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Bringing Energy-Efficient Mortgages To Valley Homeowners

Mortgage and auditing firms are teaming up to help green homeowners cut costs

Buying a home can come with many unexpected and obstructive costs. REEIS is partnering with mortgage companies to help homebuyers curtail costs and go green.

By teaming up with W.J. Bradley and Wells Fargo, REEIS, an energy efficiency auditing firm, offers free energy audits to homebuyers who are interested in energy-efficient mortgages.

What does an EEM do for a homebuyer?

    An energy-efficient mortgage (EEM) allows homebuyers to:

  • Qualify for a higher loan by taking into account the savings of an energy-efficient home
  • Receive up to $8,000 to put toward energy-efficient improvements after the close of escrow
  • Combine the total amount of energy-efficient upgrades with the loan to create one payment

Previously, homebuyers would be forced to shell out around $500 for an energy efficiency audit before they would qualify for an energy-efficient mortgage (EEM). This up-front cost “stops the process right there,” says Todd Russo, president of REEIS.

Lenders found it difficult to ask their clients to spend more money without the guarantee of an EEM, Russo says. Now W.J. Bradley and Wells Fargo clients can receive an energy efficiency audit for free.

REEIS’ audit produces two options for the homebuyer to choose from. The two options feature improvements that can be done to the house, each at a different price point.

“Ninety-five percent of people move forward with one of the two packages,” Russo says.

Not only will an EEM create a greener home by making it energy efficient from the start, it will also help the already strapped-for-cash homebuyer save money.

“When factoring all the costs of home ownership, the customer will pay less every month from the day one, in most cases,” Russo says.

REEIS also facilitates tax credits and utility rebates for the average homebuyer that total between $1,250 and $3,000 within two to three months of close.

Although REEIS’ service is only a few months old, Russo says it is going well. In one week, REEIS completed four energy audits with Wells Fargo, which has initiated a nationwide push to offer more EEMs to clients.

In addition to providing this service, REEIS and Russo want to spread the word about EEMs. Russo says everyone who knows about EEMs wants to offer them, which is why REEIS and Russo are trying to “educate the industry – realtors, lenders and homebuyers – that the conventional way of doing things is not the only option,” Russo says.

REEIS’ commitment to EEMs is the main reason why W.J. Bradley teamed up with the company, says Mike Tompkins, team manager and mortgage banker with W.J. Bradley.

Tompkins and Russo met at a mixer and decided that their shared excitement about EEMs would create a solid partnership.

“It amazes me that [the EEM program is] so under-utilized,” Tompkins says. “We need a vehicle, it seems like, to help us get it out to the public.”

This urge for awareness is the foundation of REEIS and W.J. Bradley’s team.

“I see [REEIS’] commitment in wanting to get the word out,” which is why the companies will be partners for some time to come, Tompkins says.

Along with its partnership with REEIS, W.J. Bradley has created flyers, hosts seminars and speaks with real estate agents daily about EEMs.

The service REEIS, W.J. Bradley and Wells Fargo provide is a “turn-key solution” to the lack of information and knowledge about EEMs, Russo says.

AZ Green SceneHomebuyer should “ask questions. Look into it a little deeper,” Russo says. It would be a “shame” for homebuyers to not take advantage of an EEM because they didn’t know it existed, he adds.