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Tick Tock 2

What’s that saying about time? Time is ticking. Time is money. It’s time to take action. Yes, there’s quite a few. Combining them all is Effingham, Illinois’ Tick Tock Energy — one of the Midwest’s premier providers of solutions to cut customers’ utility costs, and the only Pearl Certified solar installer in the state. Founded by brothers Craig and Eric Pals in 2006, Tick Tock Energy hopes to inspire its customers to take action.

With Pearl, we can now provide the documentation recognized by the appraisal and banking industry to capture the increase in home value due to solar and other high-performance features.

Eric Pals Tick Tock Energy — Illinois

Craig is a mechanical engineer with several years of experience in the energy efficiency industry. Eric was a union electrician and project manager before founding the company with Craig.

“We do mostly solar installations, and were doing a lot of commercial work,” says Craig. “Last year, around the beginning of the COVID pandemic, I started getting emails and calls from a sales executive at Pearl Certification. At first, I thought it was just shiny PR. But after I finally listened to what [Pearl] had to offer, I became more and more interested. I wanted to increase our value to homeowners, and Pearl offered me the tool I needed to do that.

To find out just how much value Pearl Certification can add to a house, Eric decided to seek Certification for his own home. The result? After his home was Pearl Certified, it gained $50,000 in assessed market value. Tick Tock’s Chuck Siler handles the paperwork for Certification. “It took Chuck just a few days to gather all the needed documents to have my home Certified,” says Eric. 

Years ago, Eric had installed two photovoltaic (PV) systems on his already efficient home. But before Pearl Certification, his home’s assessed value did not reflect the added value of a home that meets 80% of its electric power needs through PV. “Historically, comps [comparable sales] are what realtors and appraisers look at when assessing a home’s value,” says Craig. “With Pearl, we can now provide the documentation recognized by the appraisal and banking industry to capture the increase in home value due to solar and other high-performance features.” Eric’s experience was proof of concept.  Read more about Eric's experience in this homeowner success story.

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Before founding Tick Tock Energy, Craig noticed that energy-efficient homes were valued higher than the rest. “When working in energy efficiency upgrades before we started Tick Tock, I learned that I could buy a home, fix it up, and sell it for about $30,000 more than comparable homes after I added insulation and installed geothermal heating,” says Craig. “At the time, the banks recognized the added value of an energy-efficient home. In 2007, I had direct experience with upgrading a home with solar and a geothermal heat pump. A pre- and post-appraisal were completed, and a $30,000 value increase was recognized due to those improvements. The bank financing the property readily recognized the added value of the energy-efficiency and solar-powered home.”

I wanted to increase our value to homeowners, and Pearl offered me the tool I needed to do that ... With Pearl, we can take our business to the next level.

Craig Pals Tick Tock Energy — Illinois

But, after the 2008 housing crisis, things changed. “Lending requirements tightened the appraisal processes and comps became a strong influence,” says Craig. “If there weren’t neighboring homes with solar or energy-efficient features, then capturing the value increase was hard to document. My customers struggled with the bank to get financing. When I heard about Pearl Certification, I realized they had the solution I was looking for — and that this would be my next step in growing my business and educating banks, appraisers, and potential customers on how much more of a benefit I could offer them.”

Craig sees educating the community as a key part of his mission. “We educate our solar customers about Pearl during the sales process; however, I think we need to create greater local awareness with banks, appraisers, and other real estate professionals,” says Craig. “I’ve developed a good relationship with our local bank. They are beginning to recognize what a solar PV installation can mean to a customer who is buying, selling, or refinancing a home.”

Tick Tock Energy is exploring ways to continue that education. "Now I want to create a half-hour webinar for local banks, appraisers, and other real estate professionals,” says Craig. “Part of that effort will be to show how Pearl Certification works. With Pearl, we can take our business to the next level.

Tick Tock Energy also gives information to all its existing customers about Pearl Certification. While it’s too soon to measure the [exact] effectiveness that Certification has on adding value to a [specific] home at the time of appraisal or sale, the company has Eric’s example to show that, through Pearl, assessed market value can accurately reflect the worth of energy efficiency. “We are doing the groundwork for the future,” says Craig.

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Tick Tock Energy's business has been steadily growing since they began with Pearl. They’ve been adding dozens of jobs, including outside contractors, to the local economy. The old catchphrase in real estate was “location, location, location.” With the help of Pearl Certification and companies like Tick Tock Energy, the new mantra is becoming “performance, performance, performance.”

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