Should Green Building Be Valued at 100% of Cost?

“Green homes face a red light”  Full Article: CNN Money

I meant to comment on this a while ago, just reread it and it really bothers me.  So I need to comment.  It’s not the lenders, nor appraisers that need to “appreciate the value,” it’s the consumer who drives the market.  If everybody was willing to pay for the green improvement at what it costs, than it would be an open and shut case, because the market would reflect the value at 100% of the market.

There are special loans that allow for the energy savings to be applied to the appraised value.  I blogged on this last month: ““Buyers: Why Green is Worth It” and the Energy Efficient Mortgage Program.”   Lets be real…when somebody builds a house and customizes it with all these great upgrades (granite, high-end cabinets, exotic wood floors, etc.) the overall cost to construct/reproduce does not typically bear out on the market. Many of these items are taste specific and the amenity adjustments given to the comparable sales are derived by the depreciated cost method or reflect the anticipated market response.  Adjustments are not typically supported by the cost to construct.

Not all appraisers are knowledgeable about appraising green features, which is huge problem.  There are different ways to come up with a value.  I blogged about this too: “Appraising Green/Energy Efficient Housing” .   Choosing an Appraiser that is knowledgeable in appraising green features is not even possible anymore…due to new regulations, aka HVCC, lenders can no longer choose the appraiser.   So somebody with no experience with green appraising may be doing the appraisal.

So builders and remodelers need to explain this to their clients. A top builder in my area even has it written in their contract…that the buyer is responsible even if the appraised value comes in low.  I know this creates tension with the buyer because they need to come up with extra funds, this wasn’t too much of a problem in an UP market, but it is now!  Explain it up front so they are at least aware that all those custom upgrades may not appraise out.

So my answer is: IT DEPENDS!

-Just my thoughts.

www.TopNHhomes.com

www.JACoteAppraisals.com

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