Start a conversation among a bunch of estate agents about EPCs and you’ll probably get as many opinions as there are people. Some will tell you they mean little or nothing, others that they can add value to your home and others that, no matter which way you look at them, they’re a legal requirement so debate is largely pointless.

So what do we think? Well, we tend to steer a middle course…

Does It Pay To Be An A?

If you’re fortunate to live in a property which rates an A or a B, then you could argue it’s a selling point. The house is going to have that little bit more insulation in the loft or even a few nifty, energy-saving gadgets such as auto-dimming lights, water-saving devices, high-performance glazing and the like. But, if you don’t, are you at a huge disadvantage as a seller? The answer is probably no…

Why? The thing is, even though we are often encouraged to be more eco-conscious these days and we may even start out on the buying process with all the best intentions, choosing a new home is often an emotional thing. We walk into a house and, for one reason or another, just fall in love with it – and, sometimes, it takes a lot to turn our heads.

How Low Should You Go?

Okay, so the EPC on the “dream home” you’ve found rates it at D. You might persuade yourself you could soon change that with some cavity wall insulation and some low-energy lighting – and you might well be right.

But, when it comes to a low score on the EPC, it’s not necessarily the features on the checklist that a buyer needs to be cautious about; it’s more what their absence may imply. A house with no double glazing could be damp or hard to heat, for example. Another with no loft insulation could have other issues in the roof.

We’re not saying a poor EPC rating automatically means the property hasn’t been well-maintained. Sometimes, for example, the fact it has an oil-fired central heating system can make a difference. It works fine, provides plenty of heat and hot water but, because the eco-trend is towards gas, the EPC score won’t be as high.

But what we would say is, if the EPC score is a D or below, make sure your survey is thorough and reliable. Better to pay a bit more for a detailed examination of the property you’re planning to spend thousands on than have to spend thousands more rectifying problems.

Is It Best To Invest?

And, if you’re selling your home, remember you can boost your EPC score without necessarily investing a small fortune. Government grants are available to some considering additional insulation for example while installing low-energy lighting can enhance your property’s score – and save you a little more on bills in the meantime.

So, in answer to the question: “What good is an EPC?” we’d say it’s not a definitive but an indicative. A house with a high score might be modern and eco-friendly – but it might not be “you”. Equally, be careful about a house with a low score – but don’t dismiss it out of hand. It might need a little TLC but it might not need all that much work to enhance its score.

As ever, if you’d like a little more advice, just drop us a line or give us a call. We’d be happy to help if we can.

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