It may seem like deja-vu, and if it seems like you’ve heard this conversation before, you’re not mistaken. A former bill that died back in 2011 has been reintroduced in the Senate and could encourage energy-efficient home improvements among homeowners. The bill would establish mortgage underwriting guidelines that factor in cost savings when homeowners incorporate energy-efficient building materials, appliances, and more.
Sponsored by Senators Michael Bennet (D-Colorado) and Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia), S. 1106 has already started receiving support from a number of real estate industry groups who feel strongly about the benefits. The new version of the bill has been referred to the Senate Banking Committee, who will decide if it should be passed into law.
The reintroduction of the bill comes at an interesting time. As the real estate market continues to make strides toward a recovery, many universities have been researching various angles concerning stability and default. The University of South Carolina Center for Community Capital recently produced a study that indicates that borrowers with energy-efficient homes are much less likely to default than their counterparts.
The new bill would most certainly help homeowners who have invested their money into energy-saving upgrades. At present, many have trouble getting fair market value with their homes because buyers, appraisers and lenders don’t factor in the cost of these eco-friendly improvements. One of the primary features of the new bill includes an affordability test and a loan-to-value adjustment, both of which would be optional.
Installing green features has become a popular way for homeowners to shave money off their monthly bills while also being a better friend to the environment. Today, over 200 MLS services provide “green fields” where real estate agents can list a home’s “green” features and show them off to interested buyers.