From the 14th of December 2007 until the 21st of May 2010, all homes sold in the England and Wales were required to have a Home Information Pack. HIP’s were designed to reduce the time needed for houses to exchange hands, and also reduce any nasty surprises buyers might find once they move in. The UK government suspended HIP’s in May 2010 to save sellers both time and money. There were several compulsory documents a seller needed to provide, as well as several optional documents. One of the compulsary documents was the EPC or Energy Performance Certificate and this is the only document to still be required when you sell a property.
Home Information Pack (HIP’s)
As of the 21st May 2010 you no longer need to pay out for a Home Improvement Pack (or Home Information Pack) when you are selling your home. This is welcome news to sellers as the packs can cost between £200 and £400 and can increase the time taken to complete on a sale.
HIP’s were introduced in the 2007 with the aim of making the sale of a property safer for the buyer by requiring the seller to disclose certain information about the property, including evidence of property ownership and sustainability info (for new properties). The HIP also included the Energy Performance Certificate and this alone remains as a requirement for anyone selling a property.
Good news for both sellers and estate agents, but probably not so good for the thousands of companies that sprang up to supply HIP’s to the housing market.
What is an EPC?
The Energy Performance Certificate is designed to show the buyer how energy efficient the property is, as well as how much of an impact the property has on the environment in terms of potential CO2 emissions. Each property is rated on a 120 point scale, which is divided into the seven categories from A to G (A being the most efficient). As energy prices continue to rise, how efficient a property is will become more and more important to buyers. Efficient houses mean lower bills and potentially large savings over several years. The average house in the UK is thought to be D-E for both ratings. Houses are rated by Energy Assessors employed by the seller. These assessors look at many things, including the age of the house, materials of construction, location as well as relevant fittings such as heating systems and insulation.
In the average UK house, a EPC survey should take about an hour and cost around £300. However, in some circumstances, the time of the survey and the cost may rise. Accredited EPC surveyors will also offer a list of measures you can undertake to improve you energy performance rating and rate these according to cost, effectiveness and potential energy savings over a period of ten years. Major changes such as upgrading your boiler to an A-rated model or fitting double glazing can raise your grade considerably, but even small changes such as fitting energy saving lightbulbs will help your rating.
How to Improve your Rating
There are several ways you can improve the efficiency of your home, for people on a wide range of budgets. Even if you are not planning to sell any time soon, having an energy efficient home is a good idea, both for your wallet and the environment.
Changing light fittings to take LED or fluorescent lightbulbs can increase your rating. Even fitting standard energy saving bulbs can help.
Probably one of the quickest and easiest way to improve the efficiency of your home. There are several areas to consider including loft insulation, cavity wall insulation and floor insulation.
Energy Saving Grants
Energy Saving Grants for your home are there to offer you financial aid and help apply effective energy saving procedures throughout your home to lend a helping hand in keeping your energy consumption down!
There are three main groups that can give you an Energy Saving Grant for your home, The Government, Energy Suppliers, and Local Authorities.
The Government will give Energy Saving Grants up to a total of £2,700 to certain people on certain benefits to help take energy saving action throughout their home!
The benefits usually accepted are that such as, income support, council tax benefits, housing benefits, job seekers allowance, disability living allowance, etc etc. Age will also be affected, as will pregnancy and having a child under the age of 16.
To find out if you are eligible for receiving an Energy Saving Grant from the Government, visit the following sites depending on what part of the country you are in:
England: Warmfront Grant
Scotland: Warm Deal / Central Heating Programme
Wales: Home Energy Efficiency Scheme
Northern Ireland: Warm Homes Grant
Visit these sites and see if you are eligible for a Grant; if you meet the recommended requirements, then you could receive up to £2,700 from the Government to take important Energy Saving action on your home, to help reduce carbon emission, save energy, and a considerable amount of money in the long run!
Once certain Energy Suppliers have accumulated a certain amount of loyal customers throughout Great Britain, they then have the option to offer you a wide range of Energy Saving procedures, at a greatly reduced cost, which you can accept and set into motion throughout your home to seriously reduce your energy consumption! It doesn’t matter what company you are currently with either or if you are using gas or electric, you can still accept these great offers and take action immediately!
The majority of all Local Authorities offer small Grants or other types of help along the same sort of lines, which will help take vital Energy Saving actions and procedures throughout local residents homes. Contact your Local Authorities and find out what actions can be taken in your home to minimise carbon emission and save a great deal of wasted energy!