Getting a green mortgage
Purchasing an energy-efficient home may earn you a break on your mortgage.
The thinking: You'll save money on utility bills over time, so why not apply that
savings to mortgage costs? "Green" mortgages come in three flavors:
Discounts for energy-smart new homes. Bank of America and Citigroup offer
$1,000 off on closing costs if you buy an energy-efficient home (many new home
builders incorporate the government's Energy Star standards). JPMorgan Chase
gives some borrowers more credit and $500 off closing costs for homes with
special insulation. The State Employees Credit Union in North Carolina caps
closing costs at $350.00.
Credit for lower energy bills on old and new homes. Some lenders may
qualify buyers for higher loan amounts, factoring in long-term savings on utilities
and adding that to a buyer's qualifying income.
Help with improvements on an older home. Some lenders incorporate the
costs of energy-efficient upgrades (windows, heating/cooling systems, insulation)
into your loan amount. If improvements are not made before the loan closes, the
upgrade funds are held in escrow.
Plus, check state incentives. Go to naseo.org to find contact info for your state
energy office. Then call and ask about any low-interest loans for energy-efficient
renovations on existing homes.