Thousand Oaks, CA now participates in "HERO" Program for home updates

Real Estate Agent with Rodeo Realty ~ Fine Estates Westlake Village DRE #01744774

Just WOW!! Now you can fund your energy efficient home updates utilizing your property taxes, NOT your individual credit, HELOC or taking out a new mortgage! This is amazing and very much needed!


What is HERO?

HERO stands for Home Energy Renovation Opportunity. In 2009 the State of California approved legislation authorizing cities and counties to establish voluntary programs to pay for energy efficiency, water efficiency, and renewable energy products which are permanently attached to property. The HERO Program just now hit Thousand Oaks and is a voluntary program and partnership between the participating city and homeowners to offer a unique, affordable financing option for energy-efficient upgrades that increase efficiency, comfort and savings for your home and property. 


How HERO works:

HERO offers more consumers access to energy-efficient options because HERO is financed as an assessment on the property, not as a personal debt to the borrower. The interest on these payments may be tax deductible (see your tax professional for advice). Approval for HERO is primarily based on the equity in your home and your debt payment history, rather than your credit score. HERO finances 100% of the cost to purchase and install eligible products, with fixed rates and flexible terms of 5 - 20 years, depending on the life of the component you are installing.


Is it Transferrable if I sell my home?

Should you decide to sell your property before the HERO assessment is paid off in full, any remaining balance can transfer to the new buyer with their permission. It can be a benefit to a buyer, in that they don't have to go through the hassle of choosing and installing the components, nor does the expenditure show up as a personal "debt" on their credit report!

What improvements are eligible? 

(For a full list, visit

Solar Panels; Solar Batteries; Small Wind Turbines; Home Fuel Cells; Heat Pumps; POOL pumps and water heaters; Heating & AC; Windows; Doors; Skylights; Roofs; Ducts; Ventilation fans; Attic Wall Floor Insulations; Lighting & control systems; High efficiency Water Heaters; Artificial Turf; Drought-tolerant Landscaping; Irrigation & Rainwater systems; Faucets, toilets, showerheads; Whole house fans, room fans, and more.

How do you find out what what the best project are for your home and what you're qualified to borrow?

First of all, if you're planning to sell your home and want to update to get top dollar, contact your REAL ESTATE Professional (REALTOR) to get an indepth idea on what homebuyers in your area want and need.

As far as what you can borrow, it depends on your equity: UP to 15% of your home's value can be accessed. The loan is not predicated upon your credit score, nor does borrowing though HERO for your improvements show up on your credit report. The amount you borrow does not count as an outstanding loan balance, so it will not affect how much borrowing power you have overall. And you can finance through your propety tax bill for up to 20 years (depends on life span of the component involved). 

HERO Financing is a simple 4 step process:

  1. Apply - Find out if your address qualifies & how much your home is approved for.
  2. Select - Choose the eligible products and select the contractor for your job. (Call Kathy Smiley for advise if you are planning on selling your Conejo Valley or surrounding area home in the future).
  3. Sign - Sign your financing documents.
  4. Complete - Finish the installation.

You can finance multiple projects at once, as long as all project are approved! Only HERO approved contractors, or homeowners who go through the hERO self-install agreement, may work on your home. To find a contractor for your area, visit

To find out if HERO is available in your area, visit As far as I can tell, cities in California and in Missouri are currently eligable.



So, you might be wondering if doing these projects and financing through HERO is a good idea if you're thinking of buying a home with existing HERO financing on the tax roll, or Selling your home in the near future. The answer is YES! Let me tell you why:

1. Buyers WANT homes that are upgraded and have energy effecient features already installed. Time is money, as they say, and having the convenience of the projects already in place and financing spread out over 10 - 20 years in invaluable.  "When choosing between equivalent homes in price, size, location and amenities, 80% of respondents report that energy effeciency as a major impact on their decision" ~ according to 2015 Energy Pulse Study.  

2. Since HERO is a voluntary property tax assessment (added to the tax bill) and not a traditional loan, as a seller you simply inform your agent of the assessment and include tax assessment information in your seller disclosures. Be sure to save all receipts, warranties and contact info on the work done! Also of great value will be proof of your energy savings since having the improvements installed, so save your "before & after" bills!

3. Transfer of the Assessment:

          a. FULL: In your disclosures list the assessment as a "full transfer". With a full transfer, the HERO assessment stays with the property and is entirely transferred to the buyer, who is then responsible for making payments on the remaining balance through their property taxes.

          b. PARTIAL: You may want to negotiate with the buyer to have a portion of the assessment paid by you through close of escrow.  A "partial payoff" is when the seller and buyer negotiate a portion of the HERO assessment to be paid off at close of escrow. THERE IS NO PRE-PAYMENT PENALTY FOR PAYING THE ENTIRE "HERO" ASSESSMENT PRIOR TO THE MATURITY DATE. 

4. Unlike a traditional home improvement financing that is transferrable, such as a Solar contract which up to now has been very common but frought with resale complications, the buyer does not need to reapply for HERO because the assessment is already attached to the property. So, not only does the closing of the sale go through smoothly, but the buyer is not saddled with an additional "debt" on their books! NO DEBT INVOLVED ~ just a property assessment that is included in their semi annual propety tax bill!



I am the local expert in the Conejo Valley and I will help you weigh your options! 

Contact me at:

805-390-9323 (Mobile)


Curious about your home's value? Check out your neighborhood full statistics at:


See you at the closing!


Comments (6)

Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude


Great information here on the HERO program which seems to be getting more popular. Buyers need to understand how this works in terms of the lien on title and the property taxes.


Apr 23, 2016 03:44 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Kathy, nice to see you back in the Rain!   Great information on the HERO program, and wish we would have a program like this!  

Apr 25, 2016 11:02 PM
Kathy Smiley
Rodeo Realty ~ Fine Estates Westlake Village - Newbury Park, CA
"Real Estate results that make YOU smile!"

Thanks Jeff and Joan! It's a pretty cool program! I'm thinking of using it myself for new roof AND solar this summer!


May 03, 2016 02:39 PM
TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc.
Complete Home Inspections, Inc. - Brentwood, TN
Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029

 Good morning Kathy Smiley . I'm seeing more and more energy efficient homes on the market nowadays. It is amazing how far the technology has progressed.

May 03, 2016 07:00 PM


Aug 20, 2020 12:59 AM


Aug 20, 2020 12:59 AM