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  Weststar | GEM Newsletter July 2015 |




Back to the Future | Retrofitting America’s Building Stock for Existing Homes

gas-shortage-1979 (copy)On April 20, 1977 the Carter administration launched the first national energy proposal   to include a solar tax incentive program.  The Carter administration even installed 32 solar panels  on the White House roof.

 Unfortunately, the solar program was a market failure due to price, operability, lack of a qualified workforce to maintain the equipment, and other factors.  Under the Reagan administration, the energy programs and tax credits were abolished.  Some of these homes still have inoperable solar systems on their roofs!   This era gave energy conservation and solar systems a black eye and turned off many Americans for decades.  

We’ve come a long way since then and building science innovators have developed many advanced technology solutions.  And we need them, considering that over 30 percent of our buildings were built during the post-World War era and weren’t durable or meant to last.  HUD’s 2011 Annual Housing Survey found that 41% of the owner-occupied housing stock in the U.S. was built prior to 1969. Homes built from 2000 to 2009 account for only 15% of the owner-occupied housing stock. Antiquated building stock is problematic, as much of our existing home inventory is in dire need of retrofits and upgrades.  (Stay tuned for Green Premium Value verses Brown Discounts next issue.)

Read Full Article


Should you tear down an Existing Home and Re-build?

Solluna-builders-2014-Austin-front-of-house (copy)Some homes may not be a good candidate for a retrofit due to high cost constraints or severe deferred maintenance, and may need to be torn down or at least gutted down to foundation and framing.  The cost of the land verses property value also might not work (in general, land value shouldn’t exceed more than 30% of the house value.  

Trends seem to be shifting toward tear downs, especially due to old, dated buildings.  Many homeowners love their neighborhoods and property and most likely have equity in the property.  Careful financial analysis should be given to the choices of buying a new home, finding a new lot to build on, or tearing down an existing home. 

See Case Study


Buying, Selling or Refinancing a House?  Brace Yourself for Some Truth and Confusion

                                                                                          by Teresa Lopez NMLS # 374578

New Consumer Financial Protection Bureau regulations are about to change (proposed extension from August Gem Homepage Box B (copy)1 to October 1, 2015) and will retire the old HUD 1 closing statement, established over 41 years ago for all residential sales and refinances.   The HUD 1 Settlement Statement was first introduced by Congress in 1974 through the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) to protect consumers and standardize lender requirements to itemize services and fees charged to borrowers and sellers.  

The HUD 1 was revised again in 2010 and now will be replaced by the new Closing Disclosure, which includes the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID), better known as the know-before you owe mortgage rule.   This event is expected to increase closing times, requiring lenders to prepare the 8 page document, and accept more risk for incorrect disclosure, instead of title companies. i.e. See why closing on a home could take longer

US and Consumer Debt Shocker- The Clock Just Keeps Ticking 

360_debt_clock_1014 (copy)If you want to witness the overwhelming crushing effects of our US Federal deficit and consumer debt, check out the Debt Clock   Watching this powerful demonstration of our deficit and debt increasing by the nanosecond and the level of consumer debt (credit cards almost $1 Trillion and student loans over $1.3 Trillion and counting) is a staggering revelation.  Yet another reason to reduce your energy consumption and pay down your debt with the savings.    Tick tock, tick tock.


Green Tip of the Month

Green Building Advisor published a guest blog written by Betsy Pettit, of Building Science Corporation. The article recommends starting where you can get the most bang, and working your way down a list of 7 steps.  Although the blog was written in 2010, it’s still good information and excellent guidance on steps of staging energy efficiency. 


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This is not a commitment to offer financing, all loans are subject to property evaluation, sufficient equity in the house to meet LTV requirements, and final credit approval. Approvals are subject to underwriting guidelines, interest rates, and program guidelines, and are subject to change without notice based on applicant’s eligibility and market conditions. Terms of the loan may be subject to payment of points and fees by the applicant. WeststarPacific Mortgage,  NMLS #243155, 7200 N. Mopac Expwy., Suite 165, Austin, TX 78731  (512) 343-2345

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