Published on April 30th, 2012 | by Guest Contributor0
Green Mortgages: Save Money and The Environment
You may have considered going green as good for the environment, but it can also have a huge positive impact on your finances. If you’ve never drawn a direct comparison between eco-friendly home improvements and better mortgage rates, now is the time to do so.
The Benefits of a Green Mortgage
The overall largest benefit of a green mortgage is that it provides the homeowner with financial opportunities that he or she might not be able to afford otherwise. Most green mortgages offer financial incentives for purchasing homes that cost less to heat and/or provide the homeowner with money to make green improvements. Specifically, improvements or installations made to save costs on energy could increase the amount that a buyer is able to offer by the roughly the same amount of money. And the financial perks could apply even if you’re not on the market for a new home; many current homeowners can qualify for a green mortgage after making energy-efficient improvements to their existing home.
How Does a Green Mortgage Help?
The types of financial rewards vary, but there are two popular examples. If this is your first time buying a home, you could receive help from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation in the form of a ten-percent reduction on your mortgage insurance. The Royal Bank of Canada will help you pay for your home energy audit with a $300 check; under their energy-saver mortgage plan, you can also refinance your home after making green improvements.
But the benefits of going green at home extend far beyond these deals. You could actually sell your home (or refinance it if you’re not quite ready for an upgrade) for a much higher listing price with energy-efficient changes. This is because a home that costs less to maintain energy-wise is considered prime real estate, especially with the prices of electricity and gas skyrocketing.
How to qualify for an Energy-Efficient Mortgage
If you’re interested in getting one of the best mortgage rates, you may be asking yourself how you can qualify for a green mortgage. To start, you’ll have to get an official energy rating for the home that you wish to purchase (or for your own home if you’re hoping to get an energy improvement mortgage). There are some specific features or improvements that you should look for to make sure that you get the rating that you want.
You should first make sure to purchase or upgrade to energy-efficient appliances. Large energy drainers such as the refrigerator, the oven, the dishwasher, the washing machine, and the dryer make up a significant portion of any household power bill. By searching for Energy Star appliances and becoming conscious of how much electricity each one of these uses, you can cut down on your annual energy bill by as much as $600 and make your home eco-friendly.
You can also save money with smaller, less expensive changes. Each Energy Star window that you install can cut your heating costs by nearly $100 a year. You can save almost double as much by using a programmable thermostat. Keep an eye on that brand new high-definition flat screen television and its accompanying DVR, as well. The gadgets that you use for everyday entertainment can use electricity even when they’re switched off, so one entertainment room in the home is better than having a television in every room.
Once you’ve gone through the process of getting a green mortgage, you can be glad that you’ve done something great for both your finances and the environment. You stand to benefit from these green improvements for a lifetime, so the sooner you get started, the more you have to gain.