In the interest of creating a better environment, new legislation that is along the lines of the Waxman-Markey Cap and Trade Bill is scheduled to be unveiled by the end of the month. The bill will include language for a new National Building Code calling for homes to be more energy efficient.
With regard to new construction, there have been some notable innovations in green building designs and the use of these should be encouraged in new homes.
However, according to a recent article, the proposed code has a provision which would mandate that all housing transactions be required to undergo and pass an environmental inspection. In older home sales this could be significant. Windows that are not airtight and appliances that are not Energy Star certified would have to be replaced before the sale could happen.
The fear is that this bill could possibly affect the sales of "fixer-upper" homes; however, I cannot honestly see the government moving in with these types of restrictions at this point which would severely impact the sale of the huge inventory of foreclosure properties now sitting on the block with millions more expected.
Currently, sellers in Massachusetts and many other states are mandated to have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors as a requirement before any property can be transferred. Also, owners with private septic systems must have a Title V inspection and it fails, they are required to remedy the problem by installing a new septic system.
Most people are onboard with these items since they have a huge impact on safety and protecting the environment. However, if home sellers have to repair every problem prior to a sale, it could significantly drive up the cost of selling a home.
At a time when the country is spending countless sums of money to shore up the housing market with a first-time tax credit and the possibility of extending and expanding this program, it seems contradictory to come up with legislation that could sabotage these efforts.
I will be on the lookout for more clarification of this bill in the coming weeks and hope that the stir about it is more smoke than fire.
With the housing market still in a depressed state, it is hard to imagine that the government would choose this time to make housing sales more difficult.
Copyright 2009 - Claudette Millette, President, TheBuyersCounsel - 800-392-1446, E-mail
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