Cash for Caulkers was in the House
It passed with flying colors and it is now headed to the Senate Floor. I have referenced this program before but through the legislative process, it continues to evolve and a clearer understanding of how it will be structured and implemented is beginning to emerge. What is it you ask? Cuz like seriously, caulk seems a little extreme to spend a whole post promoting.
A Little Background
Cash for Caulkers is the street name for the Home Star Energy Retrofit Act. This act was pitched to the public in December of last year by the Obama administration. It is intended to conserve energy, put contractors and factory workers who will install and manufacture efficient products back to work, and save homeowners money on their utility bills. Win, win, win – my favorite kind of deal.
Why do I keep bringing it up?
In 2007 I put new Energy Star windows in my house and received my whopping tax credit of $50. In the fall of 2008, the total amount you could qualify for in energy efficient improvement credits improved substantially to 30% up to $1500. If you spent 5k on an approved appliance, windows, insulation, etc, you could receive a credit on your tax return for $1500. That credit is set to expire at the end of this year.
If this new legislation passes, homeowners can see a whopping 50% in rebates (not credit so you don’t have to wait on it) up to 8k if they are willing to improve the efficiency of their homes by more than 20%. They can expect to see 3k if they get an energy audit and use certified contractors to get the work of their choosing done that improves their homes efficiency by 20%. Heck, you can get $250 for just walking around with a caulk gun and sealing up some cracks on your own – Caulk it Up!! It also applies to the labor costs for installing the products not just the products themselves which is why it can and will create jobs and a key difference in how the current credits are structured.
Should Realtors Care?
I think so. In my first AG Post I referenced the now expired tax credit and reminded you all that we are all going to have to find a new thing to peddle on our Facebook status updates. There appears to be some financing options affiliated with this as well. Couple that with the growing popularity of Energy Efficient Mortgages, the passing of this Bill could be a game changer in how buyers evaluate homes they want to purchase and who they use to represent them. In addition, it’s a wonderful topic to share with your warm market and past clients.
It is now headed to the Senate with some tough opposition about how to fund the 6 billion price tag. I hope that both sides of the aisle can find a way to create a program that is fiscally responsible but beneficial for the environment and for homeowners who have had a tough couple of years. I suspect it will take some time before it lands in the hands of the White House but hopefully by this fall we will be armed with caulk guns and a new stimulus program to promote.