Friday, May 24

PACE program offers home repair option; residents urged to research cost before applying

As many Florida residents await state grants to harden their homes and lower home insurance premiums, one program is ready to hand out loans.

Hardening a home against storms isn’t cheap, and one way to do it is with a state program that utilizes private money to give homeowners loans.

The PACE Funding Agency loan program allows individuals to perform home improvements like replacing their roofs and windows.

State Rep. Mike Caruso, R-Delray Beach, brought it up as an option for residents during WPTV’s recent “Coverage Collapse” special.

“It was fine for me because it was something I wanted to do, a home improvement,” Boynton Beach resident Devii Pratt said. “I didn’t know (the cost) was going to hit me as hard as it did.”

Pratt is referring to the cost of repaying the loan, which is done through her property taxes.

It’s been a point of contention among some county tax collectors concerned about the risks including foreclosure and consumer protections for homeowners. Also, there is litigation.

Mike Moran, the program’s executive director, defended the criticism in October.

“Personally, I feel there’s some government political bureaucrats trying to take away this monetary financing option for people to improve their property,” Moran said. “That’s a personal opinion of mine.”

Pratt offers this advice for others considering using the PACE program.

“I would say just do your homework,” Pratt said. “Make sure you go in and you research … make sure everything is economically feasible for you to be able to handle it.”

Homeowners need to be careful and do a lot of research before attempting to get these loans. The executive director of the PACE program said recently they have been getting an increase in people using these loans to get new roofs and also trying to save on their insurance bills.

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