Recently Massachusetts passed what is know as the Stretch codes. They are additions to the existing Energy Code which pushes a more stringent code requirements for all new construction and renovations in the regions that adopted this code. The goal of course is to increase our focus on energy efficiency. Of course the sidebar to this is added cost. Cost will go up considerably to meet these new requirements. Pennsylvania last year passed a requirement to install sprinkler systems in all new homes. In areas that well output is limited it can be required that a second well is installed to supply the sprinklers in the event of a fire. Again this is a huge cost increase. The laws of unintended consequences apply here.
New homes are 100% more efficient that old homes even before these code changes. Watch your local papers and read about house fires, what homes are burning? is it new construction or old homes? So while all this good legislation is being passed to increase the efficiency and safety of new construction the added cost is putting home ownership further and further out of reach. Where do people on limited budgets go when they cannot afford new construction? Well of course to older more affordable housing. Our communities are burdened with old homes, these home take up valuable land space in prime areas. These homes area also the equivalent of driving gas guzzlers with no emissions control from the 1970’s. Meanwhile we are watching people purchase farm land in more rural areas to build on because it is more affordable. This reduces Green space, effects water tables, increases erosion and decreases uninhabited natural space.
So what is the cost of these new Green Building initiatives. More people living in more old homes that are as far from Green as you can imagine, increased urban sprawl, longer drive distances that increase fuel consumption etc etc. I am not so sure our efforts to be GREEN are as GREEN as we want them to be.
So I ask this question. Is all this new legislation to protect the environment really helping, or is it contributing to a bigger problem.
Today things are harder then they ever were when it comes to Real Estate, Mortgage Banking, Building permits etc. A number of our customers are learning this the hard way. Often times the customers we are working are in the process of selling their current house so that they can build their dream house. This process has a lot of pitfalls, and you could not pay me to be in the Real Estate business right now. Recently I was working with a customer who was selling their house, to someone who was selling their house to someone else. I watched this poor couple ride a roller coaster of ups and downs as they went through the process. You need to expect some of this. Between preliminary finance approvals, bank inspections, appraisals, final finance approval, the permit process etc. There are a lot of agencies trying their hardest to make sure deals go the right way. Though you will think their goal is sabotage. My only advice, “Don’t Freak Out”. Typically things fall into place. Our world still functions on people trying to make some money, money motivated people tend to find a way to make things work. Weather it is the buyers lawyer, the sellers lawyer, the title company, the appraiser, the Realtor, all of these people do not get paid when deals fall apart so they actual want the deal to go through and will work to make it happen despite all the obstacles. As the customer, you are often stuck sitting there just waiting for news and it will often look bleak. But be patient, if you have partnered with good people most of the time things work out just they was you planned. Don’t take the fun out of it by letting the stress get to you.