Green Energy Money’s Free Report for existing home retrofits is a great free tool available to homeowners that help them determine estimated building upgrade improvement costs and the potential return on investment upfront. You can even get pre-qualified for financing before scheduling any builder or contractor appointments. It takes about 3-5 minutes to complete GEM’s free report.
The Free Report does not replace a contractor bid but offers a quick tool to gage estimated costs so you can budget and obtain financing approval. Most folks often reverse this process and obtain builder bids, contracts, budgets, and inspections first. This can be problematic if there are loan qualification or appraisal issues that could have been mitigated earlier in the process.
Once an estimated budget has been determined, owners can be pre-qualified for a loan amount and loan program that fits their project and financial plan. The loan criteria can vary depending on:
- Current interest rates
- Cost of the upgrades – budget
- Qualifying – credit, income, assets and loan-to-value ratios (programs vary)
- Reduction in utility bills and energy costs (energy savings can offset loan payments)
The average deep energy retrofit costs depend on the property’s current condition, square footage, regional climate and labor costs, type of equipment and building upgrades and other factors. Average prices for deep retrofits in the US range from $2 – $20 per square foot, depending on the level of efficiency, and factors mentioned above.
The biggest bang for the buck appears to be a hybrid approach of adding more conditioned space (especially if your property is smaller than comparable properties in the neighborhood) and retrofitting the building envelope at the same time.
If costs and qualifying for financing is an issue, it might make sense to create a plan to stage your property upgrades. The downside to this strategy is:
- It can be a hassle to go through the construction process multiple times;
- Building, utility costs, and interest rates are going to go up;
- Closing costs on multiple transactions;
- If installing solar, Federal Tax Credits are set to expire and might not be available after 2019
View the chart below that reflects the various stages of greening up a property.
Neighborhood Retrofit Program Opportunity
Existing housing markets and communities can choose to bundle retrofit packages with their neighbors to reduce the costs of upgrades. By purchasing multiple systems upgrades together, homeowners can achieve greater cost benefits that they wouldn’t realize individually.
The Neighborhood Retrofit model represents a good economic opportunity for communities to achieve a meaningful return on investment. Older homes in high-energy consumption neighborhoods could reap even greater financial benefits than most people realize. Neighborhoods could be positioning themselves as a green, community even if the houses are 20-50 years old! So why don’t more homeowners and communities engage?
The main reasons most people don’t engage in retrofitting their home are:
- they don’t think they can afford it – don’t know how to analyze the cost benefits
- they don’t believe it actually works – proven case studies still aren’t recognized, perceived risk is still prevalent
- they don’t know how or where to start; managing the process seems overwhelming
The GEM Beta Green Appraisal program conducted in 2014-2016, included deep retrofits and tear-downs of existing buildings. These homes realized at least a 50 percent reduction in energy costs; improved their incremental property value on green upgrades by at least an 8 percent increase. The Beta documented the potential of scaling green communities in otherwise, depreciating neighborhoods.
GEM is advancing a streamlined, retrofit loan and project package to facilitate neighborhoods and communities in greening up in several regions. The first launch will be in Austin, TX. The higher performance of the buildings helps position the homeowners and their communities with a viable economic option to increase their value, reduce potential deferred maintenance costs and brown discounts on appraisals.
It all starts with the GEM Free Report toolbox for homeowners. Contact us today to find out more about our neighborhood retrofit program.