 9am until 1pm, and you are sure to find lots of healthy produce, fresh eggs, grass fed beef and other goodies!
Shopping the Green Market not only gives you a chance to visit Piedmont Park and enjoy the outdoors, it supports the Park and stimulates the local economy. Most farmers at the market have travelled less than 100 miles to get to the market! So come on out and support them!
The Green Market for 2016 will run from March 19th until December 10th…so you’ve got many an opportunity to join in. Remember it is JUST on Saturdays, from 9am-1pm at the 12th Street entrance.
For more information about Piedmont Park’s Green Market, CLICK HERE!
Why Does A Real Estate Agent Ask Me to Use Their Lender?
So, you’ve decided you are ready to buy a home or condo in Atlanta? You’ve been researching online for sometime now. Getting familiar with areas or condo buildings you think you might like to look at. In doing all this research and reading blogs (ah..hopefully THIS one!) you’ve also seen this thing called a mortgage pre-approval.
Most real estate agents will ask you in their initial conversation with you (we call it a Buyer Consultation) if you have been pre approved. If not, here is our list of preferred lenders. Oh, but I already got pre-approved with Anytown Mortgage. (Names have been changed to protect the not so smart mortgage brokers). What can happen with this?
Well, there are really two scenarios that could take place. First, nothing. Meaning, everything is smooth sailing right up to and through your Celebration (closing)! Awesome! You found a great mortgage broker.
Or, you have a disaster from day one, but to your Celebration…and you find the need for your real estate agent to take you out for a drink!! That is, if you even MADE it to your Celebration!
See, here at MyMidtownMojo and Thomas Ramon Realty, we have a TEAM to help you buy your home or condo. Who’s on your TEAM?
- First and Foremost — YOU!
- Your Real Estate Agent
- Your Lender (Mortgage Broker)
- Your Home Inspector
- Your Closing Attorney ( who helps orchestrate your Celebration!)
We are ALL here to help you achieve one thing….getting the keys to your new HOME! All of these people we have worked with, and have a relationship with. We know they get the job done, and done right. And if they don’t do a good job, you are not happy and neither are we!
But, let’s go back to the lender point again, and I’ll give you not one, but TWO real-life scenarios that just happened this weekend! Oddly enough, they both happened with the same lender, but different loan officers within that company.
Suzie is a single young lady, first time home buyer. She’s got a horrible, 1.5 hour commute to and from work where she lives with her parents. She’s ready to be a homeowner! And cut the commute. She is doing an FHA mortgage and looking for a condo. From my perspective (her agent) this was challenging as many condominium communities have let their FHA certifications expire. And she has to have one that is approved. I search and search and find her about 5 we can look at. Pretty slim number. The last one we look at….in her price range, great location that affords a huge park across the street, walkable to a shopping plaza with a Kroger and Starbucks and some restaurants. We have a winner. We make an offer, and ask the Seller to pay all her closing costs. While making her offer, she asks about these closing costs and if this means her down payment. Say WHAT? Long story short, her LENDER never explained what closing costs were, and Suzie thought she only had to have her down payment…..that’s it. Never would of happened with my lender.
I certainly learned that any future first time buyers I work with, I will be having some loan discussions to make sure they know these things. I thought the loan officer who was getting them a pre-approval would have done so. (NOTE: she was “approved” for a higher purchase price, but in the end, no she was not, as she did not have the money for closing costs!) We are currently working with one of our team lenders to make it all happen and get her this great condo!
Larry came to me through a referral website where we work. He too was “pre-approved” for up to $220,000. He had been out with a previous agent who showed him several homes far, far far from where he worked! He did not want this long commute. I told him we certainly could find something closer. He had some particulars in looking for a condo, and did not want an older complex. That quickly reduced him down to just two buildings. He liked the one! Had a second showing, and wanted to make an offer. I explained that I needed his loan information from his lender. There is an exhibit in the Purchase and Sale Agreement, called a Financing Exhibit where we detail the type of financing he is going to get.
Well, he did not have a copy of his letter. Not the end of the world, right? He sends me lender information (we are writing our offer on a Saturday afternoon). NOTE; condo was shown 4 times before 1pm when we looked at it…..a.k.a. HOT market with little inventory!! Lender does not return my phone call. We submit our offer, we get a counter offer, which includes the request that Buyer provide a copy of their pre-approval letter and we accept it! Yeah, right? Ah, not so fast.
Lender does new approval letter, but does not send to ME…only to the Buyer, who presumes I got it. NOT! When I DO get a copy, it’s not a pre-approval letter but just a pre-qualification letter!!! Ok, so this is bad for both of us. I’ve got a Buyer that has really not been qualified ( I took his word for what he said he had done) and I’ve got an offer with a term I cannot meet. When I finally speak with the loan officer (I had left two messages with no return call and finally found a cell phone number and left a message) I’m told that, NO, he’s not pre approved. OK….can we get him pre approved so I can have a new letter. Loan officer says, “Well, that will take at least a week.”
So, I’ve now got two Buyers, both in love with the places I helped them find, and issues with their mortgage company that may keep them from getting either place.
We are still working on both to try and make it happen.
Neither Buyer would be in this situation had they worked with one of their team members.
Why Does A Real Estate Agent Ask Me to Use Their Lender?
In all fairness to all mortgage brokers/loan officers, not all of them are like this. There are plenty, plenty, plenty of very good ones. But all it takes is ONE not so good one, and your home purchase can quickly become derailed!