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Energy Efficient Mortgages for a Green Home
Today's article was written by: Michael Ciocca - an employee for Total Mortgage and an author for the Total Mortgage Blog
There are a lot of reasons to go green, whether you are trying to reduce your energy usage and save some money or keeping our environment clean by reducing your impact on it. Sometimes, the initial cost of switching over to a greener lifestyle can stop people from making the switch. Luckily as more people realize the benefit of going green, more programs start appearing to help them. One little known program is the Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM) which allow those looking to buy a new home or refinance install energy saving upgrades to their home.
Here are just a few upgrades that qualify:
· Alternative heating such as a pellet stove
· New windows and insulation
· New roofing technologies
· Solar Panels for both electricity and hot water heating.
In order to qualify for an EEM, you must first qualify for a regular mortgage. When shopping for a mortgage you should always talk to different lenders and see which one currently has the best mortgage rates. In Canada, the current best option to receive an EEM is through lenders themselves. Lenders programs will vary, giving you another reason to shop around.
The next step after being qualified is to have your house audited by a professional energy rater. The energy rater will prepare a report for you, summarizing how energy efficient your home currently is. In most cases the report will contain a list of suggested upgrades, making it great if you are unsure of what to upgrade. Finding an energy auditor can be tough, and you should talk to more than one to ensure you get the best possible deal. You can expect the audit to run you between 300-500 dollars. Some lenders may allow you to finance the cost of the audit into the loan.
Now that you have your audit report, it is time to speak with your loan officer again. Your loan officer will use the audit report to figure out how much extra money you are qualified to borrow. This number will vary by lender. After you are approved for the EEM, it is best to go and talk with your auditor again. The auditor will be able to tell you the best upgrades to purchase that will fit your budget.
At first, it may seem like an EEM is bad idea. After all, you are increasing your monthly mortgage payment. The major benefit from an EEM is that after you have installed your upgrades, your utility bills will be lower. In most cases this will offset the higher loan, and can actually lower how much you are paying in related bills each month. You can also look at an EEM as a long term investment. Once your mortgage is paid off, you will continue to enjoy the savings from the upgrades you installed in your house. In most cases, these upgrades will add value to your home as well, so if you ever sell it, you can ask for more.
Going green is always a good idea, and with your new knowledge of EEMs it just got easier!
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