The value-add property features that deliver real lifestyle benefits

Why your next property purchase MUST include energy efficiency features

As an experienced Buyers Agent working across Sydney, Canberra and Regional NSW, I’m always looking at how to deliver the BEST property for my clients – one that will offer a great lifestyle in the home and maximise value for them, both today and long into the future.

As your trusted Australian Buyers Agent, my focus will always be on the core property features that form the basis of all of your property dreams, such as:

  • price
  • location 
  • land size
  • aspect, and
  • quality

But there’s so much more to consider for smart investors

Factors that most overlook, that could end up costing them thousands or even millions in the future.

So, as future-focused buyers agents, my team and I also provide far more comprehensive property knowledge to take your property selection to the next level, by: 

  • being up to speed on the changing property and regulatory landscape
  • the impact of cost of living rises on property purchases, and 
  • knowing what the latest value–add property features are that you need to be looking for.

“Being aware of these additional future factors gives you the property purchasing edge and peace of mind, in a highly competitive Australian property market.”

That’s why we’re not your “average” buyers agents.

At Brady Marcs, we constantly strive to be the best of the best and that means proactively learning from subject matter experts who ensure we have the comprehensive property knowledge you can count on.

That’s why my team and I sat down with Cecille Weldon director of WeldonCo advisory, Australia’s foremost expert on residential energy efficiency and property value.

With Cecille, we were able to get a deeper understanding of: 

  • the direction of property trends
  • the forthcoming regulatory pathways on a state and federal level, and 
  • the new “value” frameworks being investigated by the finance and banking sector. 

“All of these highlight the same property attributes; energy efficiency features and the new home energy ratings.”

Why is this so important?

A more energy-efficient home is becoming highly desirable in property investing for the important lifestyle benefits they can offer: 

  • More comfortable all year round 
  • Less cost to run – which is so important with cost-of-living increases. 

But most importantly

Homes with energy efficiency features (sometimes referred to as ‘sustainable property features’) and a good home energy rating score are more attractive at the time of sale or rent and are, therefore, delivering a value premium. 

89% of Australians say that an energy-efficient home would be more attractive to buy or rent.

So, they are a great investment decision whether you’re an owner occupier or an investor.

Research conducted by CSIRO indicates “that two-thirds of home buyers prefer energy efficient homes when given a choice. This research found that the floor plans with additional ‘sustainability’ features have, on average, 8.6% higher purchase preference than the standard version of the same design. This highlights a massive but currently untapped market for sustainable homes.” 

Sustainable homes can also influence financial considerations 

Why? Because the financial and lending sectors also want you to upgrade your home to ensure it is affordable to run. As a result, some are offering add-on loans for you to upgrade in the right direction with energy efficiency features. 

You may have seen the latest Australian Financial Review article “Why Banks Want Your Home To Be More Like A Washing Machine, which speaks directly to this trend.

In other words, ‘residential energy efficiency’ can influence: 

  • favourable lending terms for property upgrade finance
  • long-term property value growth

both of which I will discuss in this article.

Home Energy Ratings – what are they and why do they matter?

Many people are unaware that the National Construction Code has required an energy efficiency rating for ALL new homes at the planning stage since 2006. 

The home energy rating (known as NatHERS), underpinned by CSIRO science, assesses the design of the “building shell” on its ability to maintain a comfortable temperature inside without too much mechanical heating or cooling. 

The national compliance level began as 5 stars out of 10. 

Over the years this has risen – now the requirement is for a design to meet 7 stars out of 10.  If you’re wanting to purchase a new home, it’s important to understand if the design has met or “gone beyond” compliance with the NatHERS Certificate.

Some states have added additional requirements: 

  • In NSW, the BASIX Certificate, as it is called, also assesses a new home design for energy efficiency and water efficiency as well as part of their “building shell” compliance markers.
  • In the ACT, they went one step further making it mandatory for ALL homes – existing and new homes, to have an energy efficiency rating at the time of sale. This is referred to as an EER Certificate and on a property listing it will appear as a rating out of six.  

Even though it has been in place for years, many property professionals take the ACT EER rating for granted – but not us at Brady Marcs. 

So, in the ACT, what level of EER star rating is the value “sweet spot”?

In Australia, regarding new residential properties in the ACT, researchers found a 2.4% price premium for a six-star house and a 9.4% premium for a seven-star house compared to a 3-star home. 

For Australia, with a median house price of $773,635 in late 2019, the ACT results equate to potential price premiums of $18,500 and $72,721. 

Better property information is coming: energy ratings for all homes in Australia 

  • The States and territories are all working together on a National Energy Productivity Plan with a target to improve Australia’s energy productivity by 40% by 2030. (Productivity in this sense means getting more from the energy we use.)
  • Our homes are a big part of this focus – through the development of a pathway to deliver energy efficiency ratings on ALL homes at the time of sale or rent. 

The WHY behind this

The core issue is that residential buildings are not as energy efficient as they could be, and not as energy efficient as they need to be to meet the long-term goals of the Australian Government. 

The residential sector has been slow to adopt readily available energy-efficient designs, materials and technologies, and the visibility of energy-efficiency information at the time of sale or rent is rare. 

Recent research has found that 98.5% of housing in Australia falls below the economic and environmental optimum. This is despite clear health, comfort, financial, economic, environmental benefits and incentives.

In Australia (except for the ACT), there are no energy efficiency ratings required to be disclosed when purchasing or renting homes. This prevents people from making better property decisions by easily distinguishing between high and low-energy efficiency options.

The Solution

This work is intended to ensure that Australians have information related to the home’s potential energy performance when their making property decisions. 

This will empower them to make informed choices about their property purchases and any energy efficiency improvement upgrades. 

It will also support consumer choice and address information barriers about a home’s energy performance at the point of sale and/or lease, by informing:

  • Home buyers about which homes have the potential for lower energy bills when they are making choices about which homes to purchase.
  • Home buyers, sellers and investors about how to upgrade the energy efficiency and comfort of their homes.
  • Home renters about which homes have the potential for lower energy bills and greater comfort when they are making choices about which homes to lease.

“Australia’s perceptions of our “BEST home” are changing – and it’s shifting quickly from the standard factors to factors like these. Fortunately, so are we at Brady Marcs!”

The lifestyle benefits delivered by energy efficiency features, comfort all year round, ongoing affordability, health and lower impact on the environment will all become a major part of the property marketing conversation. 

So, without further ado, let’s see what this means for you NOW and share tips for the next time you inspect a property. 

If you’ve spent any time searching for property in Canberra, you may have noticed the EER number on the property listing. 

In the ACT the local government requires formal Energy Efficiency Ratings (EER), which is a measurable scale that rates homes from 1 (little to no energy efficiency) to 6 (outstanding energy efficiency). 

It may not have meant much to you before this but now it’s a good idea to look more closely at this number: 

  • if it’s between 4-6, then this should grab your attention as an energy-efficient home. 
  • if it’s lower, then you now know, with confidence, that you can improve the EER rating (and lower the running costs) by renovating the home with additional energy efficiency features.

The ACT EER scheme will be updated as part of the national plan for energy efficiency rating on all homes.

If you’re searching for property in Sydney or Regional NSW, then keep an eye out for any energy efficiency features in the listing – and if it’s a new home, then ask to see the NatHERS certificate – remember compliance is now 7 stars out of 10. 

Energy Efficiency Features – it’s the property value gift that keeps giving long into the future

The benefits of homes with energy efficiency features for buyers

With more information about the energy efficiency potential of a property starting to flow through the housing market, energy efficiency must be a consideration if you’re looking to buy in NSW or the ACT. 

Let’s consider the benefits of energy-efficient homes for buyers and why it’s such an important factor.

The four main reasons energy efficiency features should be added to your property wish list: 

1. Delivering real lifestyle benefits for you

An energy-efficient home is a blessing when it comes to seasonal changes in temperature – supporting you to have a comfortable home inside all year round.

Like me you may have experience living in a home that is uncomfortably hot or uncomfortably cold – it really does impact your quality of life in the home. Comfort matters and the benefits can really add up.

2. Taking control of ongoing running costs.  

As I’ve hinted at, homes with the latest Energy Efficiency features (and if in the ACT, a high EER rating) have another aspect of attraction to add to their property profile – the importance of that ongoing affordability. At a time of rising cost of living, it’s natural that a home’s running cost will come into focus not just because it impacts the cost to buy property.

This is only set to increase as the same cost of living pressures are leading to the need for better more comprehensive information about a property’s energy efficiency to be available at the time of sale or rent. 

So much of the rising cost of living is out of our control – upgrading a home or choosing homes with energy efficiency inclusion including Solar PV just makes good investment sense. While upgrading to a better home, a more energy-efficient home, may mean a higher purchase price upfront, it will save you significant costs over the long term.

3. Access to new financial products 

If you’re planning to renovate the property after purchase, then it’s important to make sure you keep upgrading the energy efficiency features as well.  

To help with this, you may like to ask your bank or lender about any add-on loans they can provide for an energy efficiency upgrade. With more and more banks wanting to support homeowners with these changes it’s a great time to add these features into your capitalisation plans.

Some have even introduced specialised financing options to upgrade with specific energy efficiency features some examples are:

Please note: this is general information only and is not intended or should be taken as financial advice in any form. For more specific information, contact your financial advisor who can discuss your options for your specific circumstances.

4. Aligning to future market trends

Choosing a home with energy-efficient features ensures your property has been upgraded in the right direction for market demand and in readiness for the new home energy ratings coming down the line.

5. Long term value

Being aware and ready to leverage these market trends and innovation in property inclusions means you reap the benefit in the short term of a home that is more comfortable to live in all year round, healthier and cheaper to run. Then when it’s time to sell, have an advantage with a home that people are looking for and are willing to pay more for. 

This really is a WIN-WIN-WIN.

As an experienced Australian Buyers Agent who truly cares about the success of my clients, I’m constantly looking to guide them toward property purchases in Sydney, Canberra and Regional NSW that have long-term growth potential. 

That’s why I’ve invested the time with Cecille and will be diving deeper into this important area of property knowledge, delivering a real point of difference in market knowledge; so that you can enjoy maximised property results.

Before I go, I’ll leave you with one top energy efficiency features tip – with more to follow in every blog post.

Check the hot water system.

Water heating is the second largest segment of household energy use, ranging from 15% to 30%. Therefore, checking a property’s hot water system efficiency is essential.

In particular, keep an eye out for hot water systems that run on Solar or Heat Pumps with offer potential rebates and a 30% energy usage reduction when compared to conventional electric hot water systems, respectively.

Why? 

Did you know that 25% of your energy bill is from your hot water usage? 

So, not surprisingly, a high-rated electric heat pump hot water system is a key asset in a property and increasingly one that can be showcased at the time of sale or rent. Heat pump water heaters are highly efficient and compared to a conventional electric hot water system, use only 30% of the energy. These systems use a refrigeration cycle to extract heat from the air to heat the water.

Facing the future of Australian property buying with confidence: we’re right there with you!


Engage a trusted buyers agent – one that understands ALL aspects of property value.

Of course, with a strong understanding of the complicated NSW and ACT property buying process, decades of home buying experience and wide-ranging industry connections, a trusted Buyers Agent like myself and the team at Brady Marcs Buyers Advisory, are building on our extensive property knowledge and experience with an understanding the energy efficiency of a home. 

I’m your trusted buyer agent, helping you find the showcase EER-rated properties in the ACT and in today’s extremely competitive Sydney real estate market, you need a dependable and empathetic Buyers Agent to help you get an advantage over the competition, secure the best deal, negotiate on your behalf and help you navigate Australia’s complex and evolving energy efficiency recommendations and regulations.   

As Founder of Brady Marcs Buyers Advisory, my team and I can guide you through the entire property buying process. From first-home buyers to seasoned property investors, our integrity and expertise are for everyone, every goal and every property.   

We even provide vendor advocacy services if you’re looking to sell your home before buying a new one.

Contact us today to see how we can help you take a better approach to your property journey.