A decade ago, our culture didn’t place much emphasis on living a “green” lifestyle. Thankfully, the importance of making daily decisions that benefit the environment are finally permeating the American psyche. As consumers, we are starting to understand that the way a home is built or designed, has a huge impact on how much energy we consume. We understand that small changes; like lowering the thermostat, watering our lawn less, or changing a light bulb or two, will not solve our energy crisis – we need big changes.
As California struggles to adjust to the ever-increasing cost of energy, new green mortgage products are finally meeting the demand. But guess what? Most people shopping for a home have no idea these products exist, and are unaware of government programs sponsoring and subsidizing smarter energy consumption.
One of the reasons we are finally seeing the value in green mortgages, is because of the recent and still ongoing real estate crash. This economic tsunami forced a complete paradigm shift in how people relate to real estate. Gone is the infatuation of buying a McMansion, while paying little attention to the true costs involved. In its wake, new market trends have taken root, and savvy first-time homebuyers are actually taking their time to investigate all options. Unfortunately, buyers are not getting this pertinent information from the people they should be; realtors and lenders.
But, as many agents and lenders have been forced to leave the business, the rest of us are learning to thrive and survive by actually doing our jobs. We are no longer order-takers, but instead seasoned professionals that will only endure by giving our clients something of value. A real reason to buy, sell or refinance a home.
Let the educating begin!
Here are just a few strategies to improve your home:
- Replace water heater with a geo-thermal water heater.
- Seal doors, attics and other openings to trap in warm or cool air.
- Replace water heater with a more efficient tankless water heater.
- Replace windows with newer, better sealed double-panes to trap in warm or cool air.
- Install solar panels on your roof.
- Get a whole-house fan.
Current Tax Credits for Energy Efficiency. (Click here)
A list of the most current tax credits authorized when President Obama signed the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010.
What is your Home Energy Rating? (Click here)
A great booklet put out by the California Energy Commission. If you are buying or selling, or staying in your current home, every Californian should know his or her energy rating.
Energy Efficient Mortgage or EEM. (Click here)
This program allows a borrower to finance up to 100% of the cost-effective energy improvements right into your new mortgage.
Energy Efficient 203K Streamline Mortgage – Think EEM on steroids! (Click here)
Savvy realtors and buyers are leveraging this product to help them buy homes many others will avoid, because of the work needed to improve the curb appeal of that home. Imagine having $35,000 to make major enhancements to your home, and having 6 months to complete those improvements after you move into the home.
INTERESTING ENERGY FACTOID – Hawaii mandates installation of solar panels on the roofs of every new home built.