Progress on the Green Appraisal Front--Appraisal Institute Issues Green Appraisal Form

On September 29, 2011, the Appraisal Institute issued a Green/Energy Efficiency Addendum to its standard Fannie Mae Form 1004.  The form has sections for including energy efficient appliances, water savings, energy audit results, energy bills and more.  It can be downloaded here

According to the release by the Appraisal Institute, Form 1004 is "the appraisal industry’s most widely used form for mortgage lending purposes. Used by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration, Form 1004 is completed by appraisers to uphold safe and sound lending. Currently, the contributory value of a home’s green features is rarely part of the equation.

One notable omission is a specific reference to LEED certification.  It includes Energy Star, but not LEED, although there is space for listing "other"  certification. 

This kind of standard form for valuing green features gives specific guidance for appraisers on what to look for and include in the audit.  How the information translates into valuation remains to be seen, but it is an excellent step in the right direction.

Targeted Incentives--Using Government Funds To Fill The Perception Gap

Yesterday, I wrote about Senator Merkley's new set of incentives to encourage green commercial building retrofits, and left you with the question of whether these new incentives will actually change behavior. An interesting article came out today on which highlights a barrier to incorporating green building technologies into building projects:

Appraisals for newly built green homes do not fully reflect the cost of green technology, and the lower appraisal values mean buyers often cannot get the full financing they need from banks.

In essence, according to this articel, the cost of incorporating the green features is not covered by a commensurate increase in the purchase price, causing homeowners to avoid incorporating costly green technologies, even if they represent savings in the long run. 

This is the perfect opportunity for designing a targeted grant or financing incentive.  The government agency could look at the difference in the appraisal of homes without green technologies, homes with green technologies, the cost of those technologies and the ultimate payback, and design an incentive to make up the difference.  A great example would be providing financing for green renovations at a lower rate than standard renovations.  Unfortunately, most incentives are not designed around barriers to entry and cost data, but are essentially throwing some non-targeted amount of money at the problem without analyzing would be the best amount and struture to really change behavior.