Financing Your Home
Mortgage rates continue to be near record lows and low home prices make this a buyers market. If you are looking for a home now is the time to buy. The first step is to figure out how much you can afford. You can use the mortgage calculator below to get you started but before you run out and look for your dream home it is best to talk with a mortgage broker.
One word of advice, online companies may offer good looking rates but closings can be complex and personal service is important to making your transaction a smooth one.
If you are looking for a broker, give Jim Franco at Welcome Home Finance a call at 724-772-3333. They can do a quick pre-approval and get you ready to start your search. You can find them online at http://www.welcomehomefinance.com.
Green Financing, Incentives, Credits and Rebates
Energy Efficient Mortgages
One of the most beneficial and under-utilized programs the consumer can find and capitalize upon in today's real estate market. An Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM) is a mortgage that credits a home’s energy efficiency in the mortgage itself. EEMs give borrowers the opportunity to finance cost-effective, energy-saving measures as part of a single mortgage and stretch debt-to-income qualifying ratios on loans thereby allowing borrowers to qualify for a larger loan amount and a better, more energy-efficient home. Read More>>
The people at myEnergyLoan offer the most established green loan program in America. In addition to being experts in EEMs, they offer a credit of up to 1% of closing costs as a reward for buyers who improve the energy efficiency of their homes.
Loans and Credits For Improvements
Estimates show that every dollar you reduce your energy bills will reap $20 in home value. There has never been a better time to upgrade. Incentives and tax credits are available from the federal government, PA Home Energy and Keystone Help Program.
The best way to get started is with a comprehensive whole-house energy performance audit performed by a certified energy rater. These professionals review your energy usage, perform tests on your home and produce a report that itemizes areas for improvement and estimated savings from those upgrades. It is the best way to make sure that you get the biggest bang for your buck when investing in energy improvements.
Even better, should you decide to sell, if you had a rating performed on your home and made the suggested energy improvements your home can be marketed as a energy-efficient home.
Keystone HELP Energy Efficiency Loan & Rebate Program
The Keystone HELP Energy Efficiency Loan & Rebate Program is designed to help homeowners improve energy efficiency with special financing and rebates for high-efficiency heating, air conditioning, insulation, windows, doors, geothermal and “whole house” improvements. Principally supported by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the Pennsylvania Treasury Department and the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, the Keystone HELP program is administered by AFC First Financial Corporation, a Pennsylvania energy efficiency lender. Read More>>
Residential Energy Efficiency Tax Credit
The credit applies to energy efficiency improvements in the building envelope of existing homes and for the purchase of high-efficiency heating, cooling and water-heating equipment. Efficiency improvements or equipment must serve a dwelling in the United States that is owned and used by the taxpayer as a primary residence. The maximum amount of homeowner credit for all improvements combined is $1,500 for equipment purchased during the two-year period of 2009 and 2010. A nice bonus for homebuyers is that the tax credit can be taken on the same upgrades that were paid for through the EEM. Read More>>
Energy-Efficient New Homes Tax Credit for Home Builders
Site-built homes qualify for a $2,000 credit if they are certified to reduce heating and cooling energy consumption by 50% relative to the International Energy Conservation Code standard and meet minimum efficiency standards established by the Department of Energy. Manufactured homes qualify for a $1,000 credit if they conform to Federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards and reduce energy consumption by 30% relative to the International Energy Conservation Code standard. In this case, building envelope component improvements must account for at least one-third of the reduction in energy consumption. Alternatively, manufactured homes qualify if they meet Energy Star Labeled Homes requirements. Read More>>
PA Home Energy (West Penn Power) - Home Efficiency Incentives for Existing Homes
PA Home Energy provides a modest financial incentive to the Pennsylvania residents whose electric service is provided by Allegheny Power. These financial incentives range from $200 to $1,000. The amount of the incentive is determined by the amount of energy saved during the home energy improvement. Your service provider will have computer software that will be used to determine the amount of the incentive after the home improvements are completed. Read More>>
Pennsylvania Sunshine Solar Rebate Program
The Pennsylvania Sunshine program offers rebates to residential and small commercial residents that install photovoltaic (PV) and solar thermal. It was authorized in July 2008 by the state legislature and began accepting applications in May 2009 under the administration of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Only systems installed after the date of program opening are eligible for rebates. A total of $100 million (funded through state bonds) is available for rebates over the lifetime of the program. The DEP expects the program to last a total of three to four years. Read More>>