San Diego – Financing for Home Improvement to Reduce Energy/Water Bills

Homeowners in San Diego and surrounding areas gained access this week to a new kind of financing for home improvements to reduce energy bills or save water that is repaid through property tax bills.

Will making your home more energy efficient add value to your home?  Contact the appraisers at for your value questions.

So-called PACE financing — short for property assessed clean energy — was extended Monday to homeowners within San Diego city limits, unincorporated areas of the county and the cities of Escondido and El Cajon. Seven other local governments — Carlsbad, Oceanside, Vista, San Marcos, Lemon Grove, Solana Beach and Chula Vista — have authorized identical or similar programs.

PACE loans can be spent on a broad range of energy and water items from rooftop solar energy systems to reflective “cool” rooftops, insulated windows, low-flow toilets and desert-friendly landscaping to replaces grass lawns.

Unlike personal home equity loans, PACE obligations are attached to the property and designed to be passed along to the next owner when homes are sold.

HERO Finance (Home Energy Renovation Opportunity) is the only residential PACE program currently operating in the San Diego area, with the exception of Chula Vista. Local governments are laying the groundwork for other PACE providers to compete, including FigTree Financial, California First and Ygrene.

HERO’s no-money-down loan terms are relatively simple. They offers repayment over terms of five, 10, 15 and 20 years. Fixed interest rates currently range from 5.9 percent to 8.9 percent, according Matthew Messina, spokesman for Renovate America, the private company behind HERO. A one-time fee equivalent to 6.95 percent on the loan principal covers all administrative costs.

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