When your pocketbook determines you can’t afford a new, energy-efficient home, you can still satisfy your preferences by upgrading an older house. Try these options for improving energy efficiency in your home.
Apply for the FHA’s Energy-Efficient Mortgage program. With an EEM, you can finance an already energy-efficient home or use funds for certified home improvements that promote responsible energy use. Contact your lender to see if your state participates in this federal program.
Ask your utility provider for an energy audit. Most utilities offer this as a free service to customers. They’ll check for leakage around doors and windows, outlets and vent pipes and make suggestions for improvement, repair or replacement.
Have your home inspector check your attic spaces. You'll gain knowledge about how deep your insulation should be to keep your house warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
Hire an HVAC professional to inspect your furnace and air conditioning, ductwork, and airflow. If your ducts need cleaning, employ a service to handle that. Not only will you have improved circulation, but you'll also reduce allergens, and lower your energy costs.
Trade out traditional toilets for low-flow models. Add aerators and flow restrictors to faucets and showerheads to reduce water consumption.
Install solar-operated power vents to your attic to expel heat in the summer. Consider a solar-powered water heater too. And, if your roof can handle it, install solar panels to boost your electrical power. Many states offer rebates for solar panel installation, so check to see what’s available in your area.
Install a programmable thermostat to help you conserve energy when you are away from home.
If you have a larger improvement budget, consider big-ticket items such as a geothermal heat pump, a residential wind turbine, or a fuel cell. You’ll find that on-going tax credits for these items can save you money over the years. If your municipal codes allow it, add a roof garden or mini-ecosystem to cover your existing roof. These systems retain moisture and insulate your home from heat or cold.
Your property specialist can help you determine which homes lend themselves to these upgrades. They'll introduce you to mortgage lenders that specialize in energy-efficient loan products.
95 East Pleasant St, Amherst, MA 01002
95 East Pleasant St, Amherst, MA 01002
Real estate closings could be quite simple at one end of the spectrum or very difficult at the other end. In most cases, you will need to understand the legal ramifications of signing several documents, including the note, mortgage, transfer of title, mineral rights, title insurance and tax documents. If your closing is complicated, you should always have an attorney present.
It is very rare to have a simple closing, but it could happen. If you are buying raw land for cash, the closing is usually quite simple for the buyer and seller. You don’t need a mortgage, but you will need title insurance for yourself. You’ll also need a deed. The seller will need to sign the requisite tax documents.
Another simple closing is when you purchase a manufactured or modular home and put it on land that you already own. The closing, even with a mortgage, is easy and between the buyer and home manufacturer. However, if you need a construction loan while the home is being built and/or set up, the closing becomes more complicated since you must close twice. The first closing is the construction loan on the money you borrow for the home. The second loan is the loan that covers the finished product. Closing with a builder of a home that is built on-site is more complicated than closing on a manufactured or modular home.
Closings Gone Wrong
While no one wants to have a closing go wrong, it does happen. Your lawyer might find mistakes in documents, including the loan estimate. You might find that the seller did not disclose pertinent information about the home – information that would have prevented you from making an offer on a home and could be cause to break the contract without prejudice. It is always better to have a real estate lawyer review the documents prior to closing and at the closing to ensure that your best interests are met.
List of Closing Documents
At the closing, you will have to review and sign most of these documents:
Closing disclosure that dictates the terms of your loan and the closing costs you will pay.
Your loan application. You must sign a new copy of the application you submitted to the mortgage company, so be sure to review it and make sure everything is correct.
The mortgage note that binds you to repay the loan should have the amount you borrowed, the interest rate, payment date, the amount you will pay over the life of the loan, the length of the loan and other information.
The mortgage or deed of trust is what provides security for the loan. When you sign this document, you are putting your house up as collateral. If you bought land separately, the lender might also use the land as collateral.
The title and/or deed to your home. The deed is proof of ownership.
Affidavits, depending on your situation.
Escrow disclosure that tells you how much of your payment goes to escrow and what the escrow is used for. It is usually for county taxes and homeowner’s insurance.
Property transfer tax documents.
When scheduling your closing, even if your real estate agent is using a closing agent, consider having your own attorney present. It could save you a lot of headaches and heartache if the lawyer catches something amiss with the closing.