Will Solar Panels be in your next home?
Here in the "Sunshine" State we are seeing more solar panels popping up. They have been used to heat pools for some time but now some new construction communities are going "All Green". As more and more new or replacement roofs are being put on homes we are seeing an increase of the ones that are also including solar panels for the whole house.
Buying or Selling a Home with Solar Panels have issues that most of us wouldn't think of.
1. Inspections - When buying a home with solar panels, you should have the system inspected to determine if it is functioning properly. It is recommended that you use an independent Solar company to do this. Anything that could have damaged the roof in the past should be looked at. Electrical connections and proper permits should be checked. For solar panels used to heat the pool, there is water running through the pipes on the roof back down to the pool equipment. You want to make sure that those pipes are not leaking.
2. Ownership - Solar systems can be owned or leased. It is important for the Buyer to know which option the Seller used on their system. You won't have to worry about lease issues if the system is owned. Most solar leases are for 20 years. If the lease is not paid off, both the Buyer and Seller will have to determine the best course on how to handle the lease at closing. Make sure that you know all of the fees due on the system and what the pay-off amount is. If a Buyer is using a mortgage to buy the home, the lender will also need to know about the lease arrangements and it may increase the Buyer's debt-to-income ratio when applying for the loan.
3. Leased? - If a Solar System is leased you need to know the valuation of the lease. The same solar company that you use to inspect the system may be able to supply the information needed such as panel brand, age, inverter types, monitoring software, hardware and warranty. That data can provide the information for the valuation of the system which will also determine the value that it adds to the house.
4. Closing - The Closing Attorney or Title company handling the sale should ensure that there is not a Uniform Commercial Code (UCC-1) financing statement or filing lien on the solar home property. Some solar companies file this type of lien in the land records to put third parties on notice as to their rights in the system.
Looking to install Solar Panels? Go to www.Solar-Estimate.org to check on energy savings, potential tax incentives and price estimates.