California Real Estate Inspection Association (CREIA) requires Background Checks

Home buyers are responsible for any service providers including termite, home inspectors or contractors carry liability insurance.   Buyers & agents should be mindful of potential property damage, theft or injury when scheduling service providers during the home inspection process.

Starting in 2019, CREIA required all home inspectors pass a certified background check.  Background checks include criminal national  & county search, drug screening and SSN verification.   CREIA now includes a certified background check credentials for every home inspector. Background checks will be verified every two years.

CREIA took this initiative to emphasize our role in leadership, health & safety towards home ownership.  This assures home buyers and realtors the safety and integrity during the home buying process. 

When selecting a home inspector, inquire the following:

  • Credentials, Associations
  • Experience (years, # inspections)
  • References
  • View sample reports
  • Insurance, bonded
  • Background check

For more information on CREIA Approved Background Check, please visit : CREIA Background Check

Veteran’s Day Deals – Nov 11th 2019 – San Diego


Applebee’s – Veterans and active-duty military receive a free meal from a limited menu on Nov. 11, according to

California Pizza Kitchen – California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) salutes our nation’s armed forces by offering them a complimentary entrée from CPK’s special Veterans Day menu at all participating CPK locations nationwide. Participating guests will also receive a card to redeem a BOGO offer on pizza, pasta, or salad during a return visit Nov. 12-18.

Chili’s – Chili’s will offer a free meal to veterans from a special menu on Nov. 11.

Chipotle – Chipotle is offering buy-one-get-one (BOGO) for all active duty military, reserves, national guard, military spouses and retired military with valid ID, at all restaurants in the U.S. from open to close on Veterans Day. The offer is valid on burritos, bowls, salads and taco orders. To find a location near you click here.

Denny’s – On Nov. 12, America’s Diner is offering free build your own Grand Slams for dine-in guests only from 5 a.m. to noon at participating restaurants. Call the location near you to make sure they are participating in this offer. 

Dunkin’ Donuts – America’s favorite Coffee shop is offering a free donut at participating locations, no purchase necessary. It is limited one per customer and open to veterans and active duty military personnel.

Fogo De Chão  – Fogo De Chão is thanking veterans by offering them 50 percent off their meal starting on Nov. 9. In addition, up to three of their guests can also receive 10 percent off their meal. Don’t forget to make reservations at their locations.  

Golden Corral – On Monday, Nov. 11, 2019, from 5 to 9 p.m., Golden Corral offers a free sit-in thank you dinner for military veterans, retirees and active-duty members.

Hooters:  With a purchase of a beverage, veterans and active-duty military with military ID or proof of service can enjoy a free entrée from the special Hooters Veterans Day menu that includes the 10-Piece Traditional Wings, 10-Piece Smoked Wings, 10-Piece Boneless Wings, Hooters Burger, Buffalo Chicken Salad and Buffalo Chicken Sandwich.

IHOP:  Active duty and veterans will get free pancakes.

Little Caesars  – The third-largest pizza chain, Little Caesars is giving away free $5 Hot-N-Ready Lunch combos from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The meal includes four slices of DEEP!DEEP! Dish pepperoni pizza and a 20-ounce fountain drink. Only available at participating locations.

Olive Garden – Veterans and active-duty military can enjoy a free entrée from a special menu at participating locations.

On the Border – Military personnel with a valid military ID can get a free combo when they dine-in.

Red Lobster – The chain is offering a free appetizer or dessert to active duty military and reservists with a valid military ID on Nov. 11.

Red Robin – Veterans and active-duty military are invited to grab a free Tavern Double Burger with Bottomless Steak Fries Monday, Nov. 11, 2019.

Rubio’s Coastal Grill – On Nov. 11, 2019, Rubio’s Coastal Grill invites military and veterans to enjoy one free adult entree with the purchase of another adult entree.

Smoothie King  – Military members can enjoy a free 20 oz. smoothie of their choice with proof of military ID.

Starbucks – The coffee chain will offer a free tall coffee to active duty military and veterans.

TCBY – Veterans and active military personnel with military ID or proof of service get their first 6 ounces of frozen yogurt for free.

Stores and Services

AMC – AMC Theatres is offering military members a free large popcorn to enjoy with their movie on Veterans Day weekend. The offer is available to active duty service members and veterans who purchase a military priced ticket using their AMC Stubs membership from Friday, November 8, to Monday, November 11.

Amtrak – According to the VA, veterans receive a 10 percent discount on the lowest available rail fare on most Amtrak trains.

Everyday California – For Veterans Day, La Jolla-based Everyday California is offering 15% off lessons, tours, and rentals, including kayak tours, SUP and surfing lessons, and gear for snorkling.

Goodyear – Goodyear Auto Service and Just Tire locations nationwide will offer military members free car care checks and free tire installation from Nov. 8 through the 16.

Great Clips – On Nov. 11, veterans and military members can visit Great Clips to either get a free haircut or a free haircut card to use at a later date. Non-military customers can purchase a service on Veterans Day and get a free haircut card to give to a veteran. The cards are redeemable until Dec. 31.

Home Depot – According to Military Benefits, the home improvement store will offer a 10 percent discount on Veterans Day. The store also offers the discount on Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day.

Hotel del Coronado The iconic Hotel del Coronado is offering military a last-minute deal for a stay at their resort. Guests can book a resort view room for $169 per night and a partial ocean view room for $229 per night when they use the code BRAVE. Stays must be booked from Nov. 7 to Dec. 21, and blackout dates apply. 

Kohl’s – This year, the store launched Military Mondays – a 15 percent discount for active-duty military and veterans. Also, Thursday, Nov. 7, through Monday, Nov. 11, Kohl’s is doubling its Military Monday discount.

Sea World Through their Waves of Honor program, military personnel and up to three direct dependents may enjoy one complimentary admission per year to SeaWorld® in San Diego. Offer is available online and for visitation through December 31, 2019.  This offer extends to any U.S. active-duty military member, activated or drilling reservist, or National Guardsman. Service members and their direct dependents will need to present a valid active military ID to participate.

State Parks – On Nov. 11, 2019, 144 State Parks will be free for veterans, active duty and reserve military. Click here for the full list.

Soapy Joe’s – Soapy Joe’s will provide all active duty military and veterans with free Magic Potion car washes ($20 value) at all 11 Soapy Joe’s locations in San Diego. Fill out an online form to receive the free car wash deal by email. Also, from Nov.4-11, Soapy Joe’s will provide the public with exclusive camouflage themed car fresheners.   

 Closures on Veterans Day

Government offices in the city, state and the federal level will be closed Monday in observance of the Veterans Day holiday.

City of San Diego – all administrative offices, libraries, recreation centers and city pools will be closed. Tecolote Nature Center will also be closed.

City-run facilities that will remain open Monday include Miramar Landfill, Chollas Vicente Reservoir, golf courses, Mission Trails Park and all skate parks.

County offices, libraries and animal shelters will also be closed Monday. Essential services, including sheriff’s and emergency animal control services, will be opened and staffed.

The city of Vista offices will remain open and operating under normal hours.

All County parks and campgrounds will remain open during normal business hours, except for Lakeside Community Center, Fallbrook Community Center and Spring Valley Community Center. The 4S Ranch recreation center office will be closed but the park will remain open.

Parking meters, parking restrictions and yellow zones won’t be enforced. 

Transit – Metropolitan Transit System and North County Transit System buses, trains and trolleys will operate on a normal weekday schedule.


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Comfort Issues? Don’t hire an HVAC contractor…..yet

As a certified energy assessor, I take calls weekly from homeowners inquiring about energy efficiency(EE) assessments.  They mostly fall around two issues:  comfort and high utility bills.  I always ask: “When the house was built?”  and “What area of the County?”  I can usually advise what type of energy assessment to recommend.

The problem with homes with poor energy efficiency can be compounded if you have comfort issues or high utility bills, you’re likely to contact an HVAC or Solar contractor. The result can be higher purchase costs and highly monthly utility bills. It’s a “Double Whammy“.

We Can Help – Energy Assessment

A certified energy assessment is a comprehensive whole-house evaluation that provides an independent, objective analysis.  No hidden aggressive sales agendas.  HVACs can only offer higher capacity systems to offset not having insulation in walls.  Not only do you have a higher purchase costs, your monthly utility bills will skyrocket during peak heat seasons.  Similar is true with solar.  Poor EE homes have to offset heat gain by running ACs longer.  They sell more panels to offset the higher utility bills.  We’ve completed assessments that reduces electrical load by 40%.  That means 40% less panels.

The more timely occurrence, is implementation of Time-Of-Use (TOU) rates with all Calif. energy utility companies.  Despite all the marketing , this is a rate increase and potentially significant.  Your daily rate will change up to 4 times a day.  Rates will scale to .53 cents kWh during peak times.   Homeowners are strongly encouraged to curtail usage during these periods or be penalized with forthcoming utility bills.

Energy Assessments are affordable that takes a whole house evaluation all major building components including the building shell, heating/cooling and major appliances.  The assessment includes a cost-effective ranking of recommendations.  We don’t offer any of these recommendations directly.

October Promotion – $50 off Energy Assessment

Rates for an energy assessment start at $250.00 for a ranch style home less than 1,500 sq ft.  We have a coupon for $50 available this month.

Lets get Started – Free Phone Consultation

We need to understand your issues, needs and goals. We have a full portfolio of assessments and reports. A brief call may point you in the right direction.   Contact us at (619) 295-9455.

Home Inspection Chronicles

Roof Inspection – This was a bad idea.  Asphalt shingle installed on a gravel roof.  Impossible to secure the 2nd asphalt shingle layer.  This condition will void manufacturer’s warranty and accelerate deterioration.  New roof will require removal of both layers.  Home Inspection request further evaluation by a licensed roofing contractor.

Why Energy Efficiency?

Buying a home, can be overwhelming. Everything is important. You depend on your resources to guide you through this process with your best interests in mind. As a home inspector, I take the customers best interest in evaluating the physical conditions of a home.

We include energy efficiency in every home inspection. Why? Homes with poor energy efficiency leads unbearable comfort issues and will be penalized with higher energy costs.

Lack of insulation in walls

Free Realtor Webinar – Leveraging Renovation Loans

Join us to attend our next free webinar.  In 2018, San Diego faces another year of tight inventory.  Zillow has classified San Diego market is at crisis levels. 

Learn to sell more with less. This webinar highlights of how renovation loans can fulfill a multitude of real estate needs. Renovation loans can be very empowering that overcomes home conditions and can customize a home to your clients preference and needs.  This will be a valuable tool for realtors to distinguish themselves in the marketplace providing another strategy to best service home buying clients. Webinar will also discuss how to promote these solutions in the marketplace.

Event:  Tuesday, Feb., 20th, 2018

Time:  9:00 am to 10:00 am

To Register:

Watch our short Animation: Reno loans for Realtors

For more information about Renovation Loans, visit:

New Calif Home Inspection Requirements – 2018

Inner pool barrier

Pool Drowning Prevention Safety Requirements included in all Home Inspections

2018 brings new requirements for home inspections in California.  California Home inspectors are now required to inspect for drowning prevention safety devices for all homes that have pool systems.  This is an effort to reduce drowning of unsupervised children.  SB 442 was enacted by Calif legislation as a building code requirement and a way to inform home buyers during the home inspection process.

This is another important step to make pool systems safer specifically to young children.   Statistics show pool drownings resulting in death or serious injury.  Despite current exterior and interior barrier pool requirements,  there’re still tragic drowning deaths or severe injury of children of ages one through four.  These are mostly related to children from within the dwelling.

Exterior door alarm

SB 442 requires installation of 2 of 7 identified drowning safety devices (See below).   These will be required with renovations or new pool system installed that will require a building permit.  In addition,  home inspectors are required to identify installation of these devices during a real estate purchase.

When buying a home with a pool system, home inspectors will now report identifying the type of drowning prevention safety devices and if they meet the minimum required of two of these devices installed.  This regulation does not mandate these conditions are corrected as a requirement of a real estate sale.  This creates awareness of hazard and recommendations of to correct this condition.

Certified California Real Estate Inspection Assoc. (CREIA) inspectors  will identify these drowning safety

Pool cover with pump

devices and report their existence and quantity.  They are not tested and cannot determine if installed properly.  CREIA has incorporated these requirements into their Standards of Practice and home inspection agreements.

It is recommended for realtors and home buyers to verify home inspectors are trained and prepared to inspect for these conditions.

Pool Safety Act – 2018

On October 11, 2017 Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 442 (SB442 Newman) into law.  The bill amends Section 7195 of the Business and Professions Code as well as Sections 115922 and 115925 of the Health and Safety Code.  Bills typically go into effect on January 1 after the bill is signed.

Background of the bill.

Drownings are the second leading cause of death for children in California.  Between 2010 and 2015 more than 740 children between the ages of one and four years of age were hospitalized after a near drowning incident.  The leading cause of hospitalization was brain injury due to lack of oxygen, known as asphyxiation.  Some survive but many suffer permanent brain injuries.  The intent of the bill is to help prevent the large number of such injuries.  This is similar to a bill the Governor vetoed last year.

The bill inserts a new paragraph in section 7195 of the Business and Professions Code related to home inspections.  The new section 7195 (a) (2) states:

In connection with the transfer, as defined in subdivision (e), of real property with a swimming pool or spa, an appropriate inspection shall include a noninvasive physical examination of the pool or spa and dwelling for the purpose of identifying which, if any, of the seven drowning prevention safety features listed in subdivision (a) of Section 115922 of the Health and Safety Code the pool or spa is equipped.

The bill adds to the end of 7195 (c).  The revised paragraph now reads:

A “home inspection report” is a written report prepared for a fee and issued after a home inspection. The report clearly describes and identifies the inspected systems, structures, or components of the dwelling, any material defects identified, and any recommendations regarding the conditions observed or recommendations for evaluation by appropriate persons. In a dwelling with a pool or spa, the report shall identify which, if any, of the seven drowning prevention safety features listed in subdivision (a) of Section 115922 of the Health and Safety Code the pool or spa is equipped with and shall specifically state if the pool or spa has fewer than two of the listed drowning prevention safety features.

In addition to the modifications to the Section 7195 of the Business and Professions Code the bill references changes to the Health and Professions Code.  These changes directly affect our profession.  The full text of the bill is attached:

The bill requires, when a dwelling has a pool or spa, the home inspection “report shall identify which, if any, of the seven drowning prevention safety features listed in subdivision (a) of Section 115922 of the Health and Safety Code the pool or spa is equipped with and shall specifically state if the pool or spa has fewer than two of the listed drowning prevention safety features.

The seven listed drowning prevention safety features are:

(1) An enclosure that meets the requirements of Section 115923 and isolates the swimming pool or spa from the private single-family home.

(2) Removable mesh fencing that meets American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Specifications F2286 standards in conjunction with a gate that is self-closing and self-latching and can accommodate a key lockable device.

(3) An approved safety pool cover, as defined in subdivision (d) of Section 115921.

(4) Exit alarms on the private single-family home’s doors that provide direct access to the swimming pool or spa. The exit alarm may cause either an alarm noise or a verbal warning, such as a repeating notification that “the door to the pool is open.”

(5) A self-closing, self-latching device with a release mechanism placed no lower than 54 inches above the floor on the private single-family home’s doors providing direct access to the swimming pool or spa.

(6) An alarm that, when placed in a swimming pool or spa, will sound upon detection of accidental or unauthorized entrance into the water. The alarm shall meet and be independently certified to the ASTM Standard F2208 “Standard Safety Specification for Residential Pool Alarms,” which includes surface motion, pressure, sonar, laser, and infrared type alarms. A swimming protection alarm feature designed for individual use, including an alarm attached to a child that sounds when the child exceeds a certain distance or becomes submerged in water, is not a qualifying drowning prevention safety feature.

(7) Other means of protection, if the degree of protection afforded is equal to or greater than that afforded by any of the features set forth above and has been independently verified by an approved testing laboratory as meeting standards for those features established by the ASTM or the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

The bill excludes hot tubs or spas with locking safety covers that comply with the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM F1346).

CREIA applauds any effort which will provide protection for the public.  Our Vision Statement is to “To protect lives, health and investments.”  In meetings with the sponsors of the bill CREIA clearly communicated concerns to the sponsors of the bill that a home inspection, as defined in the Business and Professions Code, noninvasive physical examination” verification of confirmation to certain ASTM standards may not be possible.

How will we approach this new legislation?  We will bring same method (LIDER) and professional high standards that we bring to every inspection.  

The full text of the bill may be located at:


What Realtors Need to Know About Solar

What Realtors Need to Know About Solar solar bullet points
As a Realtor, you’ll find yourself increasingly dealing with questions involving solar energy. Whether it’s buyers, sellers, past clients, family or friends, people will look to you for answers to the many questions surrounding “going solar.” In this article we attempt to paint a picture of solar today – the ups and downs – and pay particular attention to what you need to know.

A recent survey showed that more than two-thirds of homeowners plan to make energy-related upgrades to their home in the next year. Many of these homeowners are “going solar.” This number will continue to increase as pressure from government at every level coupled with rising utility rates and an aging housing stock drive homeowners toward solar energy.

Making wise choices about going solar is not easy. Our goal is to help you understand the issues so you can guide your clients to make informed decisions. You’ll be able to ask the right questions and hopefully help them avoid some of the traps that others stumbled into.

We’ll cover five key areas:

• ROI – some homeowners look at solar as an investment – you’ll want to help them pay attention to the risks and rewards of their investment.
• The rest of the house – homeowners who don’t pay attention to what’s happening with energy throughout their home could find themselves fighting physics.
Lease vs buy – deciding whether to own a solar system or rent it has lasting repercussions.
• Net metering – if you own your solar system, you can make money selling power to your utility company – maybe.
• Resale – you may assume that adding a solar system to a home will increase it’s value and make it easier to sell – be careful.

Solar-Panel-PaybackWhat homeowners typically look for with solar is the “payback period” – how long it takes to recover their investment. Here are some of the variables involved in this interesting calculation:

• The cost of the system, installed.
• The cost of maintaining the system over time.
• The amount of electricity you consume.
• The cost of electricity you consume.
• The amount of electricity your system will generate.
• The cost of financing your system.
• The value of any rebates you receive.
• Net metering rules, fees, and benefits.

Besides payback, ROI includes changes to the value of the home and the ease of selling it.

The calculations presented to homeowners have to be much simpler – they can’t take into account all of these factors for several reasons.

• The solar industry and energy industry as a whole are moving – sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly – sometimes in predictable ways, sometimes not. Businesses, utility companies, municipalities, and regulators each play from a different set of beliefs and assumptions. Their power to influence decisions large and small waivers. We simply don’t know what will come next.
• User habits change – the weather changes – the home itself changes. The amount of electricity owners use fluctuates. A family may grow or shrink. They may dial back their thermostat. Extremes of heat or cold seem more frequent. Owners may upgrade windows or add insulation.
The cost of electricity is rising – we don’t know by how much or when.
• Financing tools are changing constantly. Interest rates vary. Rebates come and go.
• Net metering rules are being hotly contested. One day it looks like the solar industry is winning the battle – the next day belongs to the utilities. We don’t know what tomorrow’s rules will look like and no one can be sure they’ll be grandfathered into today’s rules.
All of this varies from lender to lender, from municipality to municipality, and from utility company to utility company.

When it comes to factoring ROI into the selling your home, you can’t be sure buyers will want solar, or that they’ll want your system, or the deal you made. You can’t know how your buyer’s lender will treat your solar package – or whether they’ll even allow your deal to pass through.

All of this can seem scary. But, it’s pretty typical for any investment. There are potential risks and potential rewards. The idea is to go into any investment with your eyes open.

You may also want to remind your customers that going solar is only one element of a more energy-efficient home – one that not only saves you money, but one that provides a safer, more comfortable environment. Besides, it’s clear we are moving towards a better energy future, and we can all feel good about participating in that!

Steps Before Solar
If homeowners want to save money and live in a more comfortable home, solar may not be the best first place to look for an upgrade. Most older homes are energy black holes – you pour energy in and it goes everywhere but where you need it. Essentially, you end up heating and cooling the outside rather than the inside of your home.

insulationHere are four places to look for major energy waste:

• Is your home’s shell tight? Is warmed or cooled air flowing through cracks and around doors and windows?
• Is your home’s ductwork tight? Is warmed or cooled air flowing out of leaky ducts before it has a chance to get to your living areas?
• Is your home well-insulated?
• Are your windows energy-efficient?

The fifth place to look – and it’s an important one – is your own habits. Are you wasting energy every day?

The key point is that, if homeowners waste a lot of energy, they need A LOT of solar to offset this waste. On the other hand, if they make their homes energy-efficient first, they can get by with a much smaller solar system. Any way you slice it, this will improve their ROI and reduce their payback time.

There are two things you can do now to gather the information you need to see if there’s anything your customers should do before going solar:

• Get a complete energy assessment. A trained professional can perform tests and gather information to create an energy model of a home. This model can show the effects of various upgrades to consider. You’ll be able to see which upgrades would be most helpful cost-effective.
• Get a monitor for the home that provides real-time data about energy usage. You’ll able to see where energy is going and use this information to modify habits.

Both of these steps will save money.

Net Meteringsolar
Net metering allows electric utility customers who connect approved, renewable generation systems such as solar panels to the electric grid to buy and sell electricity to the utility. When homeowners generate electricity from their solar array, it reduces the amount of energy they purchase from their utility company.

This balancing act has come under much attack recently. Net metering was implemented as one of several incentives to kick-start the solar industry. These days, utility companies don’t like the arrangement, arguing that the solar industry is doing quite nicely and no longer needs this incentive, and that customers without solar are bearing an unfair burden of fees for operating the grid. The utility industry is fighting hard to change the rules around net metering.

Net metering is critical to ROI and payback – so critical that in Nevada, where utilities defeated the solar industry and rolled back both the terms of net metering and the rates they had to pay homeowners for their excess electricity, the solar industry quickly dried up.

The ongoing battle over net metering greatly effects the solar market and homeowners with solar systems.

Lease vs Buylease vs buy
Perhaps the most important issue involving solar is leasing or purchasing the system. Here’s what to watch out for:

Some solar companies push a Power Purchase Agreement – aka lease. When they make their pitch, they tell homeowners what’s in it for them, but they don’t say what’s in it for the solar company. The main advantages of leasing are low out-of-pocket costs and no maintenance. These are really big advantages for some homeowners!

Otherwise, purchasing holds all the cards: 30% tax credit, control, and a 5-10-year ROI. Loans and rebates can further sweeten the pie.

If homeowners lease their system, their utility bills will definitely be lower than SDG&E. If they purchase, they’ll be even lower. And, if net metering continues, a utility company can end up owing the homeowner money on their monthly bill!

But here’s what you should really keep in mind: solar companies that push leases are not really in the business to make a profit on installing solar systems. That’s right. They’re in the business of aggregating power. They own the power their leased systems produce and they sell it back to homeowners. The more leases they do, the bigger players they become in the power industry. They want to be your next utility company.

Buying and Selling a Home with and Existing Solar System
Every existing solar system is unique. It may or may not add value to a home. It may or may not make the home easier to sell.

solar panel cleaning 3Evaluating Existing Solar Systems

• Who makes the panels? As the solar industry continues to consolidate, there will be fewer solar manufacturers in five years than there are right now. Make sure the manufacturer is still in business and has a good reputation.
What’s the warranty? Warranties differ wildly from company to company. Find out how much time remains on the warranty and exactly what’s covered. Many warranties do not cover service, labor, or shipping.
Is the system leased? If there’s a lease, what are the terms? Is there a fixed rate or a variable rate? (Fixed is ideal.) How easy it is to transfer the existing lease to a new owner.
• How old is the system? Solar technology changes every year. Older systems don’t generate as much energy as newer systems and most systems become less effective as they age.
• Is the system monitored? If so, how many kilowatt hours are produced annually? Ask to see the customer’s annual Net Energy Metering True-up statement, also called a NEM document. This special billing document details how much energy was produced by the home’s solar panels versus what was pulled from the electrical grid. With this statement you can begin to determine the energy value of the solar system.
• The idea of a solar system is to offset existing energy use. Factor in differences in family size and energy needs to keep expectations realistic.
• Has the system been maintained? Cleaning 2-4 times per year is ideal. Has the system been inspected? Inspections from qualified solar technicians cost about $125.
A bad solar system is a liability.

Determining the Value of an Existing Solar System

A solar system on a roof may or may not add value.

Appraisers struggle to value solar systems. They use comparable sales to determine value instead of ROI or payback. There aren’t a lot of comparable solar systems in your neighborhood and your appraiser probably has little or no training in understanding their value. There is no standard methodology for determining the value of an existing solar system.

Some appraisers are certified as “Green Appraisers.” They’re more knowledgeable about the value of an energy-efficient home. Since appraisers are usually not selected directly, you rely on luck to have a green appraiser working with you.

Like the rest of the solar market, this area is seeing rapid change. There has been some movement in the California state legislature to mandate appropriate training for all appraisers. A growing number of studies are showing that energy-efficiency and solar system do result in higher sales prices and shorter time-to-sell. The movement to include green features in MLS listings is gaining momentum.

Complicating the Sales Process
Buyers may not want to assume and existing solar lease. They may prefer to own their solar system. They may not like the terms of the lease. Terms of the lease may not favor a smooth assumption.

Lenders may not allow a solar lease to pass through to new financing. Some lenders may balk at the perceived value of a solar system when determining loan amounts.

Some lenders are more familiar – and some more comfortable – with the nuances of solar in financing a home purchase.

A buyer or a lender may force a seller to buy out the lease – at terms that are less than favorable. This can make the home more difficult to sell – even negating potential sales in the works.

For Realtors
Your customers look to you to be the experts in matters relating to their homes. We want to help you. That’s why we’re keeping both eyes on the energy-efficiency market. We’ll continue to provide helpful content to you through our enews letters, our website, and our social media sites. If you have any questions, please contact us – we love hearing from you!

What Realtors Need to Know About PACE


pace bullet pointsProperty Assessed Clean Energy
(PACE) programs allow property owners to finance energy-efficient, water-efficient, and renewable-energy projects on existing and, in some cases, new homes through a special tax assessment on the property. The property owner pays the special tax at the same time and in the same manner as all other property taxes.

PACE looks like a powerful, valuable, exploding program that is here to stay. Realtors will want to understand the program and stay abreast of its evolution.

PACE makes it possible to finance improvements without a down payment. In theory, because the improvement is a fixed asset that stays with the property, sellers may be able to transfer any remaining balance to the buyer when they sell their home. That way, whoever is benefiting from the improvements pays down the loan.

Some lenders do not like PACE – we’ll talk about that. Realtors need to connect with an appropriate lender if they decide to pursue adding PACE to their array of customer options.

pace2Pace Basics
· Allows funding of energy efficiency, solar, and water conservation.
· Payments are made as part of property taxes.
· Easy to qualify.
· No Fico score.
· Minimum equity in property 10%.
· $5,000 minimum financing – up to 15% of property value.
· Must work with participating contractors.

Why use PACE financing?
· By offering up to 100% financing on qualifying improvements, PACE can eliminate the need to pay out of pocket for an energy-related project.
· Depending upon the type of improvements installed, repayment may be amortized for a period of up to 20 years, keeping monthly payments low enough that utility savings may exceed the payment, creating a net positive cash flow.
· Interest may be tax deductible.
· Because PACE ties the loan to the property and not an individual, the loan may transfer upon sale or refinancing of the property. In other words, owners may not need to be concerned about recouping the cost of their improvements if they decide to sell the property before the loan is repaid.
· A recent study indicates that the value of PACE homes increases more than enough to cover the cost of paying off the lien in the event of a sale. Owners of PACE loans have proven less likely to default than average owners.

Downside to PACE Loans
· PACE may present a hurdle in a real estate transaction. The lien that secures funding is superior to all previously existing private liens, including mortgages. In other words, like property taxes, the PACE special tax assessment will be paid before all other private liens recorded on the property if the property owner defaults on other debt secured by the property. This is changing as the program evolves.
· Some lenders, particularly those involved with federally-insured loans, have balked at PACE because they fear losing money on a foreclosure. They may refuse to finance or refinance a property with PACE. They may demand that the lien be paid off as part of any title transfer. Prepayment can be costly.
· There have been disclosure issues for Realtors. providers have improved the process by helping real estate agents understand how to disclose that there is an additional tax assessment on the property tax bill and how the energy and/or water savings help offset the assessment.
· Interest rate is higher than most consumers anticipate
· Long been promoted that a PACE Lien would transfer with property purchase. That has not been the case in many instances. FHFA initially discouraged PACE liens primarily due to the potential of first lien ahead of a mortgage lien.

History of PACE in California
In California, the first commercial and residential PACE programs were established in 2008. The residential programs soon encountered a significant hurdle. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) was concerned that residential PACE assessments had a lien status superior to that of existing mortgages underwritten by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This meant that, in the event of a default, any outstanding PACE assessments (though not the entire amount financed) would be paid off before other liens such as first deeds of trust.
In 2010, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac stated that they would no longer purchase mortgage loans secured by properties with outstanding PACE loans. This effectively stopped residential PACE programs, with the exception of a few pilot programs.

Since 2010, a number of developments have facilitated a resurgence of residential PACE programs in California – including the passage of state legislation (SB 555), the implementation of legal instruments to address FHFA concerns and disclose the consequence a PACE lien can have on an existing mortgage, and the establishment of a PACE loss reserve program. Many cities and counties now have PACE programs for all three sectors (residential, commercial and municipal).

What can be financed with PACE?Energy bar
Eligible products vary by individual PACE providers and administrators. In general, most products that can be permanently affixed to a property and reduce on-site electric, gas or water consumption will be considered eligible. Some examples include attic insulation; heating, ventilation and air conditioning replacements; solar photovoltaic and thermal systems; and low-flow toilets.

Often, projects must be performed by a contractor participating in the PACE program to be eligible.

PACE Providers in San Diego County
PACE programs in San Diego county are managed by Renovate America and Ygrene. These organizations facilitate loans with realtors, lenders, clients, and certified contractors.

Renovate America, a San Diego company known for pioneering work and lobbying to improve PACE processes, recently passed the $1B mark in loans. The company, which is the leading provider of residential Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing in the U.S, and its government partners recently were awarded the U.S. Climate Leadership Certificate for Innovative Partnerships by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The national award recognizes organizations working collaboratively on leading-edge climate initiatives which reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

HeroRenovate America, which provides loans through it HERO program, provides a team dedicated to supporting real estate professionals working with PACE loans. The nearly 55,000 households in California that have completed HERO projects have contributed to the creation of more than 11,000 local clean energy jobs, while reducing carbon emissions and saving water.

Renovate America worked with the State of California to set aside a $10 million loan-loss reserve fund to reduce lender’s exposure to defaults. In more than two years of existence, no claims have been made against this fund.

The HERO Program brings together Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing, consumer protections developed with government partners, more than 5,000 home improvement contractors, and a tech-enabled underwriting and product approval process. The HERO platform enables more than 1 million EPA- and DOE-rated efficient products to be selected if PACE financing is chosen, converting the moment when a homeowner

YYgrenegrene offers PACE financing in Chula Vista and throughout most metropolitan areas in San Diego County. Ygrene’s PACE loan is treated the same way as a Mello-Roos. Mello-Roos is a form of financing used by cities, counties, and special districts. These taxes are secured by a continuing lien and are levied annually against property within the district. These liens are subordinate to mortgages.

For Realtors
Keep your eye on PACE. It looks like attention paid to working out the kinks in the original loan program are paying off.

Webinar March 15!

Engaging Your Customers

Your client base is your most valuable asset. Stay engaged. Join us for our upcoming webinar covering effective ways to reach out to your clients!

We’ll cover using email to reach out to your contacts; engaging your past clients in meaningful conversations using energy efficiency as part of your strategy; and solutions and strategies for mining your database.

  • Monthly Email templates using Constant Contact
  • Custom collateral for farming, events….

Since 2010, Inspection Perfection has focused on residential energy efficiency. We’ve completed hundreds of energy assessments in San Diego county. We monitor the Energy Efficiency marketplace regarding incentives, policy and news.

Why Energy Efficiency:

  • Cost Effective
  • Lowers your Energy Costs
  • Delivers Comfort
  • Financing
  • Rebates

Webinar – Tuesday March 15thMining your list Agenda

Click the appropriate link to register

Morning session: 9:00am—9:45am

Afternoon session: 1:00pm—1:45pm