Most of us know that an investment in home improvement can save money in the long-run as well as increase home value. But the most valuable improvement projects come with higher-end price tags in an era where all of us are feeling the cost of everything rise, from groceries to energy bills.

Taking on projects like window and door replacement or major appliance upgrades can definitely improve energy efficiency and lower costs over time. But the cost to accomplish these projects is rising along with so many other products and services. To help alleviate the financial stress, the Ohio Treasurer’s office is now offering the ECO-Link program to help home owners safeguard their investment while improving the efficiency of their home.

What is ECO-Link?

The ECO-Link program helps home owners of Ohio finance home improvement projects that aim to increase energy efficiency. In essence, it’s a financial strategy that allows you to get lower interest rates on home improvement loans for projects that help reduce your energy costs. ECO-Link also supports the Ohio economy by stimulating businesses that provide products and services to home owners. One of the end goals of this program is to revitalize communities through the investment in existing properties.

Eligible borrowers can receive up to a 3% interest rate reduction on new or existing home improvement loans up to $50,000.

Improvement projects that qualify for the program include:

∙ Remodeling
∙ Roofing
∙ Siding
∙ Solar power
∙ HVAC replacement
∙ Appliance upgrades
∙ Landscaping, and more

What Are the Eligibility Requirements?

To be eligible for the ECO-Link program, an applicant

∙ Must use the loan for a primary residence located in Ohio
∙ Must own an existing house or condo (though additional residential classifications may be eligible). New construction homes may be eligible for energy efficiency upgrades only.
∙ Must first receive a loan approval from a participating financial institution prior to applying for ECO-Link
∙ Must use all home loan proceeds for home improvements
∙ Must submit official estimates and receipts for the total amount of the home improvement loan

How the Plan Works

After a loan is first approved by a participating lender, eligible home owners submit an ECO-Link application. The Ohio Treasury reviews the application to ensure program criteria are met and alerts the financial institution and home owner. If approved, the lender makes an official request to the Ohio Treasury, which purchases an investment at a below-market rate. The financial institution uses the interest generated to offset the interest rate reduction and pass the savings on to the borrower.

Check here for a list of participating lenders.

A Valuable Savings Tool

In 2020-2021, ECO-Link helped home owners with interest-rate reductions on over $35 million in home improvement loans. As interest rates rise, ECO-Link becomes an ever-more valuable tool to help reduce the cost of investing in home efficiency and improvement. Learn more about the program here.

Real Estate Term of the Week

Smart Appliance: A device that you connect to your smartphone or tablet for better control, convenience, and information. Examples are a thermostat that learns what temperatures you like throughout the day, or a refrigerator that sends you a text when you’re out of milk.

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