Counterpointe Sustainable Real Estate FAQs

F.A.Q.
General
What is the CounterpointeSRE Program ?

The Program is an administrator for PACE programs that utilizes the expertise and resources of  Counterpointe Energy Solutions in a focused effort to provide a nationwide funding platform. The Program provides up to 100% financing for energy efficiency, renewable energy, water conservation and wind/seismic retrofits for property owners.

 

 

Why is this Program different than loans ?
Unlike loans, the Program offers financing through a property assessment and repayments are made through your property taxes. If the property is sold, the remaining assessment can be passed to the new property owner.
 
The Program offers 100% financing for energy or disaster mitigation retrofits including soft costs, the cost of the product , installation and other approved ancillary costs. The Program has terms up to 30 years at low fixed interest rates. No balloon payments and assessments are self-amortizing. Terms cannot exceed the useful life of the product or improvement. May qualify for off balance sheet treatment.
How is Program financing repaid ?

The Program financing is repaid through your property tax bill and collected with your regular property taxes as non-ad valorem assessment.

You will see an additional line item on your property tax bill for your scheduled payment. First payment may be deferred for up to 2 years by capitalizing interest.

If you have your taxes escrowed by your mortgage lender, the bank will adjust your monthly payment to include the amount due for the financing. 

 

 

 

Who is eligible for this Program ?

The Program is available in numerous communities nationwide with more coming every day. Visit the Our Communities page to see full listing or apply now to check eligibility button of the initial application form to see if the Program is available in your area. If the Program is not yet available in your community, you may email our Government Relations Department who will work with you to bring our program to your area. Most commercial property types are eligible including retail, office, hotel and multfamily buildings. If done by property owner, new construction may be considered for financing.  Previously completed projects may also be eligible for financing. 

 

What Are the eligibility criteria for the Program ?
The eligibility criteria vary slightly from state to state , but generally they include :
 
  • The Property taxes must be current in all states with no  late payments over the past 3 years in Florida, Wisconsin, Missouri and parts of Arkansas and no more than one late payment over the past 3 years in California.
  • All mortgage related debt plus the Program financing may not exceed 100% of the value of the property.
  • The Property Owner must be current on their mortgage at the time of the application without any delinquencies of more than 30 days in the past 12 months or since the property owner acquired the property, whichever is shorter. 
  • The Property must not be subject to outstanding involuntary liens such mechanics or municipal nuisance liens. 

  • The Property owner must not have declared bankruptcy in the last 7 years and property must not be subject to an active bankruptcy. 
  • Some states require lender consent be obtained.
  • Property with possible environmental risks may require additional evaluation before applications are accepted.

 

Project Costs must be within industry cost guidelines and can include both the cost of the Eligible or Qualifying Products and the installation costs. Products must be permanently affixed to the property.

Installation costs may include, but are not limited to the cost of and fees for energy, water and similar audits, appraisals, labor, designs, drawings, engineering services, building permit fees, surveys, inspections, materials required in connection with the installation of the Eligible Products and technical reviews. 

Project Costs also include the cost of pre-paid warranties and service contracts for repairs and maintenance.  

Do Leased Properties or those with Ground Leases qualify for the Program ?
Yes. Properties with lease agreements may qualify for the Program subject to proper and adequate documentation, receipt of required property authorizations and signing of all financing documents by all owners. Properties may be subject to other conditions. Please contact the Program for details.
 
Do I have to select one of the Program Registered Professionals or can I select other professionals ?
Requirements vary by state, but one of the benefits of the Program is access to Professionals in your area who perform the type of improvement that you are planning. Owners have access to eligible professionals through their web account.
Our elite professionals and partners have special training or experience with our program.
You are welcome to refer your own professional apply to the Program for our quick registration process.
Please refer your professional to the Enrollment section of this website.
How do I start?

Apply via our website to provide contact and basic property information. The property will be screened for eligibility and then a representative will  contact you with further information about the Program and will answer your questions. At this point, owners may decide to proceed with application or place on hold as they continue planning the improvements. Time needed for financing depends upon jurisdiction and project, but generally requires at least 30-60 days from the time documents are received for underwriting. Owners may receive financial approval for a maximum possible assessment and then place application on hold for up to 10 months to allow time to select contractor and to finish the planning process. Further extension may be requested, but may warrant reunderwriting the property.

Brokers or others with multiple properties may email a spreadsheet or list of property addresses  for assistance with the application process.

Eligible Projects

Eligible Projects

Improvements related to the installation of renewable energy and energy efficiency products. Some jurisdictions include some risk mitigation improvements (flood, wind, seismic), water conservation or other enivronmental hazard mitigation

See the Products page for a listing of eligible products and improvements.

Examples of project types include but are not limited to:

  • Energy efficiency equipment, such as HVAC, windows, doors, building envelope, green or cool roofs, meters, elevators, pools and control systems
  • Renewable energy or alternative energy sources, such as solar systems, wind power and storage systems
  • Tenant enhancements, such as LEED or WELL certification improvements
  • In California, seismic strengthening improvements are eligible as well as water conservation measures, such as irrigation control, artificial turf and low flow fixtures.
  • In Florida, wind resistance improvements such as upgrades to roof or installation of impact window, doors and shutters
  • In Rhode Island, some environmental hazard improvements may be financed

Owner Associations

Counterpointe Sustainable Real Estate works with owner associations (OA) for retrofits involving common areas. There is no cost to the OA and funds are paid directly to the OA for eligible improvements in the common area retrofit. Unit owners may include additional projects to their individual units in the financing. Only PACE eligible improvements, the related work to these improvements and the soft costs may be financed.

TIC

Please note that for TIC and other properties with one property tax statement, all unit owners must participate in the Program. Minimum Assessment Amount is $100,000 to $150,000- please contact us for specific information about minimum for these properties. Note that Minimum Assessment Amount is not minimum project amount as design, engineering, permit, inspections, closing and financing costs may be included in the assessment.

CONDO

For condominium or other properties where each unit owner receives a property tax statement, all unit owners do not need to participate in the Program. Application should be first made through the Owners' Association to determine eligibility of the project and planned improvements. Seismic retrofits are eligible improvements and unit owners may apply to the program without owners' association. All other common area improvements first require approval of the planned improvements as eligible for financing.

Owners' Association submits planned improvements, estimated costs and estimated cost per unit to the Program. The Program requires a minimum assessment amount for each unit. If the application from the Owners' Association (OA) is accepted, the OA must sign agreement with the Program before individual owners apply for financing if owner's association is to receive disbursements.

Once the application from the Owner's Association and the project has received approval from the Program, the individual unit owners may submit applications via www.CounterpointeSRE.com for individual financial approval. Applications for individual owners will not be accepted until the project has been approved by the Program with the exception of seismic retrofit. The Program requires a minimum assessment amount for each unit. For each unit owners that wish to participate in the Program, the Program requires an application and financial approval. Once the unit owners have received financial approval, the Program will proceed to closing the Assessments and advance funds to the Owner Association if desired by the unit owner. No funds can be disbursed until the Assessments have been closed, which the Program usually close prior to the start of construction. For condominiums, each unit requires a separate assessment.

Owners' Associations should contact us for more information on this Program.

Commercial
Why should I consider the Program financing when my bank is offering a lower interest rate?
PACE provides an innovative solutions for capital improvements.
 

Assessment may qualify as an operating expense thereby preserving capital and credit lines for investment. PACE enhances property value without ROI limitations.

Energy projects can deliver net positve annual cash flows to owners or tenants in first year after project completion. Projects with a savings to investment ratio greater than one are cash flow positive.

Optimized building cap stack with potential for off-balance sheet treatment. PACE improves cash flows of the property through utility savings and lower capital costs than both equity and mezzanine debt.

No acceleration clauses

 

The Program financing is considered a tax assessment levied by the local governmental taxing authority, similar to a infrastructure improvement bond. Because the financing is a tax it is reported similar to other line item taxes on the income statement of the property. Please consult with your tax advisor for further information on how this type of financing affects your property. 
 
  • The financing is self amortizing ( no balloon payment) with terms that match the useful life of the improvement. 
  • Fixed interest rates up to 30 years 
  • Similar to a non ad-valorem tax, the regular payments are collected along with the normal real estate taxes on your tax cycle.
  • 100% financing of project, including all soft costs such as permits, inspections and design fees
  • Closing costs can be capitalized
  • Maturities between 5-30 years up to the estimated useful life of the improvement
  • Prepayment is not required upon sale or refinancing of the property
  • May qualify for off balance sheet treatment
  • Non-ad valorem assessment for tax purposes
 
Is there a Balloon payment for my Program Financing ?
No. The  Program financings are self amortizing with terms up to 30 years. The term must not exceed the useful life of the improvement. For some improvements, such as solar panels, the warranty may determine the maximum term that may be selected.
Is there a due on sale clause in the Program?
No. The Program financings are considered voluntary tax assessments and as such are part of the property taxes. If the property is sold or refinanced, the Program does not require prepayment of the assessment. There is a prepayment fee (currently $500) and premium for prepayments of the assessment. Residential single family are excluded from prepayment premium.
What is the process for approving a buyer of my property ?
Upon a sale or transfer of ownership of your property,  the Program Assessment transfers to the new buyer similar to a tax. There are no fees or approvals required.
Are there default acceleration clauses?
Because the Program financing is considered a Tax Assessment, the collection process will follow the normal tax lien process for each jurisdiction. The assessment is superior to the mortgage in credit standing and would be considered a regular tax lien with all the same rights and remedies of a tax lien in bankruptcy court. 
We recently completed some basic energy and water efficiency upgrades to our property. Can i still finance them?

The Program is available only for improvements to be made to a property. Therefore, previously completed improvements are not eligible for financing.

My company is building a new facility. Can the Program be used to finance a portion of the construction?

New construction may be eligible for the Program if done by property owner and if upgrades improve the energy and water use efficiency of a property. Please call us to discuss your project.

Professionals
Why is the Program financing different than other construction loans ?

Unlike other construction loans, the Program  financing offers 100% of the cost of the improvement including development soft costs, the cost of the product , installations and other approved ancillary costs. The Program offers low fixed interest rates and financing terms up to 30 years. Repayments are made through your property taxes and in case the property is sold, the remaining assessment can be passed to the new property owner.

What is required to become a Program eligible Professional ?

Registration process is a quick and easy process.

To become an Eligible Registered Professional :

  • Apply online. You will  be contacted with registration materials and Program requirements.
  • Submit signed Registered Professionals Agreement and other required documentation as requested. You will be notified once they are reviewed and approved.
  • Once approved, you will receive Program overview with process and procedures
  • To maintain eligibility, you must comply with the Program Requirements for Registered Professionals

 

The Program eligible professionals must meet the following Minimum Requirements:

  • Possess all valid licenses, certifications and registrations (federal, state, and local) legally required to make the Qualifying Improvement(s).
  • Professionals who are not required to be licensed are eligible for the Program. Please submit online application or contact us for further details.
  • License must be active and not on probationary status
  • Maintain the appropriate insurance coverage for work to be performed
  • Satisfy workers' compensation requirements
  • Satisfy other federal, state and local requirements associated with the Qualifying Improvement(s)

In addition, specialized improvements such as solar installation, flood mitigation or seismic retrofits may require additional certifications, licenses or training.

Brokers, Manufacturers and other commercial real estate professionals may wish to register with the program to have access to state of the art web accounts that allow access to resources of the Program. Please contact us to explore partnering with our Program.

 

 

 

How do I become an Elite Professional or Partner with the Program ?

Commercial Real Estate professionals, project developers, manufacturers and others may benefit from the resources of our Program. Please contact us for partnership opportunities.

Some contractors and engineers may qualify as Elite Registered Professionals- please see Elite Professionals page of this website for more information.

 

How does the Program support Registered Professionals ?

Registered Professionals are eligible to work on the Program  funded projects.

Along with leads and co-branding, another benefit to becoming a benefit with the Program is that your business will be included in lists provided to property owners who request eligible professionals in their area.

You may also work with our Marketing Department to showcase your business to property owners through their web accounts.

 

 

Are progress payments available to offset the upfront cost of materials ?
Yes. The Program allows for progress payments for projects. Property owners work with contractors to submit a suggested payment schedule. Generally the program has a maximum of four (4) draws although more may be requested. First payment can be scheduled to be paid upon commencement, to pay subcontractors or to order materials. Solar Contractors may ask for an initial progress payment up to 50% of the installation costs to cover equipment purchases.
How are payments made by the Program ?

Funds are disbursed in accordance with a preapproved schedule of 2 to 4 progress payments and subject to reaching milestones identified by property owner and submission of required documents.
First payment can be made same day that the assessment closes and wired directly to registered professionals. Before closing the assessment, property owner and professional submit a progress payment schedule of 2-4 payments with identified scope of work and milestones. More information about scheduling the progress payments is available through web account or from a representative. Owners may request to be reimbursed if they elect to pay professionals directly themselves. A typical progress payment schedule has first payment scheduled to order materials or upon start of demolition and the final payment upon 100% completed installation with all final inspections and approvals. Up to 2 progress payments can be scheduled, but more payments may be requested by the property owner for larger projects. Owners may schedule reimbursement of their costs for design, permits, etc with any of the scheduled progress payments and contingency funds may be included in the financing as assessments may not be increased once closed.
How quickly are payments made for completed projects ?
Final payment is generally subject to submission of passed final city inspections and approvals along with other conditions.
How do I determine if a Property is eligible?
Properties are eligible by jurisdiction.
To check eligibility:
          1, Click "Apply" and elgibility by jurisdiction check will appear as first step. 
          2. Check "Our Communities" page of the website to determine current jurisdictional eligibility. 
          3. Email property address to us. We will do quick screen to determine eligibility. 
          4. Registered Professionals have access to eligibility tools through Resources section of their web accounts.
 
Our dedicated Government Relations Department can help bring the Program to your area or may already be working in your jurisdiction. 
If a property is not eligible, please contact us. Our Program is rapidly expanding with new jurisdictions opting into the Program.
       
You may email spreadsheet of addresses and we will perform quick underwriting and eligibility screen. You can expect a rapid response as we understand the pressures of responding to your clients.
Seismic
Why is the Program different then other property construction loans ?

Repayments are made through your property taxes and in case the property is sold, the remaining assessment can be passed to the new property owner. The Program offers financing terms up to 30 years for Seismic Retrofits at low fixed interest rates. Please see Seismic Retrofit section of this website for links to information about rent passthrough. Unlike other construction loans, the Program offers 100% of the Seismic retrofit including permits, inspections, engineering plans and other soft costs of construction. 

Is the Program limited to soft story retrofits ?

The Program is not limited to the soft story portion of your building.

You can finance other energy efficiency, renewable generation or water conservation improvements.

For buildings that are subject to mandatory structural retrofit, there may be opportunities for adding dwelling units during the seismic retrofit. For example, in San Francisco buildings with five or more existing units, you may add as many ADUs as fit and meet all planning and building code controls. For buildings that have four existing Dwelling Units or fewer, one ADU is permitted. The Zoning Administrator may grant an Accessory Dwelling Unit a complete or partial waiver of the density limits and parking, rear yard, exposure or open space standards of Building Code for buildings undergoing a simultaneous mandatory seismic retrofit. In addition, you may raise the building up to three feet to create ground floor ceiling heights suitable for residential use and maintain eligibility to enter condo-conversion programs, if such programs become available in the future. 

 

Please contact us for questions about the eligibility of other planned improvements.

Does the Program cover non structural aspects of the seismic retrofit ?

The Program will finance 100% of the seismic retrofit project, not just the structural steel or other hardening measure but all related work for the design. For example, if an electrical  panel must be moved in order to properly locate a steel beam, the entire cost of the electrical work and new materials would be covered.

Can the Program finance my Residential building or condo seismic retrofit ?

The Seismic Retrofit Program can be used to finance a condo association retrofit. Mixed use buildings or 4 family buildings may also be eligible.

Residential buildings of less than 4 units are PACE eligible, but not eligible for financing for seismic strengthening improvements.

My retrofit is not planned to start until next year. When should I apply to the Program for financing ?

We understand that Sesimic Retrofits require planning, permits and coordination with contractors and tenants. Applications may be placed on hold at any time during the process. 

Early application determines eligibility of the property and allows our representatives to answer your questions. The next step is to receive financial approval and then technical approval of the project.

FINANCIAL APPROVAL

Submission of all the required documents for underwriting allows you to receive financial approval up to a maximum assessment amount. If time elapses between financial approval and closing, you will be required to submit latest version of the documents required for underwriting, such as updated rent rolls and financials. Mortgages may need to reverified at closing. Appraisals are generally accepted for up to 12 months.

TECHNICAL APPROVAL

Engineering plans require evaluation by a sesimic engineer and your contractor's proposal is to be submitted for PACE approval of costs and products. Unless there are changes to your plans or proposal while your application is on hold, technical approval of your project does not need to be repeated.

Please contact us for more information.

How do I learn more about the program ?

Apply via our website to provide contact and basic property information. A representative will determine the eligibility of your property and then contact you to answer questions and to provide further information about the Program.

Special Programs
Green Roof Program

The Program will finance 100% of the costs for Green or Living Roofs in eligible jurisdictions. All design, engineering, permits and installation costs may be included in the financing of the installation. Related costs may also be included such as stairway or elevator access. Other energy efficiency or program eligible improvements may be included with the financing of the green roof installation which allows property owners to install solar panels, to upgrade mechanicals or to perform other deferred maintenance. Please see Program eligible improvements for partial list of other eligible improvements. Some green wall installations may be also financed if they involve building envelope and improve energy efficiency to required specifications.

All improvements installed must be permanent improvements. Green roof installations that are not permanent are not eligible for financing. The Program requires that professionals involved in green roof installation demonstrate expertise or specialized training in green roofs.

Prepaid warranty, service or maintenance contracts are 100% eligible for financing. The program requires a maintenance plan, but contract is not required to be included in the financing.

One of the unique benefits of the Program for green roofs is that the 100% financing with long term, fixed rate payments help property owners preserve capital. First payment may be deferred for up to 2 years and is repaid through property taxes, which allows property owner to pass through costs to tenants or to hotel guests if green tax is permitted. Property owners retain these all tax rebates or other incentives. Cost of financing is less than equity and mezzanine debt and is a lower cost option in the capital stack for financing larger commercial projects-please contact us for more information.

Some states require the improvements to have a savings to investment ratio greater than one, a performance guarantee or other performance measurements. Please contact our representative to learn more about requirements for your property's location.

The Program is committed to our cities and can help city planners reduce heat island effect, improve air quality and manage stormwater by providing our Program to property owners in their city. The Program has partnered with San Francisco to provide financing to support city planning programs. Please contact our government department for more information about private public partnership information.

What Kind of Wind mitigation products does the Program finance ?

The Program can provide 100% financing on all types of wind resistance improvements, including, but not limited to:

  • Strengthening the roof deck attachment
  • Creating a secondary water barrier to prevent water intrusion
  • Installing storm shutters
  • Reinforcing roof-to-wall connections
  • Impact windows and doors
Municipalities
What Are the Benefits of the Program to Local Governments ?

The Program was formed by local governments for local governments with the special purpose to provide long-term financing for structural improvements that encourage renewable generation, energy efficiency and disaster resilience (wind, flood and seismic resiliency upgrades are available in certain areas or pending legislation). The Program is an independent funding source, and any municipality may subscribe by resolution or ordinance to make this financing opportunity available in its community.

Is the Program Statewide or just Local?
The Program provides the strength and financial stability of a statewide statutory program, yet supports home rule by allowing each municipality to decide whether to invite the Program in to provide PACE financing.
 
* As a local government, the Program removes both the administrative burden and liability from participating municipalities. Plus, its activities are fully transparent, subject to public records and government-in-the-sunshine requirements.
 
* Municipalities can legally and prudently opt-in to the Program without an RFP, allowing job creation to begin immediately.
Why Should a Local Governments Opt-In to the Program?
The Program was formed for local governments with the special purpose to provide long-term financing for structural improvements that encourage renewable generation, energy efficiency and disaster resilience (seismic, flood and wind in certain areas pending legislation). The Program is an independent funding source and any local government may subscribe by ordinance or resolution to make this financing opportunity available to its community.
How Does The Program Provide Jobs or Economic Growth?
The PACE program has the potential to stimulate significant local economic activity and put contractors back to work. PACE creates more work for contractors. Those contractors who participate in PACE across the country have realized increases in their sales and have often expanded their workforce to handle the extra demand for their services. PACE will also increase revenues for local building departments issuing building permits.
 
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) estimates that 17 direct jobs are created for every $1 million financed by the Program as well as creates two indirect jobs (see http://aceee.org/fact-sheet/deeper-methonology). This will directly affect the building trades across the state, putting many skilled unemployed and underemployed contractors back to work.
How Does The Program Help Property Owners?
The Program gives Property Owners access to long-term financing for up to 100% of all costs associated with energy efficiency, renewable generation and disaster resilience (wind, flood and seismic in certain areas). Payments for these improvements can be structured to generate positive cash flow to the Property Owner because the cost savings derived from them exceeds the amount of assessment payment. Property Owners may also achieve savings by reducing insurance premiums for disaster resilience improvements (available only in certain areas or pending changes in current legislation).
What Are The Costs To a Local Government?
All costs of administration are carefully borne by present (and future) program users not the local government general funds. The benefits of the program require no staff time from any subscribing local government for implementation. Special districts are not required nor are the costs associated with setting up a district. The subscribing local governments may assist in promoting the program to generate economic stimulus and jobs creation to meet their local needs but it is not required.
What Is The Subscription Process?
Local Governments can legally and opt into the Program through the sponsoring statewide Joint Powers authority or local improvement authority without an RFP, allowing job creation to begin immediately.
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