BUYING a home can come with a lot of extra costs – and you may not know that energy efficiency bands could be a red flag for bigger bills.
Properties come with ratings that tell you how good – or bad – the potential home is when it comes to energy efficiency.
It means that some homes can cost you more in the form of higher energy bills after you move in if they have a low rating.
Experts at Zoopla say that the difference between an A-rated property (the best) and a G-rated home (the worst) could be considerable.
Homebuyers who snapped up a new build home last year saved an average of 52% on their annual energy bill compared to those living in an older property.
Alex Rose, director of new homes at Zoopla, said: “As the reality of increased energy prices and cost of living sets in, we expect more interest in new build-properties among buyers conscious of their energy efficiency.”
Every home rented, sold or purchased since 2008 has an energy performance certificate (EPC).
This gives a rating from A to G, based on its energy efficiency. It takes into account things like double glazing, draught proofing and loft insulation.
Homes with a rating of D or lower are seen as the least efficient and will use more energy, meaning higher bills.
Areas with the least energy efficient homes include Birmingham, Leeds and Cornwall.
Recent analysis by The Sun found that 9.7million homes have an EPC rating of D or lower – around 57.3% of homes in England and Wales.
Naturally, newer homes are more likely to have been built with more modern energy efficient features.
But that’s not always that case as older homes may have undergone improvements that mean they have a better rating.
Every home for sale must now have an EPC rating, and these are often included in listings so you can check before viewings.
If not it’s worth asking, as going for a home with a better rating could help you save money in the long term by lowering your energy bill, compared to one that’s got a lower score.
The paperwork is more important than ever as it shows the potential running costs of your future home.
Improving the EPC rating
EPC ratings also show the potential score if energy improvements are made to a home – but you’ll have to do the work.
This could be replacing single for double-glazing, or adding insulation and there may be a limit to how much you can improve the property.
Some older properties can’t be turned into the highest energy efficiency rated home.
Making these changes will cost though, so it’s something to consider when you’re making an offer on a property. But it could lower your bills in the long term.
The full EPC should say what improvements can be made, and estimated cost and potential savings on your energy bill.
Here are the cheapest homes on the market right now with the best – and worst – energy ratings.
1-bed flat, Southampton, £140,000 – A
This 44 square meter one-bed flat is located in Enfields, Southampton, not far from Redbridge station.
With a score of 92 on the EPC, the property just squeezes into an A rating.
It’s a newer build and so comes with gas central heating and double glazing already among energy efficient features.
1-bed flat, Fleet, £160,000 – A
Another newer build is this slightly pricier one-bed flat in Fleet.
The home has double glazing and since it’s on the ground floor, you won’t have to worry about loft insulation.
The EPC is A again, meaning it’s energy efficiency is very high and therefore running costs are lower.
3-bed semi, Glasgow, £195,000 – A
Another A rated home and you get even more space for under the £200,000 mark.
The Glasgow new build property comes with three bathrooms too, a modern kitchen and of course double glazing.
With an EPC score of A, this semi-detached house is likely to have a well insulated loft.
It also looks like the home has solar panels, though doesn’t mention in the listing, but could be an extra energy saving feature on top.
2-bed bungalow, Dumfries and Galloway, £50,000 – G
This small and cheap bungalow located in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, needs a bit of renovating.
That includes some energy improvements to avoid paying higher bills, as it’s rated the lowest at G on the EPC.
But, the good news is there’s potential to improve it to a C, likely by installing things like double glazing and insulation.
2-bed terrace, Cumbria, £55,000 – G
This cute on the outside stone terrace in the village of Fletchertown in Cumbria needs some work inside too.
Another G rated property, there’s room to improve this too, but only to E according to the EPC.
This means you may not be able to install certain energy saving measures, for instance cavity wall insulation in much older properties.
2-bed terrace, Conwy, £60,000 – G
Another older terrace property in Colwyn Bay, Wales, which needs a face lift.
You could turn this G rated property into a C with a little TLC according to the EPC certificate.
This could mean replacing single glazed doors and windows, among other energy saving work.
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