Austin TX Real Estate - Hill Country Austin Lakeway Homes for Sale: Mandatory Austin TX Energy Audits Begin June 1, 2009

Mandatory Austin TX Energy Audits Begin June 1, 2009

Starting June 1, 2009, houses for sale within the City limit of Austin, TX, must complete an energy audit on their home.  This includes homes currently under contract, so if they're slotted to close sometime in June, you better get your audit complete NOW!

For the Energy Audit, you must use someone on the Austin Energy approval list, shown below.  Austin Energy doesn't warrant any of their work and doesn't prefer one over the other, but these are the people who have applied to be approved and have gone through the training as to what the audit should cover.

To clarify who needs an audit, it is only homes within the CITY of Austin, not everyone who uses Austin Energy.  There are many areas that have an "Austin" address but are actually outside the city limits, like Steiner Ranch.  These people do NOT have to do the audits.

The easiest way to know if you are within the actual CITY limits of Austin is to go to the Travis County Appraisal District's website, look up your property, and if it says you pay CITY OF AUSTIN taxes, you have to have an audit if you plan on selling your home.

If you're still unsure, there is a phone number (512-972-STAR) that you can call, and they'll ask you a series of questions that will give you a answer.

Austin Energy Audit
Austin Energy Audit

Here are the exemptions, courtesy of the Austin Energy website:

  • Is less than 10 years old at the time of sale
  • Has received at least three energy-efficiency improvements or a total of $500 in rebates through Austin Energy residential energy-efficiency offerings within 10 years before the sale
  • Has received free energy-efficiency improvements through Austin Energy residential energy-efficiency offerings within 10 years before the sale
  • Is a condominium
  • Is manufactured housing (a mobile home) built on a permanent chassis and designed for use without a permanent foundation.
  • Changes ownership and the transfer of the title occurs under one of the following:
    • Foreclosure sale, trustee's sale, or deed in lieu of foreclosure
    • Pre-foreclosure sale, in which the seller reached an agreement with the mortgage holder to sell the property for an amount less than the amount owed on the mortgage
    • Threat or exercise of eminent domain
    • Gift from one family member to another family member without consideration
    • Court order or probate proceedings
    • Decree of legal separation or dissolution of marriage or property settlement agreement incidental to such a decree
  • The cost for this audit will be, on average, $200-300 depending on age, size, and company used.  Your audit results will need to accompany the seller's disclosure that you provide your buyer.  As a homeowner/seller, you are not obligated to "fix" anything on the audit, unless you want to.  It is just for informational purposed for the new prospective home owner to know what they should do and how much it might cost, in order to get their home more energy efficient.

    By the way, Austin Energy is expecting many people who are not selling to actually obtain audits as well, so they can work on making sure their homes are energy efficient. Just be prepared for the homes trying to close to get priority.

    This is a brand new ordinance coming into effect in just a couple of weeks, so if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me and I'll answer your questions as best as I can.

    **Are You Packed Yet?**

    Donna Harris, REALTOR®
    RE/MAX Austin Skyline

    Austin, TX and the surrounding areas of Lakeway, Bee Cave, Westlake Hills, Cedar Park, Round Rock, Spicewood, Circle-C, Steiner Ranch, and everywhere in between... Whether you're buying or selling, I'll be with you through the entire process.

    Comment balloon 9 commentsDonna Harris • May 14 2009 07:34AM



    Very interesting information.   I wonder if this will spread to other cities? 

    Who will pay for this audit?

    Thanks for letting us know about this.

    Posted by Richard Weeks, REALTORĀ®, Broker almost 10 years ago

    Donna, this is a huge deal here. I am already having my sellers go through the process and have the inspection. Most are not that happy with the around $400 cost but are grudgingly submitting. The fine for NOT complying is anywhere from $400 -$2,000! *OUCH*

    Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

    Wow, this is a long term fix to save energy and I guess it has to start somewhere but glad it is not here yet.

    Posted by Ricki Eichler McCallum, Broker,GRI,ABR, - Your Coastal Bend Home Source (CastNet Realty) almost 10 years ago

    Richard, I'm sure it's going to spread to other cities fairly quickly.  In the Austin area, many of the suburbs are a large percentage "newer" homes, and homes under 10 years old aren't effective, but as those homes get older, I'm sure there will be something done.  As for who pays, it's said that the seller must provide this with the disclosure notice, so you would assume that means the sellers will pay, but I'm thinking it's something that's going to start being negotiable.

    Russell, $400?  I'm hearing $250-300... $400 for an hour's work... maybe I need to switch careers!

    Ricki, But it doesn't really save energy unless people are "forced" to fix things. The audit is for informational purposes only, with the hopes that people will fix to save.

    Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - almost 10 years ago

    Boy Donna, this one in my opinion seems like government getting a little too much into your house business. Some brilliant lawmaker had to think this one up. Only in Austin. Ah the benefits of living NOT where the lawmakers live. Hopefully this little rule won't extend out to other areas of the state. In one sense it is helpful to the buyer. On the other hand how did we live so many years without it?My opinion, a dumb law.

    Posted by Gary Woltal, Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth (Keller Williams Realty) almost 10 years ago

    Gary, What can I say... I think they were looking to get employment up, so they said, "Hey, let's require homes to have energy audits, and then we'll train all these people to do it, and these people will have job security the rest of their lives as everyone will not need one as it's now law!"

    Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - almost 10 years ago

    While the idea is great, the timing leaves a lot to be desired. I wish they had required it of new listings June 1 or after rather than trying to retro-inspect 8,000 properties already on the market. There's going to be a lot of confusion this summer.

    Posted by Tom Thornton, Broker Associate, MBA, ABR, CRS, GREEN, GRI, SRES (Realty Austin) almost 10 years ago

    Tom, What I hope the auditors are doing is giving priority to the homes currently under contract and letting the others know that they can wait.

    Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - almost 10 years ago

    i hope they start mandating home energy audits in san diego and california.  i know we need it due to our summer heat, many people are spending excessive money on thier a/c bills.  

    Posted by Curtis Brooks (TreeFrog Builders & Inspections) almost 9 years ago