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How and Where to Get Financing for Home Energy Efficiency Upgrades

How and Where to Get Financing for Home Energy Efficiency Upgrades

Ever heard of an EEM (energy efficiency mortgage) loan? Making your home more energy efficient may reduce your utility bills for the long term, but paying for the upgrades upfront can be a challenge. EEM’s can be one source.

Another potential source of funds is a traditional HELOC (home equity line of credit). Check with your bank, credit union or mortgage servicer for details and rates.

There are a number of financial institutions with programs specifically designed for financing energy efficiency upgrades. These are often called EEM loans (Energy Efficiency Mortgages).

Homeowners can take advantage of EEM’s to either finance energy efficient improvements to existing homes, including renewable energy technologies, or to increase their home-buying power when purchasing a new energy efficient home.

Puget Sound Cooperative Credit Union, Craft 3, and Umpqua Bank are just three financial institutions you can check out for EEM’s and similar loan programs.

If you’d like ideas and information about the variety of energy efficiency projects you might want to take on, consider attending The Northwest Green Home Tour on Sunday, April 28th and 29th. This is a multi-location event and free tickets are available (though a $10 donation is suggested). For a location map and more detailed information, go to:

Remodel or sell?

Remodel or sell?

You’re probably aware that we are smack dab in the middle of a strong sellers’ market, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good time for you to sell.

If you’ve concluded that it’s best for you to stay put right now, despite the high prices that many homes are commanding, you may be interested in doing some remodeling. If so, the next question is what project to tackle first? Perhaps you want to find a happy medium between making improvements that will increase your home value and those that will increase your home enjoyment.

Remodeling Magazine conducts an annual survey of home remodeling costs, and shares the results in their Cost Vs. Value report, which is available online for free download. To take advantage of this valuable info, go to and click the “COST vs VALUE” tab at the top of the page.

You may be surprised to hear that projects involving replacement are generally less expensive and more apt to recoup their cost than remodeling projects. These smaller jobs are most impactful when they involve exterior features because first impressions are extremely powerful. For this reason, the top projects (nationally) with the best record for recouping their costs are:

1) Entry door replacement (101.8%)

2) Manufactured stone veneer (92.2%)

3) Garage door replacement (88.5% – 82.5%)

4) Siding replacement, fiber cement (84.3%)

Read the report for more specific information about the Seattle area and low, moderate, and high end price tiers.

Posted November 4, 2015

What’s trending in home improvements in 2015?

What’s trending in home improvements in 2015?

One of the fun parts of my job as a real estate broker is touring homes that are new on the market and seeing home improvement trends as they emerge and wane.

When it comes to spending money on home improvements I always encourage homeowners to try to imagine where they see themselves living in 10 years. If you have no intention of moving, then spend your remodeling dollars on features you will enjoy, regardless of whether or not they add resale value. If you anticipate a move in the next one to five years, use that money on the projects most likely to recoup your investment.

Here are six home improvements that currently rank high with buyers.

  1. Quartz countertops are overtaking granite countertops in popularity.
  2. “Smart Home” automation technology integrates home electrical devices.
  3. Stainless steel appliances. Apparently, they are here to stay.
  4. Backyard fire pits. Who doesn’t love the idea of making S’mores at home?
  5. Outdoor kitchens create great opportunities for outdoor entertaining.
  6. Free-standing tubs are replacing combination shower/tubs when space allows.

Generally speaking, bathrooms and kitchens are the rooms that give you the biggest bang for your remodeling buck.

Want to know more about how various home improvement projects stack up in terms of resale value? Check out Remodeling Magazine’s annual Cost vs. Value report. Download it for free at

Posted 3/7/15