Should EPCs Drain The Fuel From Your Home Purchase?

When viewing or considering properties, keen home buyers will typically look out for not only the appearance of a property in general, but also more fundamental considerations such as floor plans, square footage, and condition. All of this is done in an attempt to ensure the best possible property for the price, yet countless buyers forget one important consideration in this sense – the energy performance certificate (EPC).

Required to be provided to all buyers by law, EPCs can highlight a range of energy efficiency issues, as well as putting the minds of increasingly eco-conscious home buyers (as many as 63%) at rest. The question is, what exactly do EPCs mean, and precisely how much of a part should they play in your overall decision to purchase?

Understanding EPCs

EPCs are certificates outlining the energy performance of a property. Examples of what you can expect to see when viewing an EPC can be found on sites like, but you can generally expect a standardised document that outlines information about the property’s energy usage, including dwelling type and estimated energy costs vs potential savings. A small coloured graph at the bottom of the document shows both the current energy rating of a property (on a scale of A-G, with A being the greenest rating), and an arrow indicating the level that the property could run at if improvements were implemented.

What this means for costs

While EPCs do have a small impact on house prices, the savings/increases caused by positive or negative ratings are often negligible. That said, it is still possible to save money by taking the time to consider EPC revelations. Specifically, considering estimated energy costs of the dwelling for the next three years (which should be displayed at the top of an EPC) against the potential costs for improvements can help to gain a much clearer picture of expenses that could quickly escalate. Realistically, it’s unlikely that a vendor will expect a lower price that takes this into account, but awareness at least enables you to understand how easily you could afford to maintain/restore the sustainability of a property after buying in the first place.

Should a poor rating be a deal-breaker?

Even eco-conscious home buyers shouldn’t necessarily rule out a property with a poor energy rating. Many rating certificates can quickly improve from simple changes such as more efficient energy usage, the implementation of more modern appliances, and even the swapping of older bulbs with more eco-friendly LED options like those found at Equally, even large-scale requirements like boiler replacement for this purpose aren’t typically urgent, allowing for some time to save towards the goal. That said, if homeowners would struggle to manage the often higher energy costs in poorly performing properties alongside mortgage payments, it may be worth taking the search elsewhere.

The importance of EPCs is only set to increase as greener buying habits become the norm. Make sure that you know what you’re seeing, what it means, and how that impacts your purchase for complete transparency at every stage of your house hunt.

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