City of Portland Home Energy Score – 2018 Update

portland home energy score

As you may have heard by now, the city of Portland home energy score requirement is in full effect.

Well, how is it going?

Energy Scores Are Coming In Low

The way the city of Portland home energy score – scoring – is supposed to work is a “5” scored home is average, a “10” is in the top 10% of homes in energy efficiency, and a “1” is in the bottom 10% of energy efficiency. So far, this does not seem to be the case. In an article written by Gary F. Kristensen at A Quality Measurement, he analyzed the first 100 Portland energy scores and found that the Portland energy score average is 4.67. He also noted what will be a surprise to most homeowners, the bigger the home (in general) the lower the score will be.

Most Real Estate Agents are Failing to Advertise the Score

Per City of Portland rules, the score is supposed to be available online, in the local MLS (RMLS here) and on other online real estate sites and the score is supposed to be printed out an available inside the home for sale.

So how are real estate agents doing?

Not well.

Since 01/01/2018, the start of the home energy score mandate, 438 homes have been listed in the city of Portland in RMLS. Out of those, only 136 are advertising a home energy score. That’s only 31%! Now, the numbers are not quite as bad as they apprear because a FEW homes are not required to have an energy score. New construction homes (about 71), short sales (1), and bank owned (7), are all potentially excluded from the mandate. There are also a few other rare exemptions. So that brings us to around 359 that should have home energy scores and we have only 136 scored! This is only a 37% success rate.

Why is the lack of a home energy score a problem?

Who is responsible? The seller will get the city of Portland $500 fine – not the real estate agent. These are repeating $500 fines as well. Also, the program will only work efficiently if all of the homes are scored, not 37% of them! Part of the purpose of the home energy scores is to educate buyers and allow them to understand the energy cost of owning one home verse another. It is not yet clear what recourse a Portland home buyer has and buyer’s agent has when the seller is not advertising a home energy score, but is supposed to do so.

Is this fair to the seller?

No I don’t think it is fair. I have not seen any public advertising about the score to inform homeowners. If their real estate agents are not making them aware and the city of Portland is not making them aware – it hardly seems fair when the seller gets the $500 fine over a city of Portland home energy score program the homeowner never got to vote on and potentially was not made aware of.

Looking for a home energy score company?

My concern over the city of Portland 2018 home energy score ordinance led me to establish my own home energy score company in Portland – llc CCB.218360. Read why here. We have been successfully scoring homes for some of our own listings and for other home owners and real estate agents in the area, using this separately licensed company. We score homes quickly and efficiently with an easy online ordering process and clear pricing.

January 22, 2018

Stephen FitzMaurice

Stephen FitzMaurice, Realtor is a top 5% real estate agent in the U.S. A Principal Broker in Oregon, Managing Broker in Washington, he has been licensed since 2003 for residential real estate sales. Call his team in Oregon at 503-714-1111 or in Washington at 360-345-3833.

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