DEFINITION of 'Energy Improvement Mortgage'

A mortgage that sets money aside for home improvements that will increase energy efficiency within the home. Energy improvement mortgages are available when a house is being purchased or refinanced. A certified home energy rater will examine the home and suggest improvements; once the improvements have been made and confirmed, the lender will repay the expenses (which have already been approved under the mortgage contract) to the borrower from an escrow account.

BREAKING DOWN 'Energy Improvement Mortgage'

Borrowers will carry a higher mortgage payment with an energy improvement mortgage, but the additional cost may be balanced out or even erased by lower ongoing energy costs, as the home will be more efficient once the improvements have been made. Typical improvements that are considered include extra insulation, tightening of window and door seals and replacement of the HVAC system.

It is in the best interests of mortgage lenders to make homes more energy efficient, as this lowers homeowners' monthly costs, improving their chances of being able to service the mortgage. Energy efficient homes also retain more of their value at resale and are attractive to a wide group of potential buyers.

As energy efficiency ratings for homes become more commonplace in the industry, more lenders will be attuned to offering energy improvement mortgages, appealing to both the bottom line and the social/environmental concerns of their customers.

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