Mortgage lenders try to look at the big picture, considering things like taxes and insurance when deciding how much they can loan out to homeowners and buyers. However, there's a major ongoing expense that appraisers currently don't take into account – monthly utility bills. You don't need to be an electrician to understand that the money you pay for power each month makes an impact on your budget and even affects the value of your home. A bill currently in front of Congress – the SAVE Act – would acknowledge that reality and let federal mortgage lenders make energy efficiency part of their formula.
Increasing the Value of Your Home
Essentially, the SAVE Act would make it easier to get financing for efficiency upgrades, even folding funding for it into traditional mortgages.
“This bill would require federal mortgage agencies to recognize the energy efficiency upgrades in a home during the mortgage underwriting process, thereby increasing the value of the home,” President of the Alliance to Save Energy Kateri Callahan said in a statement.
The SAVE Act claims it would bring a number of benefits in addition to loosening the drawstrings on bank financing for efficiency. Among them:
- A boost to jobs numbers: By increasing demand for electricians and HVAC technicians who can perform efficiency upgrades on homes, the act would create new jobs.
- Economic stimulation at no cost to the government: The change would make it easier for consumers to get loans, but the government wouldn't need to raise any additional revenue – a mini-stimulus plan with zero burden to taxpayers.
- Mortgage policy aligned closer to reality: Utility bills are a large part of the average household's budget, and it makes sense to include them in a mortgage valuation.
- Money in the wallets of consumers: When homeowners have more efficient homes, it means they spend less on utility bills and can use that money for other purposes like education, debt or savings.
- Decreased energy usage overall: The greener the nation's homes become, the less energy we need to produce to provide electricity and heat to them. That means a cleaner environment and less dependence on foreign energy sources.
A Diverse Group of Supporters
The SAVE Act was first introduced in 2013. Although Congress has yet to vote on the measure, it has lined up a diverse group of supporters who aren't typically on the same side of major issues, from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers to the Alliance to Save Energy, the National Resources Defense Council, the U.S. Green Building Council and others.
In the meantime, there are a number of steps you can take around your home today to cut down on your utility bills. If you need any help installing efficient appliances or upgrading your home electric system, contact an expert electrician today.