What’s the most difficult aspect of building a high-performance home? Some might say it’s getting all of the finicky air-sealing details right. Others, ensuring that moisture is properly managed. Still others, “right-sizing” the heating and cooling system. But here at Unity Homes, we are finding that the parts of the process that are outside our control – like financing the home – can prove to be a challenge.
Although lowering the cost of high-performance homes is central to Unity’s mission, the fact is that in certain markets, our homes tend to be more expensive than homes that are built just to the level of current building codes. This is because the quality and performance of our homes is significantly higher than the typical code-built home. When it comes to helping our clients obtain financing for their homes, we often find ourselves educating appraisers and lenders, to help ensure that the value of the home is accurately represented in the appraisal.
Last month we were happy to host an educational event for appraisers, lenders and realtors at which Sandra Adomatis, a nationally-recognized expert on green appraisals, presented strategies and solutions for successfully appraising high-performance homes. Sandra emphasized the importance of appraisers and realtors becoming educated about the construction, features and operation of high performance homes. She provided sample language to better describe the advantages of these homes in the Multiple Listing Service and on appraisals. And she highlighted the importance of working with lenders who understand the value of high-performance homes. Sandra also demonstrated that a compelling case for high-performance homes can often be made by evaluating the total cost of ownership, because lower monthly utility bills offset higher monthly mortgage payments.
The approximately thirty attendees asked good questions and engaged in thoughtful discussion. We concluded the event with tours of our production facility and show home.
The participants in this appraiser education event were universally positive about having attended, with comments ranging from “This was very informative and educational” to “Awesome event!” Everyone acknowledged that there is room for improvement in the field of “green appraising,” and they were inspired to be on the vanguard of this movement. Here at Unity Homes, we will continue our efforts to make every aspect of building a new home—including the financing—as straightforward as possible.