Interview with Sharon Starke

1. How long have you been a licensed loan officer?

Personally, I have been in the lending industry for 20 years. In July 2007, my energies have transitioned to NYS Licensed Loan Originator.

2. Why did you feel it was important for you to become a solar certified professional?

We see a significant and consistent increase of the installation of solar panels on residential properties. It’s will become a critical part of the realtors’ responsibility to effectively and accurately market the value of solar panels. Additionally, a large majority our homebuyers are without the monthly utility cost (FHA, SONYMA or Conventional Loans), it’s important to identify the additional expenses included in the purchase of a home, mostly the cost of their utilities. Identifying how a homeowners can take advantage of New York State Tax Credits and reduce their expenses with Solar Energy is important part of the process and a fiduciary responsibility of the loan officer.

3. How do you feel the real estate market has changed with the increasing popularity of residential solar systems?

It’s easy to recognize the improvements that increase a home’s energy efficiency and lower costs— such as solar panels, will likely grow in demand, from energy savings benefits to positive impacts on the environment

4. What are common questions/concerns homeowners have in regards to buying or selling homes with solar?

Leased Solar vs. Owned Solar Panels

5. As a loan officer, what advantages or disadvantages do homeowners have with purchasing or leasing a solar system?

The disadvantage of buying a home with leased solar panels, could result in qualifying for a lower mortgage amount, some mortgage programs will need you to qualify carrying the monthly lease payments. When the homeowners owns the Panels, mortgage programs to allow borrowers to extend the maximum qualifying ratios as a result of the savings from Solar Panels. Currently, it should be noted, real estate appraisers in New York cannot contribute any additional value to Solar Panels, as they are considered personal property. However the "green" amenities are getting more and more important and newer methods of value analysis are being developed that will help in valuing green features in the future. The 203(k) loan will allow a borrower to purchase a home and finance the cost of owning their Solar Panels in one low fixed rate mortgage.

6. Would you recommend the SCP training to other professionals in the real estate industry?

Absolutely, over the last 10 years - an approximate number – Solar Energy has grown approximately 30 percent per year, every year. We’ll see more homes with Solar Energy and appraisers, attorneys and real estate agents will need to understand their options involving purchasing a home with leases or owned Solar Panels.

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