On Becoming a Green Homeowner: Energy Efficient Mortgages

UPDATE: Congratulations, Maureen!  You were chosen as the winner of the $25 Tastebuds Giveaway! (chosen by random.org)  Have a great time there, and if you order the pork tacos, think of me!


Here’s something that I hope will not be true 5 years from now:

A home with granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances will almost always sell for more money than one with really good insulation and a tankless hot water heater.  The market shows us where out priorities are- and for the most part, our priority is granite counters rather than lowering energy consumption.  I hope that some day in the not-so-distant future, we will re-order those priorities.



Want to be burdened with an unfortunate sense of responsibility?
 When you buy a home, you are voting for what will be a priority in tomorrow’s real estate market.  Willing to pay more for the home with granite counters and cherry cabinets instead of the one with the tankless hot water heater and green building materials?  You just cast your vote in a market that listens to consumers very well- as all markets do.

A lot of us find ourselves in this position; we’d like to make our home more energy efficient, but it is beyond our budget.  2 things: First, when I owned a home in Philadelphia, I had a $450 heating bill one January- and I kept the thermostat at 60.  I’m sure most people can relate.  The point being, rising energy prices mean investing in energy efficient upgrades for you home can actually make a lot of sense financially.

Second, creating a green home might be easier than you think…

Green Mortgages

If you are looking at buying a home and have environmental responsibility in mind (or if you’re just tired of spending more than you need to on utilities), a Green Mortgage might make it possible.

There are 2 basic types of Green Mortgages:

An Energy Efficient Mortgage can be used to finance the construction of a new house that meets green building standards.

An Energy Improvement Mortgage can be used to make energy efficiency improvements on an old house- replacing old windows, installing insulation, energy efficient heating/cooling systems and/or appliances.

How does it work?

If you are considering buying a home that needs energy efficiency upgrades, tell your mortgage lender that you want to learn more about an energy improvement mortgage.

An energy rater will come to the house to make suggestions for how to get the most bang for your energy efficiency buck.  Then the cost of making those upgrades is added to the purchase price of the house, BUT, you don’t have to qualify for the additional cost of the upgrades.

Want to learn more?  Here are a couple helpful sites:

This one has more info on Green Mortgages

This one has some insight into the rise of Green Houses in the Real Estate market

This one has some ideas of Green Upgrades for your house


And of course, helping people buy homes is my job.  Have a question about Green Mortgages or other things Real Estate?  Get in touch with me.


Jay McGee used to live in Southeast Asia, doing language research and literacy development. Now he’s a Real Estate Agent with Compass Realty. He gives a microloan to somebody in a developing country every time someone in Richmond buys or sells their home with him.  Learn why here.
Contact: jaymcgee.kw@gmail.com


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