By Laura Stukel
Whether you represent the homebuyer or a seller, we all know to save the celebrating for after the home inspection.
Inspections can be especially tricky in today’s market because most sellers are getting less out of the sale than they expected. And today’s loans reward the highest down payment. So often neither buyer or seller has extra cash on hand to deal with issues that might come out of a home inspection.
In fact, a recent client of mine was in such a situation. She was purchasing a short sale condo and putting every penny towards a 20 percent down payment to earn the best mortgage rates. The home inspection confirmed what we had feared – the furnace and AC were at the end of their useful life. We also learned that the water heater was getting older and was oddly configured, so maintaining the furnace was very cumbersome.
My buyer loved the property, but was ready to walk.
That’s when I realized a special program called Energy Impact Illinois offered just the solution she needed. Phew! Contract stayed on track (alas, this contract never closed due to issues with the short sale). Their low interest loans help homeowners make energy efficiency improvements. More details are available in Chicago Agent‘s lending issue.
In my experience, at least 50 percent of serious home inspection issues involve something that can be replaced with Energy Star products just like my client faced. (Full disclosure – I do some consulting work for CNT Energy, the non-profit involved in managing the Energy Impact Illinois program.)
Sure enough, we learned that not only could she apply for a loan after closing to replace heating and AC, but the local utility was offering extra rebates for doing just that. A tankless water heater would improve the utility room set-up and would also qualify. She’d start benefiting from the energy savings right away, but use the financing period to pay for the improvements over time!
If you are facing a similar situation on a listing or a sale, check out Energy Impact Illinois to see if their programs can be your own “get out of jail free” card! Between now and the spring season of 2013, clients can qualify for an extra $1750 in rebates if you add insulation and sealing of drafts and air leaks.
Home sellers interested in the program can get the work certified so it can be promoted using special fields in MRED’s ConnectMLS. Homebuyers can benefit by making the home just the way they prefer after closing!
Laura Stukel is a Realtor with L.W. Reedy Real Estate in Elmhurst. She can be reached at:
L.W. Reedy Real Estate
101 North York Road
Elmhurst, IL 60126