June, 2017
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors

"Score" a Win for Your Business



ASHI members can now catch the Home Energy Score wave
Many ASHI home inspectors are familiar with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Home Energy Score program, and those who keep an eye on the housing market have noticed its dramatic growth in the past year or so. Started in 2012, the Home Energy Score program was created to offer low-cost, easy-to-understand information for homeowners and homebuyers interested in their home’s energy performance and in ways to improve its energy efficiency, comfort and resale value.

It took a few years to really get the Home Energy Score program out of the gate, but now more than 60,000 homes across the country have been scored and those scores are featured in hundreds of new “green” MLS listings. Current trends point toward strong growth for this service in the near future. Interestingly, since the program’s earliest days, home inspectors have been seen as the best-suited providers for Home Energy Scores because inspectors have an unmatched position of trust and expertise among their clients, and their business models are open to adding services that cater to the particular needs of a specific home or a specific homebuyer.

And although home inspectors as a group may have not delivered many of the Home Energy Scores that are currently on the books, recent updates to the program may change that trend in a big way. A small group of ASHI member volunteers hs been hard at work in recent months, helping the DOE develop a new approach to training and supporting home inspectors that will allow ASHI members to get on board as Home Energy Score Assessors in a more streamlined and convenient way than ever before.

Is becoming a Home Energy Score Assessor the right choice for you?
ASHI inspectors understand that offering the right kinds of ancillary services can be a real boon to their bottom line and to their company’s reputation. Every business is different, but here are some solid reasons that becoming a Home Energy Score Assessor might fit into the “right” category for your business:

  • Your clients want it: Homebuyers want to know whether they’re looking at an energy hog of a house and a Home Energy Score gives them a simple, credible and affordable look at how one home compares with others, including pointing out the implications for their monthly budget. They want to be “smart” and that means knowing what they’re buying.
  • Savvy real estate agents want it: Forward-thinking agents recognize that buyers are more likely to buy—and to buy sooner and for more money—when they’re not kept in the dark about what to expect from their monthly bills or about how they can best improve their new home.
  • The trends are aligning: In just the last year, major financial institutions (for example, Fannie/Freddie, FHA, PACE financing, among others) have recognized the value of the Home Energy Score and have aligned their programs to give a break to buyers of more efficient homes and investors who want to make energy improvements. Some cities have adopted the Score as a means of providing critical information to homebuyers at the point of sale. And demographic shifts among homebuyers are trending in such a way that means energy efficiency is a greater factor than ever in the homebuying process.
  • You’re already doing most of the work… now you can charge for it: Home inspectors who are offering the Score report that gathering the necessary information and entering it into the DOE web tool takes about 30 extra minutes and sometimes less. Although we can’t recommend how much to charge, many inspectors are receiving an average of $100 to $150 for the service.
  • Your competition isn’t doing it yet: In most markets across the country, getting into the program now will place you among a very small circle of home inspectors who are using the highly credible Home Energy Score Assessor logo from the DOE. Early adopters will benefit from exclusivity in their markets until the rest of the field catches up.

How do you become a Home Energy Score Assessor?
ASHI members are currently the only inspectors in the country who have access to the newly announced onboarding, training and compliance service, and ASHI is proud to have been part of making this solution available to our members in an affordable, convenient way.

Training: Plugging into the DOE’s Simulated Training Tool (the “Sim”) is a no-cost process for ASHI members and ASHI staff can help you set it up. You can tackle this video-game–style training at your own pace or you can work with a partner organization for assistance. After you pass the training section (some trainees breeze through it in a day and others spread it out over a couple weeks), ASHI will connect you with a partner organization that will guide you through your early jobs and will offer support with other aspects of incorporating the Home Energy Score into your business.

Ongoing Support: The Home Energy Score team at DOE has developed a broad collection of marketing materials to help inspectors close sales at higher rates by using the Score. The DOE makes it easy to incorporate the Home Energy Score logo into online marketing campaigns, web pages and social media. They’ve also developed new presentations for the real estate industry that ASHI members can use to build that critical network and to remind clients that they’re working with a true industry professional.

ASHI will be highlighting its new partnership with the DOE and the Home Energy Score regularly in the Reporter, as well as online and in other member communications so that you have a clear picture of how the Score can help your business. In the meantime, please contact Michelle Santiago at michelle@theashischool.com (or assessor@csra.com) to get started!