By John R. Blakefield
Did you know that you can save money by having an energy efficient house? And you can facilitate this by getting a loan to improve the energy usage of the house. It is known as an Energy-Efficient Mortgage or EEM and many lenders offer them to home buyers with energy conservation in mind. You can check with banks and other institutions who can help guide you in the right direction in finding this great opportunity.
In order to qualify for an EEM, you must have your house rated for its energy usage. This energy rating evaluates the entire structure as a whole and does not consider who is living in it, meaning the assessment is not based on personal behavior. The energy rating literally assesses the amount of energy used based on the type windows that are installed in the home, the amount and type of insulation, as well as the appliances your home uses. It even looks at the type and quality of major energy users such as cooling and heating systems. The better quality the structure and the least amount of air leakage in ducts, the better the energy rating the house will get.
Before you get your house rated for energy usage, be sure to ask the lender what type of energy rating they want to you to get. A very common rating is the Home Energy Rating System or HERS, and you can find companies or individuals who can diagnose a house and give it this rating. The person who does the rating is either a certified rater or energy auditor who uses information gathered from the house, inputs it in a computer program, and then produces a report. This report is used to rate the house and give it a score from 1-100. There is then a scale of 5 stars that correspond to the amount of points the house has earned.
Not only does this report assess the current energy uses of the house, but will also give suggestions on ways to improve the energy usage of the home by making the necessary improvements on the house. It can go as far as to detail the estimated cost, savings, and break even point for each improvement.
The lender, however, may prefer you to use alternative energy audits that will determine the same type of information that the lender will use to assess the amount and terms of the EEM.
In order to qualify for an energy improvement through an EEM, the improvement must be cost-effective which means that the monthly savings on the utility bills that are generated by the improvement must be greater than the added monthly cost of the energy mortgage. Also, your total savings must be greater than your total costs.
What the EEM is achieving is the ability for a home owner to take out a loan in order to make the necessary home improvements that will save more money than the loan costs itself. There will be considerable long term savings as well, after the loan costs and savings break even.
Actually getting the EEM is like getting a normal mortgage, just there is some additional paperwork and of course information used to determine the loan amount and terms. A facilitator can assist you with making the EEM process run smoothly, making sure everything is completed and filed in a timely manner and taking some of the work off the shoulders of both the home owner and lender.
The home owner has between about 90 and 180 days to have the improvements made to the home. The loan amount, usually about 150% of the total cost of improvements, is placed into an escrow account by the lender and the lender pays the contracting company directly if so requested. This leaves the home owner out of the transaction so he or she will not be responsible for the transaction itself.
An EEM is not only environmentally friendly, but pocket book friendly as well. At the same time that a home owner is saving money, energy is being conserved that could be used elsewhere. The government is in full support of the EEM and will even help finance the energy audit up to $200. This energy audit that determines the house energy rating can cost anywhere from $100 to $350, $200 being the average.
So you think your home could be more energy efficient? And that your energy bills could be much lower than what they are? Consider an Energy-Efficient Mortgage and begin taking steps to getting your home retrofitted for a new life of energy conservation and more money in the wallet. Not only that, you get to experience a more efficient and comfortable home after all the necessary improvements are complete.
About the Author: John R Blakefield is a mortgage and real estate specialist. For more information, articles, news, tools and valuable resources on home mortgages or investment loans, refinancing, debt solutions, visit this site: http://www.scourtheweb.com/mortgage/.
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