• New program allows homeowners to make improvements without borrowing money


    FLORIDA - A new program in Florida is offering homeowners a chance to make improvements to their houses without borrowing money from a bank or putting it on a credit card.
    Channel 9 learned that homeowners can hurricane-proof their homes and make them more energy efficient without having a monthly bill through a program called PACE. .
    Solar panels, new air conditioning units and impact-resistant windows and doors can be paid for with a new financing option in the state.
    "For a responsible homeowner that is planning ahead, this is a great option,” Jonathan Schaefer of Evest Florida said.
    PACE was introduced by the state to boost the construction industry post-recession and help homeowners make necessary repairs and improvements. It allows homeowners to fix up their homes and put the expense on their annual tax bills instead of going to a bank for a loan and adding to their mortgages or putting it on a credit card.
    "Bank financing isn't as accessible as it used to be. A lot of banks require an equity position and certain credit score just to qualify for a loan," Schaefer said.
    PACE is based on the value of your property. Interest rates range from 5.7 to 7.5 percent, and finance options range from 5 to 25 years.
    The program is already in place in Osceola and Marion counties, along with 12 others statewide, and managers are meeting with officials across central Florida to educate them on how it works.
    "When you make these kinds of improvements, each of them has the ability to reduce your operating costs. When you put in a new AC, you use less energy, and your bill goes down," Scheafer said.
    If you’d like to see the program in your county, you might want to contact your city or county commissioner.

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