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There are many ways that consumers can save energy and spend less––adding insulation, buying a programmable thermostat, replacing single-pane windows, and installing a solar water heater, to name a few; however, many homeowners are considering energy efficient mortgages as an alternate way to go green at home.

Energy-efficient mortgages are a great way to maximize efficiency and finance the cost of improvements that will help you save energy. Fannie Mae, the Federal Housing Administration, and the Veterans Administration loan program all offer energy-efficient mortgages. Though you may make a higher monthly payment, lenders will not move forward with the project unless they believe your home will net cost savings.

In addition to the financial benefits, energy improvements will also help boost your home’s value. According to the Shelton Group, 81% of consumers say energy efficiency “somewhat-to-very-much” affects their home buying decision.

This post can be found in its original form on US News.

Photo: Inhabitat

mortgage-rates16New federal regulations requiring lenders to verify an applicant’s ability to repay may make it more difficult for borrowers who are self-employed to obtain a mortgage. The rules, created by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, set standards for mortgages that are considered low-risk for both parties.

Effective this month, lenders are now required to verify a borrower’s income and confirm a debt-to-income ratio of 43% or less. Borrowers who are self-employed or own their own business will find their incomes being analyzed in greater detail.

According to Peter Grabel, a loan originator at Luxury Mortgage, in Stamford, Connecticut, borrowers who have been self-employed for less than two years will find it nearly impossible to obtain financing without sufficient business tax returns.

“[Lenders] must establish the stability and continuity of the income source,” he said. “The problem for self-employed people is that they want to minimize their tax liability, but some of the ways they do so impact their ability to borrow.”

This article can be found in its original form at The New York Times.