Getting a what? Using a who? That’s exactly what I thought while I was reading an issue of Natural Home magazine I borrowed from the library. I never knew there was such a thing as a green mortgage, but I guess I did know there were real estate brokers who concentrated on green houses. So what exactly is a green mortgage?
A green mortgage is actually called an Energy-Efficient Mortgage (EEM) and have been around for over 20 years. They are designed to support the building and renovation of efficient homes. In order to qualify for such a mortgage, brokers and lenders use a service that can estimate how much a homeowner can save by building “green”, and these savings get added on to the applicant’s income on the loan application. At first glance, this looks like all it does is allow a lender to lend even more money to a family that might not actually have the money it is being judged to have, but after it is all said and done, it is really meant to allow a family to get into a “green” house that they would not have otherwise been able to afford. And the higher monthly payment is offset by the savings of “going green”, so everything evens out (or actually saves money) on a month to month basis. The loans can be used for new construction, remodeling or upgrades to your existing home. For more info on Energy Efficient Mortgages, check out this Federal Citizen Information Center website.
An Eco-Broker is a real estate broker who specializes in environmental concerns in housing. They are certified by EcoBroker International on environmental topics such as radon, lead, mold, solar and wind power, and water efficiency. Seems to me that we should go that route when we buy a house, as we are concerned about the environment. You can find an Eco Broker near you by searching EcoBroker.com
With the environment taking a front seat in everyone’s mind, I am sure these services will only be growing in the near future. I think it is a good thing, as long as it doesn’t turn into another opportunity for “greenwashing” another industry!