I know there have been several conversations regarding the HERO program and some of the challenges that come with participating in it. I first want to focus on the cost. The HERO program has negatives and positives, if you were in a position where you had no other options then HERO is great. You can replace a nonfunctioning item with no upfront cost and basically make payments. In reality nothing is ever that simple and there are additional cost (interest), higher than normal charges for a similar item purchased through a non HERO installer and an administrative fee if you choose to pay off your items early. I went online to see some examples and to compare an air conditioning unit that is itemized on an Actual Hero program handout to what a unit would cost from a big brand store and what HomeAdvisors states is an average expense.
As you can see there is quite a difference in the final cost when using the HERO program. This air conditioning example is just one, I see them all the time and the inflated charges are consistent. The other problem with HERO that I would like to address is how it can cause challenges when selling or refinancing your property. The HERO program has caused huge delays in the real estate, title insurance and lending industry. The money used to finance the energy efficient upgrades are paid back by attaching an Assessment to the property tax bill (similar to Mello Roos). In the lending community this becomes a problem to a majority of the banks and lending institutions because it’s in a priority position. We see this almost on a daily basis in my office and unless something very recently has changed, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and FHA loans will not lend in this position. The HERO program will let the consumer know that they will subordinate and become of lesser value however the lender 9 out of 10 times will require the tax assessment to be paid off before they will lend. In a nutshell refinancing can be a challenge and finding a buyer for a home on the market will be just as challenging. I have seen personally several homes that sit on the market for an extended period of time because they are unable to put a qualified purchaser in contract and have a successful loan processed. This delay in closing of the transaction actually ends up being very costly for the current homeowner as they continue to make monthly payments while they sit on the market. I know the that most success we have with closing escrows whether it be a refinance or a purchase typically happens at the homeowners expense, HERO being paid in full before their contract has reached its agreement.