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Avoid Scams: Understanding the Florida PACE Program and How to Protect Yourself

Are you considering the Florida PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) program to finance your home renovation? While the PACE program offers excellent benefits, it’s essential to be aware of potential scams and take steps to protect yourself. Here’s what you need to know:

What is the Florida PACE Program?

The Florida PACE program provides homeowners with a way to finance energy-efficient, renewable energy, and hurricane protection improvements. This program offers 100% financing with no money down and is repaid through a special assessment added to your property tax bill.

Key Benefits of the PACE Program:

  1. No Upfront Costs:
    The PACE program covers 100% of the project costs, eliminating the need for upfront payments.
  2. Easy Repayment:
    Repayments are made through your property tax bill over a period of up to 25 years, making it convenient and affordable.
  3. Eligibility Based on Property Value:
    Approval is based on your property’s equity and ability to repay, not your credit score.
  4. Transferable Upon Sale:
    If you sell your home, the remaining PACE assessment can be transferred to the new owner, making it an attractive option for long-term investments.
  5. Supports Various Improvements:
    The PACE program can be used for a wide range of projects, including solar panels, energy-efficient windows and doors, roofing, insulation, and hurricane protection measures.

Beware of Scams:

Recently, there have been scams targeting homeowners interested in the PACE program where salespeople knock on your door offering a “package deal” with a contractor and financing. Here’s how to protect yourself:

  1. Verify Contractor Credentials:
    Ensure your contractor is not only PACE-approved but also a licensed contractor. You can verify this through the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) website.
  2. Do Your Due Diligence:
    Conduct thorough internet searches and check online reviews. Look for any red flags or complaints about the contractor.
  3. Check References:
    Ask for and check references from past clients. A reputable contractor will be happy to provide these.
  4. Get Multiple Quotes:
    Obtain quotes from several contractors to compare costs and services. Be wary of prices that seem too good to be true.
  5. Review the Contract Carefully:
    Ensure that all terms are clearly outlined in a written contract, including the scope of work, payment schedule, timelines, and warranties.
  6. Avoid Upfront Payments:
    Be cautious of contractors asking for large upfront payments. Legitimate PACE projects should not require substantial upfront costs.

How to Get Started Safely:

  1. Determine Eligibility:
    Check if your property is eligible for PACE financing. Most residential properties in participating Florida communities qualify.
  2. Choose a Licensed Contractor:
    Select a contractor who is both PACE-approved and licensed. Verify their credentials and check for any past issues.
  3. Apply for Financing:
    Submit an application through a PACE provider. They will assess your property’s eligibility and provide financing options.
  4. Complete Your Project:
    Once approved, your licensed contractor will complete the improvements. The PACE program will pay the contractor directly.
  5. Repay Through Your Tax Bill:
    Repayments are added to your property tax bill, spread out over a period of up to 25 years.

By taking these precautions, you can safely take advantage of the Florida PACE program and protect yourself from potential scams. If you have questions or need assistance with the legal aspects of your renovation, Wyman Legal Solutions is here to help.

Do you have a $50,000 or greater problem? Call us at (561) 361-8700 for expert advice.