Better way to include energy reports in buying process

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This is a copy of a letter I have sent to housing minister Yvette Cooper. I thought it might prompt some interesting debate in your publication.

I have been reflecting on the decision regarding HIPs and feel it is appropriate to set out a cost-effective way forward for the main driver of this – the Energy Performance Certificate.

For many years our surveyors have completed SAP energy reports as part of the mortgage valuation and remortgaging process for The Woolwich and the Co-op. The SAP rating has also been adopted by some lenders in their Scheme 2 Homebuyers reports.

Chartered surveyors have taken a few extra measurements, filled in a few extra boxes on a form and energy ratings have been produced at a cost of 10 or so. If you are not already accredited, to train to do these ratings takes about 10 hours and costs 95 plus VAT – it’s not a big task.

To gather this data, all that is needed is for the SAP report to be made a mandatory part of the lending process. This is not only the most efficient and cost-effective way of gathering the data, it is also eco-friendly as it does not require two visits to the property – one at the point of marketing and another when a valuer goes to do the mortgage valuation at point-of-offer.

The cost to the public is 10 or 20 and the processes needed are already in place because the forms are live on industry standard surveying systems Quest and Valuation Exchange.

This would enable the the conveyancing process to be speeded up and allow the estate agency world to decide if they want HCRs upfront or to stick to caveat emptor. To get ‘halfway house’ home inspectors doing it is unnecessary when you have qualified professionals entering well over 20% of the housing stock each year.

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