Rise of EPC ratings reflects new priorities for home buyers

Expert advice on cost-effective ways to improve Energy Performance Certificate ratings

Rise of EPC ratings reflects new priorities for home buyers

The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of a home used to be an afterthought for most people. This year, after entering winter with energy costs at new highs, the importance of a warm, cost-effective home has moved to the top of homeowners’ minds.

Matthew Cumber (pictured), managing director at Countrywide Surveying Services, said that even 12 months ago, most people had not particularly considered the energy efficiency of their homes.

Cumber, who previously worked for Lloyds Banking Group for 11 years, said that having a home with a higher EPC rating was considered a luxury, far from a necessity.

“However, we have seen, with the cost-of-living crisis in full effect, having a property with a high EPC rating is now at the forefront of people’s minds,” he said.

Simple solutions can raise EPC ratings

John Baguley, director of technical, risk and compliance at Countrywide Surveying Services, said homeowners need to have their homes re-evaluated if they have not had a recent assessment.

“It is likely that their EPC rating will have declined if they have held their home for a long period of time, as the assessments have become stricter,” he said.

Baguley said that once a homeowner has an updated valuation, they can begin working out what they need to improve to increase the rating.

“It is not as expensive as you might think to improve the rating. Simple solutions, from changing to energy-efficient lightbulbs and updating radiator valves, can increase the rating,” he said. “There are of course more expensive solutions too, such as boiler replacement or installing solar panels, but what you need to improve depends on the home’s current rating.”

He added that it is important for homeowners to know what they want to achieve early on as this allows for the minimum amount of work to be done in order to increase the home to the desired rating.

EPC ratings have growing influence on house prices

Given the house price to income ratio in recent years, the significance of improving the saleability and profitability of a home has risen significantly, and Baguley said that makes a higher EPC rating more important.

Baguley said that if an individual is looking to sell their property and are not attracting any offers, then improving the home’s EPC rating should be considered. “However, the cost to profit ratio will need to be worked out ahead of time for the improvements to be beneficial to the sale of the home,” he noted.

Cumber, who oversees the biggest surveying firm in the UK, with about 500 surveyors, also advised that figuring out the reason for the improvements and the initial objective is key when looking to increase an EPC rating.

“If this is about saving money, changing lightbulbs will not do much, so assessing the core goals is essential,” he said.

He added that more complete data helps develop a fuller picture of the property, which is critical to improving the rating of a home cost effectively.

“Customers in the younger generations are more demanding in terms of what they want,” Cumber noted, “and technology can step in and help them gain the knowledge they need to make the best decisions for themselves.”

Have you noticed the importance of a higher EPC rating rise to the forefront of homeowners’ and buyers’ minds alike? Let us know in the comments below.