How to sell a house Energy performance certificates explained

Energy ratings colour code

Energy performance certificates help the buyer to see how efficient your home is

Energy performance certificates (EPCs) give potential buyers an upfront look at how energy efficient your property is, how it can be improved and how much money this could save.

EPCs for homes were first introduced in 2007 as part of home information packs (Hips) for home sellers. Hips were scrapped in 2010, but if you're selling your house you're still legally required to have an EPC in place.

You must have at least commissioned the energy performance certificate when you put your home on the market and can arrange it through your estate agent or directly with an EPC provider.

Home reports, Scotland’s equivalent of Hips, are still required and include an EPC (known as an energy report). They also include a survey and a property questionnaire.

EPCs were also introduced to the rental market in 2008. In most cases, landlords marketing their properties for rent must have an EPC available for prospective tenants to view or risk a fine.

Go further: 10 ways to cut your energy bills - boost the efficiency of your home with these tips

What is information does an EPC provide?

This document is valid for 10 years and shows how good – or bad – the energy efficiency of your property is. It grades the property’s energy efficiency from A to G, with A being the highest rating.

If you have a brand new home it’s likely to have a high rating. If you have a older home it’s likely to be around D or E.

The energy performance certificate also lists ways to improve the rating - such as installing double glazing or loft, floor or wall insulation.

The theory is that the better the rating your property gets, the more attractive it should be to a tenant as it indicates lower energy bills.

Go further: Cavity wall insulation - learn more about this energy efficiency measure

Energy performance certificate costs

Costs can range from around £60 to £120. They can vary widely within the same area, so shop around. If you go directly to an EPC provider rather than getting it through an estate agent, the cost of EPCs are generally cheaper.

To find the best deal, get a quote from your estate agent, search for firms online and visit the energy performance certificate register online to find accredited energy assessors in your area to get quotes. You can also check whether an individual assessor is accredited on the site.

In Scotland, home reports can cost from £600 but there may be regional variations. If you are selling your home in Scotland, get a quote from your estate agent as well as from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) for a survey and energy report.

Go further: Moving house in Scotland - how the regulations differ

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Changes to EPCs for the Green Deal

The government's 'Green Deal' scheme started in February 2013, and EPCs have changed as a result. The Green Deal is an initiative that enables you to borrow money to make energy-saving improvements to your home, which will be repaid through your gas and electricity bills.  

The Green Deal has a clause called the 'Golden Rule'. This means that the repayments of the money you've borrowed will not exceed the savings you make from the improvements to your home. If you move home, the Green Deal and any repayments will be passed to the new owner of the home and will not move with you.

Go further: Green Deal - full details of the scheme

Energy-saving advice on EPCs

To reflect the introduction of the Green Deal, EPCs have been updated to make it much clearer to consumers how much they might save from making greener home improvements. Features of the new certificate include the following.

  • Potential costs of heating, lighting and hot water after home improvements made.
  • Total potential savings, and the potential energy performance rating you might receive after making improvements to your home.
  • Recommended actions to take (such as increasing loft insulation and draught proofing).
  • The potential cost of undertaking these improvements, and the typical saving over a three-year period.
  • Whether or not the recommended actions are available under the Green Deal.

If the recommendations in the EPC are available under the Green Deal, you will see a green tick next to them. If you have to pay money upfront, you will see an amber tick next to the measure. You can click to view a sample new look energy performance certificate.

Need mortgage advice?

We believe you should seek independent mortgage advice before taking out a mortgage. The Which? Group offers an independent mortgage advice service, Which? Mortgage Advisers, that looks at every mortgage from every available lender. You can also find an independent mortgage adviser using Unbiased.co.uk.

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