Monthly Archives: October 2019

Learn the Truth About Home Solar in the U.S. — and battling the cost of today’s electricity

You’ve probably heard a few things about solar energy, but how do you separate fact from fiction? Well, we Sunrunners are here to set the record straight by busting five common home solar myths so you can learn how solar really works, and how it can help you prepare for the future.

Myth #1: Solar Panels Don’t Produce Energy in the Fall and Winter

This is one of the most common myths about solar energy. And while it’s true warm and sunny states like Arizona, California, and Florida are ideal places to go solar, the reality is, solar panels can actually work better in cooler climates.

In fact, studies have proved a home solar system loses around 0.45% of efficiency for every degree above 77°F.1 In other words, cool and sunny weather is best for solar, as long as your panels aren’t covered by snow.2 But even if they are, there’s a simple fix. Learn the best way to clean your solar panels.

And what about on cloudy and stormy weather, you ask? Yes, solar panels also work under these conditions, yet, not quite as well as when the sun shines brightest, so you should expect around a 10-25% lower capacity.3

Just don’t cling too much to this detail in particular, because what matters is how much sunlight your home gets year-round. Cloudy and stormy days are a common thing, but on average, this won’t impact the return on investment of your home solar system.

Long story short, living in a cold place doesn’t mean you can’t create your own clean, renewable energy at home to take control of your electricity bills and reduce your carbon emissions for decades to come.

Myth #2: Home Solar Systems Are Too Expensive

Not at all! In reality, the cost of solar across the country have hit an all-time low,4 and according to experts, the best time to go solar is now.

As the #1 home solar installer in the U.S.,5 at Sunrun, we’ve helped hundreds of thousands of Americans go solar in the simplest and most affordable way possible. That’s why we offer you the choice to lease or purchase a brand-new set of solar panels for as little as $0 down.

Plus, if you decide to go solar with us Sunrunners, we’ll monitor the home solar system — daily — and offer free solar panel maintenance, repairs, and comprehensive insurance for your full peace of mind. A.k.a. The Sunrun Guarantee.

Myth #3: I Can’t Move After Installing Solar Panels

If you decide to move, we Sunrunners have a team of Service Transfer Specialists standing by to help you sell your home and transfer your solar contract to the new owner. As soon as you let us know you’re selling your home, you’ll be assigned to a Service Transfer Specialist who’ll work with you exclusively through the entire process.

From educating realtors and potential buyers to working with home inspectors, escrow officers, title agents, and anyone else who should know about your system or solar contract, at Sunrun, we have your back. Learn how to transfer your Sunrun solar service.

And in case you didn’t know, recent data shows a home solar system is viewed as a home upgrade, just like renovating your kitchen or installing a pool; which means, putting solar panels on your roof can increase your home value. On top of that, solar homes in the U.S. sell faster and for around 15 to 20% more than homes without a system.6

See? Selling your solar home shouldn’t be too hard. Saying goodbye to those bill-controlling, carbon-reducing solar panels may be a different story, though.

Myth #4: Home Solar Systems Are Complicated and High Maintenance

Another common solar myth is having solar panels at home is too much work. The truth? New home solar systems are incredibly reliable; however, they do require proper caring and cleaning to stay in top shape during the next 25 years or longer.7

Meaning, if your solar panels don’t experience any damage by strong winds, falling trees, or other things; rest easy knowing they’ll last you decades. And as mentioned above, at Sunrun, we offer comprehensive home solar system support from contract signature to solar panel life cycle so you can focus less on your panels’ performance and more on enjoying the benefits solar will bring to you and your community.

Myth #5: Solar Panels Are Quickly Outdated

While a home solar system is a big investment, studies have shown a home solar installation can last anywhere between 25 to 30 years — or sometimes more.8

Yet, this doesn’t mean the system will stop creating electricity after a couple of decades. It just means its energy production will decrease by what solar panel manufacturers consider best to meet the energy needs of the average American family.

Actually, solar panels made in the 80s are still producing clean energy today. So if you decide to go solar now, you don’t need to worry about this at all. Get the details about how long solar panels really last.

Build a Clean, Affordable, and Reliable Energy Future — Starting Today (It does not require any investment on your part if you choose a lease. The more you contribute in a purchase of the equipment, the more savings you will enjoy on your cost of utilities.

Now that you know the truth about solar, the future is looking a whole lot brighter, don’t you think? Besides, starting a solar journey won’t just help you take control of your electric bills and reduce your carbon emissions; this is a move which could also save you thousands of dollars in electricity costs during the next 25 years.9

If you’re interested in discussing your solar options, take the first step and see if Sunrun is a good match for your home by requesting a personalized quote, today. With us Sunrunners, solar quotes are always free!

Footnote: “I am a “Sunrunner” now (finally) so  you can give me a chance to show you (personally) what solar would mean for you. Call me, 928 345-1200 and let me refer you for a personalized quote today”, Warren Strycker. (No obligation).

Senior housing wealth rises again to $7.17 billion; Debt rises too

Vladimir Solomyani

Homeowners age 62 and older saw their collective housing wealth increase in Q2 2019 by 0.5% compared to the previous quarter. This constitutes an increase of approximately $32 billion to a record of $7.17 trillion, according to data provided by the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA) in conjunction with data analytics firm RiskSpan.

The increase was reported Tuesday in the quarterly release of the NRMLA/RiskSpan Reverse Mortgage Market Index (RMMI).

The RMMI rose in Q2 2019 to 258.44, which marks another consecutive all-time high since the index’s original publication in 2000. That increase was described as being primarily driven by an estimated 0.5% (or $47 billion) increase in the values of homes owned by seniors.

This was offset, however, by a 0.9% (or $14.6 billion) increase of senior-held mortgage debt.

“Many retired and soon-to be-retired Americans lack the financial assets for a comfortable retirement, yet the most commonly held and valuable asset for most of them is their home,” said NRMLA EVP Steve Irwin in a press release announcing the record. “Responsible use of home equity may be the best option that ensures they have food, medicine and other basics for a comfortable retirement.”

Senior housing wealth topped $7 trillion for the first time ever according to a previous RMMI data release in March 2019, before hitting a new threshold of $7.14 trillion the following June. The RMMI also previously recorded a year-over-year increase of 6.5 percent in 2018, lower than the 8.4 percent increase recorded in 2017 and the 8.2 percent increase in 2016.

Wealth may be hidden in home equity (trillions) restricting function in retirement mode. After 62, give yourself an ENERGY BOOST in RETIREMENT. RESTOREdeadEQUITY. There are so many ways to kick yourself into motion. http://gofinancial.net/2017/04/dead-equity/

6.75+ Trillion dollars in DEAD Equity; HECM is safe for seniors

Editor’s Note: “This HECM facilitator beckens “Comeon — get onboard the HECM stabilizer — a more stable retirement ride,” Warren Strycker.

Foreclosure Assistance Program Helps 300 Oregon HECM Borrowers

By Chris Clow | October 7, 2019

A foreclosure assistance program in the state of Oregon is on track to assist the majority of the state’s foreclosed reverse mortgage borrowers just in time for a final round of applications, which are expected to begin in Spring 2020.

The Oregon Homeownership Stabilization Initiative (OHSI)’s reverse mortgage benefit program is designed to assist homeowners in getting out of default on their reverse mortgages, offering up to $40,000 in payments to individual borrowers to bring affected seniors up-to-date on taxes and insurance in order to remain in their homes, Carmel Charland and Nicole Stoenner of OHSI tell RMD in a phone interview.

Some qualifying borrowers can also receive as many as 24 months of future property tax and homeowner’s insurance payments direct from OHSI.

OHSI works directly with the reverse mortgage servicer to bring clients current on their obligations under the terms of a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM).

Program history

In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, the U.S. Department of the Treasury disbursed the Hardest Hit Fund, designed to provide targeted aid to states hit hardest by the subprime mortgage crisis that started in 2007. As a result, OHSI was established in 2010, and started administering foreclosure assistance programs the following year. After five years of observations and taking into account changes in the state’s property tax deferral programs, OHSI simed to expand the scope of its assistance programs.

“By the time we got the additional funding and were looking at how to utilize this money in 2016, we took a look back at where we had been,” says Carmel Charland, OHSI administrator.“ At that point in time, the real estate climate had really changed in Oregon, so we wanted to look at who had not really been served by the previous programs that we had run.”

One of those underserved segments was people with reverse mortgage loans who had endured foreclosures. Looking at neighboring states that had developed similar programs helped guide Oregon to the topic of reverse mortgage foreclosures, which also led to partnerships with other state government agencies that assisted the state of Oregon in developing its own program.

“We were able to look at our sister Hardest Hit Fund states and take some good examples,” Charland says. “I think the first state to do a reverse mortgage program was Florida, and then California ran with it, so we really partnered with California a lot in developing [our own reverse mortgage assistance program].”

Since reverse mortgage borrowers fell under the umbrella of previously under-served people in the foreclosure assistance program, OHSI identified a need worthy of implementation. This also led to direct support from the federal government.

“As we researched this we got further support from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), in that there are over 300 HECM reverse mortgages in the state of Oregon that were in default in 2016,” Charland describes.

HECM foreclosure assistance

The one-time benefit for those who avail themselves of the program can be extended in the form of a second payment the program makes to the loan servicer to keep the borrower current for up to two years, Charland explains.

“[Beneficiaries] get a one-time benefit to bring them current and out of default, but once we receive confirmation from the servicer that their loan has been reinstated, then we make a second payment that is equivalent to the next 24 months’ worth of taxes and insurance, and potentially homeowner application dues,” she says. “And then, the servicer puts that in a set-aside account to be used as needed over the next 24 months.”

That additional payment for taxes and insurance is designed to help give the affected homeowner ample time to put finances in order to arrange for a period after which the program’s assistance fund is exhausted. The 300 observed HECM delinquencies in 2016 is believed to be attributable to the changes in Oregon’s tax deferral practices, Charland says.

“There were some changes and shifts and I’m not familiar with all that took place, but it impacted people who thought they had deferral but then no longer had one,” she says. “They were kicked off or [deferrals were made] temporarily unavailable. So, that caused a lot of these delinquencies.”

While OHSI didn’t have a record determining exactly how many HECM reverse mortgages existed in the state at the time of the interview, its internal statistics have led the organization to believe that the majority of those borrowers that have applied for reverse mortgage foreclosure assistance have already been, or are currently in the process of being served, as the program identified 300 HECM delinquencies in 2016.

“Currently in the state we’ve received 301 applications,” says Nicole Stoenner, legislative and communications coordinator at OHSI. “So, another component might be that we’ve really addressed the need [for reverse mortgage assistance] and spoken directly to the population of folks with reverse mortgages that have been FHA-approved.”

The amount of money in total spent on the program is also relatively modest, but has managed to serve nearly all of those who have submitted applications thus far, says Charland.

“To date, we’ve spent $436,000 and $638,000 on this program, and that’s serving 275 approved applications,” she says.

Client scenarios

Considering that many of the affected senior clients are limited in their technological skills and have a tendency to be geographically isolated, Charland says, the reverse mortgage assistance program can take applicants over the phone in their office which is not usually required of the organization’s other assistance programs.

That greater level of more personalized, tailored assistance makes OHSI potentially more involved with reverse mortgage clients when compared to other clients they serve. That also leads those in OHSI to become familiar with the scenarios that necessitate assistance in the first place.

“We really get to know these people,” Charland describes. “The most common scenario is that they are overwhelmed by a health crisis, a major medical event that just blows apart their financial plans. We hear that all the time. The other thing that’s really common is financial abuse either from somebody in their life, or some kind of scam. They’re the victims of an online or phone scam, so it’s definitely been a different experience to work with this population.”

The organization has even created a new training program to identify specific scenarios in which seniors are taken advantage of.

“We’ve now done red flag training for elder abuse, because this is sometimes how it comes to light: when they apply to our program,” Charland says.

Getting the word out, winding down

While some of the efforts in the reverse mortgage assistance program have revolved around getting the word out about to borrowers and reverse mortgage servicers, the program isn’t permanent and will be winding down its operations soon. Until then, though, OHSI is working diligently with partners in both government and industry to ensure that as many loans as possible don’t go into default.

“Champion Mortgage, which is one of the largest providers, has some really amazing staff that really took the initiative and helped coordinate some events here in Oregon that we partnered with, and they had a really big influence on getting people into the program,” Charland says.

Champion has since ceased its reverse mortgage operations in Oregon specifically, but as similar programs in other states have run their course, some servicers may not be aware that the Oregon program is still operational.

“Another consideration I just now thought of is that California has stopped taking applications for all their programs last year,” Charland says. “So, it’s entirely possible that some servicers don’t even understand that we’re still open and taking applications.”

Still, operations in the state of Oregon are winding down for this program, and the program will only be taking new applications for consideration for the next six months.

“Our plan is to use all of the federal funds until they run out, and now our estimate is that Spring 2020 will be about the date that we’re going to run out of those funds,” said Stoenner.

The difference the program makes

Although only running for a limited time, those who have worked in the reverse mortgage assistance program have seen its benefits make a demonstrable difference in the lives of beneficiaries, and being brought current on the terms of their loans helps offer a peace of mind that can be difficult to come by for people living on a fixed income, Charland says.

“For the folks themselves, it makes a huge difference because they really are looking at foreclosure, and because of being brought current and having that buffer timeline, it really enables them to regroup and find a way forward, either by adjusting their budget, finding other resources, or finding time to sell and discuss with their families what the best scenario is for them,” she says. “It provides them the time they need to have the best outcome.”

This is even more important for the locality, since Oregon’s state housing finance agency has noted a troubling increase in the rate of senior homelessness.

“One of the things we’re noticing and a trend we’re seeing is an increase in seniors that are facing homelessness, and we see any sort of housing stabilization program as an effort to prevent homelessness, and [the reverse mortgage assistance program] certainly falls in line with those efforts,” adds Stoenner.

Companies featured in this article:

Oregon Homeownership Stabilization InitiativeState of Oregon

When Does a Reverse Mortgage Become Due and Payable?