Is the hardest part, as Tom Petty once sang. We met with B this morning. (Okay, make that Ben. Ben Pollard. He’s given us the go-ahead to use his real name.) Ben told us that realistically, we can’t expect to be living in the house until mid-September. We’re pretty bummed, especially since that means we’ll be paying a mortgage and rent at the same time (um, beans for dinner for the next two months??) , but we’d rather know what we’re dealing with now than be unpleasantly surprised a few weeks down the line. Ben said once he gets the permits squared away and his sub-contractors lined up, he expects that work could start on August 3. Which is pretty funny, since originally we thought we’d be moved in and LIVING in the house by August 1. Hahahahahahahahaha!!!
Seriously, though, a lot hinges on my meeting tomorrow with a loan officer at Norway Savings Bank, which is one of the banks that administers something called the HELP Loan (Home Energy Loan Program). It’s a Maine State Housing Authority Loan that can be used to finance home improvements that increase energy efficiency. You’re required to get a home energy audit, then you can use the loan to make any repairs or upgrades that meet the auditor’s recommendations. The interest rate is pretty low–lower than a home equity loan–and the term is for 15 years. The loan can be used for new insulation, new storm doors and windows, Energy Star-rated appliances, and other energy efficient upgrades. We’re really hoping we qualify. It’s supposed to be for those of us with “moderate” incomes, i.e., those of us making enough to pay their bills and feed their kids and maybe go out for dinner once in a while, but not enough to join the country club or buy a yacht and register it in Delaware.
If we do qualify for the loan, then combined with the 30% tax credit (up to $1,500) you can get right now for purchasing energy efficient items and materials, it would definitely seem to be a very good time to be renovating. And how great is it that government is supporting renovations for energy efficiency? (If you live in Maine, you may also be eligible for the Gift of Green–$5,000 towards closing costs for first-time homebuyers. Nick and I already had our mortgage locked in, so we couldn’t take advantage of this program when it came out, but it sounds like a great deal.) Add all of this to Obama’s tax credit for first-time homebuyers, and we’re able to do something this year that would have been unthinkable just two years ago. Very cool. Socialism FTW!