In April, Fannie Mae closed the first loan under its Multifamily Green Building Certification Pricing Break program. It lent $10.2 million to the Station House, a 50-unit apartment community in Maplewood, NJ, that has earned a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the US Green Building Council. Fannie Mae rewarded the property with interest rate that is lower than usual by 10 basis points for the permanent loan. That will save the owners of the property, Prudential Real Estate Investors, $101,000 over the life of the loan.

Fannie Mae is expecting many more Multifamily Green Building Certification Pricing Break loans to close this year. We have a hugely-growing pipeline, says Chrissa Pagitsas, director of Fannie Maes Multifamily Green Initiative.

Fannie Maes underwriters also consider the likely savings from energy efficient design when they figure the likely income from the property. That allows them to underwrite larger loans. A sustainably-developed property that could normally support a $10 million permanent loan would be able to support a $10.26 million loanan extra $260,000. We are going to give you extra loan proceeds, says Pagitsas. We value these properties and want them on our books.

Fannie Maes bond investors also recognize the value the sustainable design has given these properties. By the end of 2014, they had already bought $140 million in Fannie Mae bonds backed by the loans to the energy-efficient properties in Fannie Maes Green Preservation Plus program.

Sales premium

Investors also now pay more for energy-efficient commercial and multifamily real estate properties, according to Energy Efficiency amp; Financial Performance, a report from the US Department of Energy (DOE), which reviewed more than 50 studies conducted by other firms and organizations. Buyers paid 10 percent to 31 percent more for properties that have earned a LEED certification, compared to comparable buildings without the certification. Buyers paid 6 percent to 10 percent more the properties that had earned an Energy Star designation.

Energy-efficient properties may also attract a better class of buyer. The most aggressive capital for multifamilythe pension fundsare very much into sustainability, says Jon Hallgrimson, executive vice president for CBRE. You would greatly narrow the field of possible buyers for an apartment property if its not green.

Thats a big change from a few years ago. Five, six, seven years ago it was not so much of a threshold issue, says Hallgrimson.


Researchers are also quantifying the savings provided by energy efficient design. The most efficient properties save as much as $165,000 per year compared to the least efficient properties, for an average, 125-unit apartment property, according to Fannie Maes study of more than 1,000 apartment properties across the country.

Properties with an energy designation spend an average of 13 percent less on electricity and utility compared to similar, non-rated properties, according to DOEs survey of more than 50 other studies.

Despite all this good news, however, property owners should be cautious as they invest in improving their own properties. They are likely to save a lot of money, as well as add a lot of value to their properties. However, they might not save not save quite as much as they hoped, according to a 2012 report from DeutscheBank that studied retrofits of 230 apartment properties. While fuel savings projections ranged from 25 percent to 50 percent across about two-thirds of the buildings, most projects actually saved 10 percent to 40 percent, according to the report.

A lot of the time, what your engineer tells you your going to get, thats not what youre going to get, says Allison Porter, vice president of sustainability services for Cushman amp; Wakefield.

El Paso County will be one of eight Colorado counties to receive federal aid to clean up from landslides, the Small Business Administration announced last week.

The county was awarded a disaster declaration for landslides on Thursday, an action that triggers several loans ranging from several thousands to millions of dollars for El Paso County residents, said Yolanda Stokes, a spokeswoman for the SBA. Starting on Tuesday, the SBA will be setting up shop in Colorado Springs until Oct. 1, at the Colorado Springs Fire Department headquarters, at 375 Printers Parkway, from 8 am to 5 pm. For the next few weeks, El Paso County residents can visit the center and get help applying for loans to repair landslide damage on their properties.

Since April, there has been a slew of landslides around the county, from Rockrimmon to the Cheyenne Mountain neighborhoods. Landslides can be caused when excessive moisture causes the earth to slide over the bedrock - they can happen quickly, or slowly move for years. In most cases, there is very little that can be done to stop them, beyond stabilizing the surrounding landscape.

Heres what residents need to know about landslides and SBA loans in El Paso County:

Where have there been landslides?

There have been four major areas within the city of Colorado Springs that have been impacted by landslides: homes in Rockrimmon, homes in the A-1 Mobile Home Park, homes on Constellation and Zodiac Drives in the Cheyenne Mountain area, and landslides in the Broadmoor Bluffs area.

What public money has been used thus far to help with the landslide problems?

As of mid-September, the steepest cost to the city of Colorado Springs has been the Rockrimmon landslides, for which the city contracted with Wildcat Construction to do around $2.8 million of work. For the Cheyenne Mountain area and mobile home park landslides, the city paid around $1,000 each for geological assessments by CTL Thompson Geotechnical. The Broadmoor area landslides were assessed by the Colorado Geological Survey at no cost to the city.

Other homeowners not in Rockrimmon affected by landslides will have to bear the cost of repairs on their own, as the landslides are still occurring and are not impacting city infrastructure or land. Landslides in these other areas cannot be stopped.

The Rockrimmon homes are along the Rockrimmon Channel, which is in the Rockrimmon Open Space owned by the city. The landslides were impacting city stormwater concerns, so work on the landslide area could be included in existing stormwater projects, said Tim Mitros, the city stormwater manager.

What is an SBA loan?

The Small Business administration offers money to homeowners impacted by disasters through a low-interest loan program. Loan terms can be set for up to 30 years, depending on a homeowners ability to repay the loan, said Stokes.

The money is loaned directly from the US Department of Treasury. Unlike grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency - which are limited when it comes to individual use and given a $32,000 cap - the larger SBA loans can help homeowners, renters and business owners whose homes or businesses were impacted by disaster.

What counties are eligible for SBA loans?

The disaster declaration has made loans available in Crowley, Douglas, Elbert, El Paso, Fremont, Lincoln, Pueblo and Teller counties. The time period for eligible landslides is from April 24 and onward.

How much money can I get through an SBA loan?

There are three categories of loans available for El Paso County, home disaster loans, business physical disaster loans and economic injury disaster loans. Economic injury loans are available to those whose loss of business and income prevents them from meeting the financial terms of the loan.

Loans for a homeowner for repair or replacement costs for a primary residence can be up to $200,000. For any personal property owners - including renters - loans can be up to $40,000. For business owners or private non-profits, loans are available for up to $2 million. If you are a homeowner who also owns a home-based business, you may apply for an SBA loan for your home damage, and you may also apply for a business loan for your business damage said Stokes.

For information about credit requirements and interest rates, visit

This Firm Will Help Employees Pay Off Their Student Loans With the average student loan bill totaling over $35,000, the offer looks pretty attractive.

It may feel as though "bankruptcy" is synonymous with "failure," but that's not how it was designed. The US Bankruptcy Code is meant to give individuals and businesses drowning in debt a fresh start.

Although many businesses close after bankruptcy, a recent filing doesn't mean automatic rejection if you apply for a small-business loan, says Lawrence Szabo, a bankruptcy attorney in Oakland, California.

Some businesses survive bankruptcy, especially if it's brought on by an isolated event, such as a fire or a street closure that temporarily cuts off customers' access to the business, Szabo says. If you're determined to rebuild after a business bankruptcy, or start a new business after a personal bankruptcy, small-business loans are still an option for you.

But that doesn't mean it will be easy.

A 2011 report by the US Small Business Administration found that businesses with a past bankruptcy were almost 24 percentage points more likely to be denied a loan. Bankruptcies damage your credit and remain on your credit report for seven to 10 years. But you can still get a small-business loan before the bankruptcy is wiped from your report. Most lenders require a certain amount of time to pass after a bankruptcy - one to seven years, depending on the lender - before they'll consider lending to you.

Here's a rundown of the small-business loans you may be eligible for if you've had a recent bankruptcy. You can compare small-business loans based on other factors including APR and terms on our small-business loans page.

If you filed for bankruptcy...

HARRISBURG -- How would you like a loan of up to $10,000, with zero percent interest?

You dont qualify, but the state senator and representative that you elected do.

That loan is being offered because state lawmakers and the governor cant agree on a budget. The zero-interest loan is being offered by the Pennsylvania State Employees Credit Union.

Its only being offered to state lawmakers and their staffers, even though they are still getting paid during the budget standoff.

Almost every student in a government affairs class at Kings College in Wilkes-Barre said they have student loans. Most of these young people will graduate owing thousands of dollars--plus interest--on those loans.

What are the chances you could get a zero-percent interest loan?

Considering Im 19 years old, and new to credit, and in college, little to none, said Alyssa Gurzinsky of Mocanaqua.

I wish I could pull out a loan for any reason of my choosing for zero percent, said Tom Gibbons of Harleysville.

But their state lawmakers can get a zero-interest loan.

Thats a gift. Thats a privilege and a perk thats beyond my job, said Senator John Yudichak (D) 14th District.

State Sen. Yudichak of Luzerne County says his jaw dropped when he received an email in July from the Pennsylvania State Employees Credit Union offering a no-interest loan.

The loan is for state lawmakers and staffers and it can be for up to $10,000. Two months after a budget passes, borrowers would then have to pay the outstanding balance at 2.9 percent interest.

A PSECU spokesman emailed us a statement saying, We understand the impact the budget impasse has on our members and want to provide assistance during this stressful time.

Stressful? Financially, lawmakers and their staffers are being paid during this budget impasse. And even if the state treasury runs out of money to pay lawmakers in a prolonged budget stalemate, Sen. Yudichak says lawmakers still should not get the kind of loan thats unavailable to the people they represent.

I would go to a credit union or a bank and pay market rate for a loan to get through the tough times, or Id go out and get a second job to make sure that I could provide for my family, said Yudichak.

At Kings College in Wilkes-Barre, those students of government call the zero-interest loan for lawmakers the kind of perk that turns voters off to politics.

I still have a zero-percent chance of probably getting zero-percent interest, Gibbons said.

Were still waiting for our state grants and loans. We dont know when were going to get it and we still have to pay interest, while they have zero percent until they make that budget, said Gurzinsky.

A spokesperson for the Pennsylvania State Employees Credit Union says there has been increased interest in the zero-interest loan, but he added that by law, the credit union cannot name the state lawmakers or their staffers who are taking advantage of it.