By Tim Henderson
If you’ve installed a solar system on your home, you may be wondering what you can expect when it comes time to sell that house.
Fortunately, selling a home with solar panels isn’t as difficult as many people think – you just have to understand the ins and outs of what buyers want and be aware of the potential challenges.
In many cases, having solar panels on your home actually increases your home’s value and makes it more attractive to buyers.
For most homebuyers, solar panels are indeed a selling point.
In addition to the fact that solar panel systems don’t require much maintenance, they can also lower or eventually eliminate utility bills, increase home value, and allow the homeowner to take advantage of money-saving tax rebates and credits.
According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, homes with solar panels sell 20% faster and for 17% more than those without.
“Is it harder to sell a house with solar panels?”
Selling a house with owned solar panels is more straightforward than selling a home with leased panels.
When you own your solar energy system outright, you’ll likely get more money for your home (potential home buyers are willing to pay more for owned systems than leased systems), and enjoy a more straightforward sales process.
According to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, homes with standard-sized 3.6 kW systems sold for about $15,000 more than homes with smaller systems or no panels.
If you’re wondering how to get out of a solar lease, selling your home can give you the funds to buy your panels out of the contract, while also creating earnings.
If you’ve leased a solar system from your local solar installer, selling your home may be a bit more difficult than if you owned panels.
In addition to the fact that many would-be buyers are unfamiliar with the process of taking over a solar lease, you may have to buy yourself out of the solar contract if you’re unable to find someone to take it over.
According to additional research by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, though, leased panels probably won’t impact your home’s value. According to the data collected by the study, people who sold homes in Southern California equipped with leased solar panels didn’t see a negative impact on their home’s value.
In fact, 77% of the solar leases in the group were transferred successfully to new owners, and only 20% of homeowners reported that would-be buyers were scared off by the solar lease process.
While it’s likely that solar panels will be an asset to your home’s sale, it’s also possible that you’ll run into some complications, specifically with leased solar panels. Here are some things to be aware of:
You might need to buy out the lease, first. If you’re worried about would-be homeowners feeling nervous about your solar contract, the smart path might be to pay off the rest of the lease before you sell the property. This reduces the new owner’s responsibility and allows you to transfer your panels outright.
You can transfer solar leases. If you’re not willing to pay off the lease and you find a buyer who is ready to take it over, the next step is to transfer it into their name. This is a simple process, although it requires the cooperation of both the buyer and the seller.
Your new buyer will need to meet some credit requirements. If you’re planning to transfer your solar lease to a new buyer, they’ll need to meet specific credit requirements set by your third-party solar installer. While this isn’t usually an issue, it can be a problem for buyers with low credit scores.
You’ll want to maintain your panels before you sell. If your panels need any routine maintenance, carry this out before you sell your property. This makes them more attractive and accessible to new homeowners.
If you’re planning to sell a home with solar panels, you’ll likely be pleasantly surprised by how easy it is. In addition to the fact that buyers love solar panels, a residential solar system may also boost your home’s value and make it more attractive to new buyers.
To learn more about selling a home with solar panels, contact Sandbar Solar today. As the largest residential and commercial solar installer in Santa Cruz County, Sandbar Solar & Electric has been locally owned for 13 years. You can count on our professional commitment to quality work, ethical solutions, community sponsorship and environmental stewardship.
We’re proud of our reputation for designing and installing the most efficient solar panels available across the Central Coast. We invite you to look through our online portfolio of Recent Projects. Our work areas include Santa Cruz and Monterey counties as well as San Jose and the Bay Area.
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Tim has worked in the solar industry since 2008. He has a Master's Degree in Energy Resources Engineering from Stanford University. His years of experience include working on solar energy projects for both homes and commercial properties. Tim enjoys sharing his knowledge of this evolving industry and making a difference in his community.
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