The California Rush could be happening all over again, if the Government gets its way. Why? Because there will be a rush to buy that hassle-free house in California before the law interferes with the hassle-free part.
There is the distinct possibility of a new law being passed that will be a real pain for all the let’s-buy-this-house-now investors. Okay folks, you’ve heard it all before, but this is not a realty ruse to get you buying houses and it really could affect you.
Imagine this scenario: you are on vacation in California and you see the perfect little retirement home – slightly run down but you will enjoy doing the renovations as you adjust to the lazy life of the retiree! In goes your cash offer -‘as is’ with a quick escrow. It’s all over in two weeks, the house is yours and you drive home with a smug smile on your face.
Or do you? Just as you approach the closing of your new property, in pops the Government with a demand that a state-mandated energy audit is scheduled in before the sale finalizes. This means that you are now on their timetable for an appointment (groan…) so that they can tell you how energy deficient your prospective home is. Who knows if this inspection will even be free?
If you think this sounds bad, there is worse to come: read on. Before you are allowed to close on the deal, you will have to make good on any and all of the recommendations that they put forward to make the house energy efficient – in their judgment. There goes the quick deal – and the smug smile.
The State of California is going to try and get in on all the realty deals, and it will be so much easier to buy now before (if) the law comes into being. Don’t get me wrong, it is a great bill for the environment – as long as you don’t want to buy a house in a hurry! Here is the low down on Assembly Bill 2678.
This new bill, which is designed to further protect the environment in California was introduced in February 2008 and has already been passed by the Committee of Utilities and Commerce. It is described as a process that mandates energy-efficient audits on any residential and commercial building in California at time of sale.
These audits will be carried out by the California Energy Commission (CEC) and they will make recommendations (for that – read demands!) that they consider appropriate. These recommendations, which may cost thousands, must be written into any contract.
Research shows that many of the homes that will be put on sale will require some form of mandatory energy re-fit. However, this number of homes is a small percentage of California’s total homes and will make little difference to the environment. It is also felt to be somewhat discriminatory against lower income groups, as these ‘unknown’ price hikes may put a home out of their reach.
The California Association of Realtors (CAR) is opposed to this bill in its present form. CAR feel that it may be more difficult to pass this bill if it involved the whole electorate; but easier to pass as the bill has pinpointed only an un represented and temporary class of citizens (no-one is a home-seller for ever).
If you oppose this type of legislation, you can inform your elected representative in the Assembly; what starts in California seems to spread all over USA! Meanwhile, get in touch with your favorite California real estate agent and hunt down that bargain home in a hurry!