For some home buyers, finding the right home was love at first sight – the finishes, the open floor plan, the natural light – that kitchen island. For others, the home may have had a great location and price, but there was going to be real work involved to polish up the diamond in the rough.
Whichever end of the spectrum your home buying experience landed on, owning a home is a lot like being in a relationship – once the first blush of infatuation and excitement wears off, there’s literally no end to the upkeep and maintenance! : ) And for all homeowners, much of the maintenance happens behind the scenes – in the walls, attic, garage and basement. Sigh, so boring, we know. But it’s also really important.
What keeps your family warm and breathing easy is a collection of features that are a mystery to most homeowners: insulation, air sealing, heating and cooling efficiency ratings, duct sealing, and more. Unless your home was built recently and to a higher standard, it’s worth it to upgrade your home’s systems as your budget allows and as your maintenance schedule demands. You’ll be rewarded by falling in love with your home all over again – this time because of its superior comfort and lower energy bills, which can translate into additional home value. Your home is probably your biggest asset – it deserves your love, and you deserve a home that loves you back.
Practically speaking, how does one achieve a state of domicile bliss? At Pearl Certification, we recommend starting with one of our elite Network contracting companies approved to certify their work. You will find that these companies have rave reviews on Angie’s List or Yelp, but Pearl Certification also cares about their technical training, industry accreditation, dispute resolution process, and other indicators of quality work. Pearl Network contractors are in the top 5% of the nation, and they will help you make the right improvements to achieve the high-performing home of your dreams. Because their installs are certified through Pearl, you have peace of mind knowing that the value of your home improvement investment will be captured for potential resale or refinance. It’s like banking value. So, no need to kiss a lot of frogs or play the contracting equivalent of Tinder roulette, we’ve got your contractor prince or princess charming all picked out.
What’s next? Most homeowners contact a contractor because they have a specific issue that needs to be dealt with: perhaps the furnace is broken, or there’s a room/floor in your home that is perpetually too hot or too cold, or maybe it’s time to remodel. (Remember that statement about no end to the maintenance?) One great thing about Pearl’s certification system is that as you continue to replace, enhance, or improve features in your home, we can update your home’s profile along the way. Go HGTV crazy – Pearl isn’t a one-and-done relationship! We’re with you for the long haul, and if you need further guidance, a Pearl Home Investment Plan issued from one of our Network contractors will provide you with a roadmap to maximize not only your home investment, but also your home satisfaction, or “certifaction” as we call it.
Pearl’s system begins with an Asset level certification and moves up through Silver, Gold, and Platinum whole home certifications. An Asset Certification is usually issued for a single improvement – like an ENERGY STAR water heater or a new air conditioning unit. It’s a terrific first step to a high-performing home. Whole home certifications are issued when the home has multiple assets that frequently include insulation as well as heating and cooling, or other appliances. Pearl also has a Solar Certification if you are ready to join the hundreds of thousands of homeowners who are now happily generating their own electricity. You might be surprised to know, however, that Pearl’s certification is not all about energy efficiency or even comfort – durability and indoor air quality are important factors as well.
Case in point: air sealing. The least pursued and most misunderstood home improvement is air sealing. Most people think of air sealing as adding weather stripping around windows and doors – while important, the biggest leaks in a home are typically not around windows and doors (unless you’re missing one). Contractors use special testing equipment called a blower door to identify how leaky the home is and where the leaks are coming from. Usually these leaks are related to holes drilled for wiring or plumbing, and an incomplete seal between the home’s foundation and floor, and wall and roof – to name just a few. A well-sealed home is not only more efficient, it also has fewer drafts and is more comfortable, less dusty (and buggy), and has better indoor air quality. Note that air sealing is the most cost-effective efficiency improvement you can make; in fact, Pearl highly recommends that you air seal your home before replacing any heating or cooling equipment. Why? Because as any building scientist will tell you (yes, this is a thing), air sealing stops the heated and cooled air you’ve paid to heat and cool from escaping to the outside. This has the co-benefit of helping your equipment work better – so much better that in most instances, you can purchase replacement equipment that is smaller in size and price tag.
If your home has multiple features that make it healthy, comfortable and energy efficient, it can qualify for the Pearl Silver, Gold or Platinum Certification. If you’ve already made a number of improvements, an elite Pearl Network Contractor can advise you on whether the home qualifies for a certification level now. As mentioned above, a Network contractor can also provide you with a Pearl Home Investment Plan which will outline how to get your home to the next level. Playing on our Valentine’s Day theme, you can think of certification like a wedding band. Maybe right now what you can afford is a simple gold band. Wonderful, no shame it that game. Years down the road, you might want to upgrade to a platinum and diamond eternity band to signify your love and commitment to your partner. Similarly, when you are ready to double-down on your homeownership, a Pearl Network contractor can help guide you through the process using Pearl’s industry standard certification system.
In this blog, we’ve talked about some of the benefits that come with a high-performing home, now let’s talk about the benefits of making sure your home is certified high-performing. There’s only one national home certification that works with existing and new construction, that can be updated over time, that is licensed by the Appraisal Institute to complete their special Appraisal Addendum, and is accepted by the Real Estate Standards Organization as a data field in the Multiple Listing Service – and that’s Pearl Certification. We are the real deal. Pearl Certification makes the specialness of your high-performing home, visible. The investment grade documentation provided Pearl, including a completed appraisal addendum, captures the value of your home improvement investment, in a sense banking that value for a future appraisal.
Pearl’s Certification is a point of pride for homeowners – pride in the quality of their home, pride in making smart home improvements, and pride in knowing they’ve not only done the right thing for their families, but also for planet we all share. Having your home Pearl Certified makes you feel special too, and it lets the world know your home is as beautiful on the inside as it is on the out.
Sure, your granite counters are To. Die. For. But your high-efficiency heat pump is truly what keeps you warm at night. And that my friends, is true love. Vacation homes with their sunset views and jacuzzi bathtubs notwithstanding, the home we live in needs to be dependably comfortable, affordable to operate, and healthy to live in. But heck, isn’t it great to know that with a Pearl Certification, even your insulation will finally feel sexy!? Cozy is sexy, right? Right?
If at some point you’re ready to sell (because your needs have changed, or you’ve fallen in love with another home – we’ve all been there) that sexy high-performing home is exactly what the next buyer will fall in love with too. Today’s buyers want performance, they want to feel the warm embrace of sustainable features and lower energy bills. A Pearl Certification explains exactly what about your home is above average and why. And if you work with a Pearl Partner listing agent, you are in the best professional hands to ensure your home will sell for more and faster. What’s not to love about that?
As Beyoncé once said, “If you like it then you better put a cert on it. If you like it then you better put a cert on it. Woh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh…” Well, ok, she didn’t say exactly that, but you get the point (and you’re welcome on reintroducing her earworm).