Sustainability on Loan

2014-01-04T12:59:00Z Sustainability on LoanAlexandra Gallucci nwitimes.com
January 04, 2014 12:59 pm  • 

Standardizing the value of “green” home updates can help buyers and sellers

While growing numbers of homeowners are saving money on energy bills by making “green” updates to their homes, getting a lender or appraiser to realize the value of those updates may not be as straightforward.

But, getting proper valuation on sustainable home features may be the norm rather than the exception in as few as three years, says Teresa Lopez, a licensed mortgage banker in Austin, Texas.

Lopez is leading a national initiative with her company, Green Energy Money, to make green mortgages an industry standard.

The idea is that an energy efficient house can save money for a homeowner, which makes the home more affordable over time.

Green Energy Money, partnering with Security National Mortgage Company, recognizes that this changes the financial picture for potential homebuyers. They work to properly appraise sustainable real estate and offer competitive financing in more than 40 states, Lopez says.

They also offer appraisal platforms and training programs for appraisers and loan officers, so that one day the method to evaluate property value for energy efficient homes will be standardized throughout the real estate market.

This will be a boon to both homebuyers looking for loans or sellers who want a strong return on investment for their green updates, Lopez says.

Valuations with Security National are now able to recognize at least 70 percent (and in some cases as much as 100 percent) of the value of energy-efficient upgrades, depending on the. This is compared to the meager industry average of .001 to 1 percent, according to Lopez.

Those with renewable energy sources in the home, such as geothermal and solar, can finance homes with zero utility usage bills. In some cases, owners are receiving money back from their utility companies, when they produce more energy than they use.

And, according to Lopez, “this is something that is fundamentally viable for the entire market.”

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