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HERO Program FAQs

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How is HERO financing paid through my property taxes?

Property owners will see a line item titled “HERO FINANCING” on their property tax bill. The payment will be due in accordance with their property taxes, which can vary by state or region. If a property owner makes property tax payments through an impound escrow account, their lender will increase their monthly payment to include the amount due for HERO financing. For the first year, once payments start, that amount may be higher while their mortgage servicer pays prior amounts due and escrows the next tax payment. If you have any questions or for more information, please give us a call Monday – Friday, 8am to 5pm PST at 855-225-HERO (855-225-4376).

What interest rates does HERO offer?

The interest rates for HERO are dependent on the financing term. HERO offers flexible terms of 5-25 years, depending on the useful life of the improvements and the state in which they are financed. HERO financing is paid through an assessment on the homeowner's property tax bill, and the interest may be tax deductible. Please consult a tax advisor regarding the deductibility of interest, as PACE financing interest rates vary.

Since HERO is part of my property assessment, is it tax-deductible?

The interest on HERO payments may be tax deductible. Property owners should consult a tax advisor regarding potential tax benefits. The IRS has offered specific guidance on Topic 503.

Can rebates or tax credits be used with HERO financing?

Yes, homeowners can still receive any rebate or tax credit that is offered by their local utility, city, county or the federal government. The HERO Program does not affect the rebate process in any way.

Can I sell or refinance my home if it has a HERO assessment?

Yes, homes with HERO assessments can be sold or refinanced at any point, and unlike many other forms of financing, the assessment may be able to remain on the property, in which case the buyer would assume the remaining assessment payments. The seller should contact HERO Property Advisors as soon as possible for guidance on your options. The FHA and VA have issued clear guidance in support of PACE assessments remaining on the property when a home is sold and a FHA- or VA-secured mortgage is used by the purchaser. Subordination of the HERO assessment, if required by a lender, may also be available. HERO Property Advisors is available at 855-225-HERO (855-225-4376) or by visiting hpa.heroprogram.com.

About HERO - Frequently Asked Questions

What does "HERO" stand for?

HERO stands for Home Energy Renovation Opportunity.

What is the HERO Program?

The HERO Program offers a unique financing option, repaid through your property taxes, for upgrades that increase energy efficiency, comfort and savings. Water-saving upgrades are also available in drought-impacted areas, such as California, and hurricane protection upgrades are eligible in Florida.

See how HERO works ›

How is HERO different from other forms of financing?

HERO is a PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) program that provides financing for energy-efficient, water-conserving, renewable energy and hurricane protection home improvements. Types of products that are eligible for HERO vary by state, depending on local legislation. HERO offers consumers access to these products because the HERO financing program is repaid as an assessment on your property taxes. The interest on these payments may be tax deductible*, and high efficiency or performance ratings mean installed products may lower utility or insurance bills.

Approval for HERO financing is primarily based on the equity in the property owner's home and their debt payment history, rather than their credit score. HERO finances 100% of the cost to purchase and install eligible products, with fixed rates and flexible terms of 5-25 years, depending on the useful life of the improvements and the state in which they are financed. Should the homeowner decide to sell their property before their HERO assessment is paid in full, the responsibility for any remaining balance may be able to transfer to a new property owner (please see Selling and Refinancing for more details).

*Property owners should consult their tax advisor regarding potential tax benefits.

How is HERO financing paid through my property taxes?

Property owners will see a line item titled “HERO FINANCING” on their property tax bill. The payment will be due in accordance with their property taxes, which can vary by state or region. If a property owner makes property tax payments through an impound escrow account, their lender will increase their monthly payment to include the amount due for HERO financing. For the first year, once payments start, that amount may be higher while their mortgage servicer pays prior amounts due and escrows the next tax payment. If you have any questions or for more information, please give us a call Monday – Friday, 8am to 5pm PST at 855-225-HERO (855-225-4376).

Who can apply for HERO?

Any property owner who lives in a city or county where HERO has been approved by the local government can apply for HERO financing. To find out if HERO is available in your community, please check our communities list.

Apply now ›

Are all contractors qualified to install products financed through HERO?

No. Only contractors registered and in good standing with HERO can install products financed through HERO. Each state has different qualification requirements in order to register for HERO. Contractors can determine applicable eligibility requirements at our contractors page.

Find a contractor ›

Am I required to get an energy audit for my property?

While a residential or commercial energy/water audit is not required to participate in the HERO Program, it is recommended in certain cases, particularly when a homeowner is looking to do whole-property improvements for the purpose of maximizing their energy and water-cost savings. An energy audit by a certified auditor may be the best way for a homeowner to determine which eligible products are best suited for their property. In addition, the cost of the audit is eligible for financing through HERO, along with the eligible products themselves.

Do I need to obtain a building permit?

If a property owner's city or county has building permit requirements, both the homeowner and contractor are responsible for obtaining all necessary permits and completing inspections, including final inspection sign-off, from the appropriate city or county building department. Property owner's should speak with your contractor for further information.

Can HERO be used to finance more than one project?

Yes, property owners can finance multiple projects. However, all projects must be approved in order to make sure they meet efficiency standards.

Can I view a sample of my HERO Financing Documents in Spanish?

Yes. Please visit our sample documents page. Then, enter your ZIP code to find the Spanish language version of our sample financing documents for your area.

What happens if a property is sold?

Please see our frequently asked questions about selling and refinancing.

HERO Program Interest Rates and Costs

What interest rates does HERO offer?

The interest rates for HERO are dependent on the financing term. HERO offers flexible terms of 5-25 years, depending on the useful life of the improvements and the state in which they are financed. HERO financing is paid through an assessment on the homeowner's property tax bill, and the interest may be tax deductible. Please consult a tax advisor regarding the deductibility of interest, as PACE financing interest rates vary.

Since HERO is part of my property assessment, is it tax-deductible?

The interest on HERO payments may be tax deductible. Property owners should consult a tax advisor regarding potential tax benefits. The IRS has offered specific guidance on Topic 503.

Can rebates or tax credits be used with HERO financing?

Yes, homeowners can still receive any rebate or tax credit that is offered by their local utility, city, county or the federal government. The HERO Program does not affect the rebate process in any way.

Selling, Buying, or Refinancing a HERO-Improved Home

How do I contact HERO if I have questions about buying, selling or refinancing a HERO-improved home?

Our in-house team of real estate professionals, HERO Property Advisors, is available to answer any HERO-related questions about buying, selling or refinancing a HERO-improved home. A HERO Property Advisor can be reached Monday – Friday, 8am to 5pm PST at 855-225-HERO (855-225-4376).

Can I sell or refinance my home if it has a HERO assessment?

Yes, homes with HERO assessments can be sold or refinanced at any point, and unlike many other forms of financing, the assessment may be able to remain on the property, in which case the buyer would assume the remaining assessment payments. The seller should contact HERO Property Advisors as soon as possible for guidance on your options. The FHA and VA have issued clear guidance in support of PACE assessments remaining on the property when a home is sold and a FHA- or VA-secured mortgage is used by the purchaser. Subordination of the HERO assessment, if required by a lender, may also be available. HERO Property Advisors is available at 855-225-HERO (855-225-4376) or by visiting hpa.heroprogram.com.

Does a HERO assessment affect the buying or selling process?

Yes. Listing agents should disclose that there is an additional assessment on the property tax bill and may want to mention energy and/or water-saving benefits as a result of the improvement. Responsibility for any remaining balance may be able to transfer to the buyer when they sell their home, since the improvement stays with the property. The buyer’s lender may require the balance to be fully or partially paid off, based on what kind of mortgage the buyer is using and/or to help with the buyer’s debt-to-income ratio. If the prospective buyer’s lender requires subordination of the HERO assessment in order for the assessment to remain on the property, we are available to help with this process. For additional information, we recommend calling HERO Property Advisors 855-225-HERO (855-225-4376) or visiting hpa.heroprogram.com.

What additional or specific paperwork should be considered when buying or selling a home with a HERO assessment?

There is typically no additional or specific paperwork required when buying or selling a home with a HERO assessment*.  If the buyer of the HERO-improved home is using an FHA- or VA-backed mortgage, HERO can help inform all parties of the possibility that the responsibility for paying the assessment may transfer to the new buyer.

If the HERO project included a solar lease, paperwork transferring ownership of the solar equipment may be required by the solar leasing company. Please contact the leasing company for this paperwork.

If the buyer’s lender is requesting the HERO assessment to be subordinated under the first mortgage at time of sale, call us at 855-225-HERO (855-225-4376) for subordination instructions to initiate the process. You can also visit: hpa.heroprogram.com.

*The Preliminary Title Report should disclose the HERO assessment.

How can payments on the HERO assessment become the responsibility of a new owner upon sale?

The potential buyer of a home with a HERO assessment does not need to qualify or reapply for HERO financing. Responsibility for payment of the remaining balance on a HERO tax assessment may be able to be transferred to new owners. It does so with the sale of the property via the escrow process. Subordination of the HERO assessment, if required by the lender to transfer the obligation, is also available.

If a homeowner wants to transfer the responsibility of the remaining HERO balance to a buyer, what do they need to know?

They need to ensure their listing agent properly discloses the assessment on the Preliminary Title Report, and provide the buyer’s lender that information. If a buyer’s lender objects to the first lien position of the property tax assessment, HERO may offer a subordination contract. However, if the buyer is using an FHA- or VA-insured mortgage, the lender may need guidance from HERO Property Advisors to assist with the transfer. Reach out to HERO Property Advisors by calling 855-225-HERO (855-225-4376).

Is there a prepayment penalty for the HERO assessment?

No, homeowners are free to pay off the HERO assessment at any point in an amount of at least $2,500.

If a buyer’s lender objects to the HERO assessment’s senior lien position (as a property tax), do you offer subordination?

Yes, in many cases, we are able to offer subordination of the HERO assessment, which increases the likelihood the assessment remains on the property, in which case the buyer would assume the remaining assessment payments. With an FHA- or VA-insured mortgage, subordination is usually not necessary. For more information, please give our HERO Property Advisors a call at 855-225-HERO (855-225-4376).

As a real estate agent, what do I need to know about listing or selling a HERO-improved home?

To help real estate professionals to successfully close a HERO home transaction, we host workshops that provide official knowledge about the HERO Program, including the recent support of PACE and guidance from the FHA and VA regarding PACE assessments. These free workshops are designed to answer all your questions about HERO, particularly ones that come up during a property transaction. Register for information about upcoming workshops or request a workshop on our real estate page.

In addition, our team of specialists provide individual agent support throughout the entire transaction process. Reach our team of real estate professionals, HERO Property Advisors, at 855-225-HERO (855-225-4376) or visit us online at hpa.heroprogram.com.

Questions about selling or refinancing?

Call the HERO Property Advisors at 855-225-HERO (855-225-4376)

Eligible Upgrades with PACE Financing from HERO

What improvements can be funded through the HERO Program?

There are more than 60 types of products that qualify for financing through HERO. Most improvements that help conserve energy or generate renewable energy qualify, including:

  • Central heating and air conditioning, including duct replacement
  • Cool roofing
  • Doors and windows
  • Solar panels

Water-efficient and drought-resistant products are available in some states, such as California.  Home improvements that help conserve water include:

  • Drought-tolerant landscaping
  • Artificial turf
  • High-efficiency toilets and fixtures

Hurricane protection upgrades are eligible in Florida.

Explore our list of eligible products for more information. Property owners or contractors who wish to install a product that is not on the list may contact us at 855-HERO-411 (855-437-6411) for a review.

Can I finance eligible products that are already installed?

No. Products that have already been installed are not eligible for financing through HERO.

Who may install products financed through HERO?

Only contractors that have registered with HERO and, in California, a property owner who has signed a Self-Install Agreement, may install products financed through HERO. Contractors must adhere to all licensing requirements in their state or locality. Contractors located in California must have a valid California State Business License (CSLB) to register.

Can property owners install their own eligible products?

Yes, in California. However, the property owner will not be paid for their own labor and must sign a Self-Install Agreement. If the property owner is also a contractor who has registered with HERO and is installing products on his or her own house, they may be reimbursed for the labor costs of their work crew, but not for their own personal time and labor.

Applying & Eligibility - Frequently Asked Questions

Who can apply for HERO?

Any property owner who lives in a city or county where HERO has been approved by the local government can apply for HERO financing. To find out if HERO is available in your community, please check our communities list.

Apply now ›

How does financing through HERO work?

HERO financing is a simple 4-step process:

  1. Apply – Find out how much your home may be approved for.
  2. Select – Choose your project and check out our network of contractors based on your needs and location. 
  3. Sign – After you’ve selected your contractor and project, review your HERO financing terms, and sign your financing documents.
  4. Complete – Finish the installation. Your contractor gets paid only when you certify the work is done to your satisfaction.

Get started ›

What are the eligibility criteria for HERO?

Specific eligibility requirements for residential properties include, but are not limited to, the following: 
  1. Applicant(s) must be the owner(s) of record for the property.
  2. Mortgage-related debt on the Property must not exceed 90% of the value of the Property.
  3. Property owner(s) must be current on their property taxes and there must be no more than one late payment in the past three years.
  4. Property owners must be current on all property debt of the subject property at the time of application and cannot have had more than one 30-day mortgage late payment over the previous 12 months.
  5. Property owner(s) must not have any declared bankruptcies within the past two years, and the property must not be an asset in any bankruptcy proceeding.
  6. The Property must not have any federal or state income tax liens, judgment liens, mechanic’s liens, or similar involuntary liens in excess of $1,000 in most localities.
  7. Some criteria can vary state to state or city to city. For a full list of your eligibility requirements, give us a call at 855-HERO-411 (855-437-6411).

Check eligibility ›

If I owe more on my house than its market value, am I still eligible for HERO?

No. Total mortgage debt on the property cannot exceed 90% of the current value of the property.

Can a mobile home/manufactured home qualify for HERO?

Mobile or manufactured homes are eligible if they are permanently attached to the real property and pay real property taxes (not DMV fees). The owner of the mobile home must also be the owner of the underlying land. Since the fair market value is often not available for mobile or manufactured homes, the tax assessed value or recent appraisal value may need to be used for the debt-to-value and eligible product costs calculations.

Does a condominium qualify for HERO?

Condominiums may be eligible, depending on the Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs) of the complex as well as the physical design of the unit. Condominium owners who apply for financing through HERO may need to obtain written authorization from condominium management stating that the homeowner is allowed to install the proposed eligible products.

Can a property placed in a trust qualify for HERO?

Yes. Trust properties are eligible for HERO as long as adequate documentation of the trust is provided with the application, as well as the applicants' authority under the trust. All trustees must sign all HERO Program documents.

What are Renovate America’s contractor registration requirements?

To register with Renovate America, contractors must provide the following information:

  1. Valid IRS W-9.
  2. Proof of insurance documentation, including, but not limited to, meeting all general liability, bonding and workers compensation insurance requirements for the state’s contractor licensing board or local equivalent (limits may vary by state). 
  3. Valid/active contractor’s license when a statewide licensing board is present. In the absence of a statewide licensing board, the contractor must provide valid business and/or trade license(s) for the cities and counties the contractor does business in, if required.
  4. Company address, Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN), and tax classification (such as sole proprietor, LLC, etc.). This information must match what is on the W-9, insurance documents, contractor license and/or business licenses.
  5. Signed Renovate America Registered Contractor Participation Agreement. 
  6. Successful identification verification or uploaded government-issued identification such as a license, passport, etc.

Additional contractor requirements may vary by state or region. Renovate America will conduct a due diligence review of the items provided and inform the contractor of approval or next steps.

Solar Leasing with the HERO Program

Does HERO provide solar leasing or power purchase agreement (PPA) financing?

Working with select partners, HERO provides 100% financing for the lease/PPA of eligible solar energy systems. HERO offers financing for leases up to 25-year* terms, and the financing is an assessment on your property tax, paid monthly or annually depending on your state of residence.

*HERO offers flexible terms of up to 25 years, depending on the useful life of the improvements chosen and the state in which they are applied. The HERO financing term cannot exceed the length of the solar agreement.

How does solar leasing work?

HERO provides a new way for property owners to finance the lease of a solar system, that may better meet their financial needs. HERO financing for a solar lease is repaid through a voluntary property tax assessment on the property tax bill. How billing is received will depend on the state in which the property is located. HERO offers flexible terms of up to 25 years, depending on the useful life of the improvements chosen and the state in which they are applied. The HERO financing term cannot exceed the length of the solar agreement. To find out more, contact 855-HERO-411 (855-437-6411).

Can I sell or refinance my property with solar lease financing?

Yes, HERO properties can be sold or refinanced at any point. Remaining HERO assessment balances may be paid off or the remaining assessment payments may be assumed by the new owner. Property owners should be aware that lending criteria can vary between lenders. Some lenders and/or buyers require the outstanding assessment balance to be paid off when a property owner refinances or sells a property. The selling and refinancing process has recently been streamlined for HERO property owners, buyers, and real estate professionals with the assistance of our in-house group of dedicated real estate professionals, HERO Property Advisors, available at 855-HERO-411 (855-437-6411) for assistance at any point in the transaction.

Is there a prepayment penalty for HERO financing when used with a solar lease?

No. A complete payoff of the HERO assessment requires paying off the remaining principal amount and any associated interest with no prepayment penalty. Please refer to the lease for details on any remaining lease obligations. A property owner may have a remaining lease obligation that they would be required to pay at close of escrow. Please contact HERO Property Advisors at 855-225-HERO (855-225-4376) for assistance with a prepayment schedule for your HERO financing.

How do I get a solar lease financed by HERO?

Call HERO at 855-HERO-411 (855-437-6411) to identify a solar lease partner near you.

Can a property owner install their own eligible products under a solar lease?

No, property owners are not able to install the system. The solar lease company will direct the installation of the system by one of their participating contractors in order to ensure the function and production of the system as required by the lease.

Need more help? Call 855-HERO-411.

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