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I don’t know what brainchild came up with the idea of making Realtors the point-of-sale police of the country.  In theory it’s probably a great idea to someone. The latest in California is the State Assembly’s decision that it may be the state’s sellers who will be required to cough up $400 for an energy audit.  Completing the audit is just the beginning.  You knew there was more to it, didn’t you.  Once the audit is completed here comes the upgrades. 

Who’s going to pay for those upgrades?  In current market conditions it may be nobody.  Many sellers don’t have the cash.  It can’t be included as a payment out of escrow; the equity isn’t there.  As Realtors we can’t justify adding it into the price of the house.  Add a few thousand dollars to a list price and watch it languish on the market. 

When you get the Call to Action from your local or state board or the NAR, get on it.  Make the call.  Send the email.  Otherwise next we’re going to be hauling clients off to the point-of-sale jail.  Or worse:  There will be fewer houses to sell and fewer who can afford to buy them.

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Written By

As a lifelong resident and local Realtor, Vicki has established herself as a respected member of the San Mateo County real estate community. She’s known for her wit, sarcasm, and her personality that shows through in her posts. You can find her spouting off at Twitter, here at ag, and her personal blog, San Mateo Real Estate



  1. Glenn fm Naples

    May 5, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    Vicki – is the energy audit required before listing, during the listing period or when an offer is accepted?

    Could the energy audit just be informal for the prospective buyer? Is there a requirement that the recommendations have to be implemented or upgrades done?

    I am asking these questions, because I am not in California.

    Do you think real estate agents need to be more consumer driven? Or do you think we are too reactive?

  2. Chris Lengquist

    May 5, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    And don’t forget landlords are supposed to report illegal aliens. It’s the law in some jurisdictions. I thought I was just renting a property. Not running an investigation unit. How am I supposed to know who is legal and who is not?

  3. Vicki Moore

    May 5, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    Glenn – My best guess is that the energy audit and the work will have to be done before COE which means the sooner you get the audit done, the sooner the work can be done so it can close. I don’t think they’ll micromanage to say when in the process the audit will have to be completed. At least that’s how the other Point of Sales work.

    The audit will not be informal and the recommendations will be required to be completed prior to COE.

    Do you think real estate agents need to be more consumer driven? Or do you think we are too reactive? Could you elaborate? I’m not sure what you’re referring to.

    Chris – There are already too many Point of Sale requirements. Smoke detector, water heater, some cities have earthquake retrofit, sewer lateral…it goes on and on.

  4. BawldGuy Talking

    May 5, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    Being from CA I’ll jump in only to say this is no surprise. We’ve been hanging a steady ‘left turn’ for well over a decade now, and this is just another brick in the wall.

    The last time we went through this was the low flush toilet retrofits. And you thought some things were your business, didn’t you? 🙂

    Doing business in CA is what some call a challenge. It’s my thinking the state will slowly but surely lose its luster, which is already happening. People are discovering that even though CA is an incredible place in which to live, it’s changing.

    Paradise is how we so often describe San Diego, which is appropriate. But I wonder lately whether if, as CA morphs into The People’s Republic of California, Paradise will disappear like steam in the air.

    It’s because of these laws affecting business that so many employers of all sizes and industries have left for better treatment. Doing business in CA has become more onerous as each year passes.

  5. Vicki Moore

    May 5, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    Jeff – I agree. I’ve seen it in one of the towns I work in as well. They’ve made it so hard for businesses to succeed there they don’t even try anymore.

    They’re continuing to put hurdles in the way of home sales. With the extreme expense of this upgrade, I believe they’re creating a larger divide between those that have and those that don’t.

  6. Larry Yatkowsky

    May 5, 2008 at 9:08 pm

    comment #1 – Glenn

    Consumer driven my aunt fanny! Make no mistake this is simple government off-loading.

    Water cooler story:

    While standing around the water cooler one government guy say to the other we need to find busy little worker bees who are happy to do something for free. Oh my, says one to the other! How about a Realtor? They do all kinds of things for free. It’s in their blood. They do free stuff all the time. Hell, if we are nice, they will even pay for the paper color ink to print the form. We just send them the PDF. They are used to it. They never complain they do freebies all the time. They do free evaluations, free rides around a neighborhood, free writing pads, free volunteer time for community events, food and blanket drives. If you find a live one and if you want to get a night off and go to dinner it’s easy-peezy! Phone that realtor and hint that you’ll be talking to your wife about selling and they’ll come over and baby sit. All for free. Hell they’ll even thank you for the opportunity.

    To the point.

    The timing of this post has a certain irony. Jonathan Dalton and I are comparing the requirements for Canadian sellers and buyers of real estate in your country and mine. We, like Vicki are pressured into doing a freebie.

    Glenn, it’s not “consumer driven.” Local and federal governments are the “driver”. Bothersome, is that the creep of off-loading is gathering steam and is establishing precident to become common place in our daily work.

    Please everyone, no more freebies.

    If you are “reactive” there is Plan B:

    Sell T-Shirts emblazoned with “Load me up” – “I give freebies”

  7. Bob

    May 5, 2008 at 10:47 pm

    In San Diego it is estimated by dataquick that we’ll see @ 25k sales, of which 15k will be short sales, reos or trustee sales. Next year’s numbers will be same or worse.

    Slim to none chance any audits or “upgrades” gets done by the lenders who have the final say in those transactions.

  8. Eric- New Orleans Condos and Lofts

    May 5, 2008 at 10:53 pm

    We have plenty of room for you guys in Ca. We are making a right turn after 100 years of Democratic rule which ranks Louisiana number 50 in a lot of things. Did this just happen? We produce a lot of oil, have nuclear plants, plenty of water, great music and great food. The taxes are going down and people are working for themselves. Its amazing what the rich states tend to do.

  9. Vicki Moore

    May 6, 2008 at 11:15 am

    Talk about not publishing conversations related to escrows: I’ve been email boxing with a guy in my office over this. He’s been in the business 44 years – I always love that one. My standard response: Who cares. He says I’m just being negative. Oh brother. That I must be a proponent of eliminating disclosures. WTF does that have to do with anything. Anybody else want to take him on?

  10. Larry Yatkowsky

    May 6, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    re 44 years. I got a feed bag if you got a pasture. .>)

  11. Susan Hilton - Texas Aggie Realtor

    May 6, 2008 at 7:47 pm

    Looks like just another attempt to add a “tax” to our lives.

  12. Fred Glick

    June 14, 2010 at 11:28 am

    I have to take the opposite side. See- Gulf of Mexico.

    Yes, there will be suffering, something this generation is not used to, to get us off the oil binge and get us more energy efficient in this country.

    In my CA brokerage, I think I will voluntarily deduct this from our commissions and give it back to the Seller at closing! It’s what a Triple Bottom Line company does.


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