Uncategorized April 5, 2015

Seller Beware of Leased Solar Panels

I have recently heard of problems for sellers with the leasing of solar panels instead of buying them when it comes time to selling their home, and possibly even refinancing. I was told of one solar company that had the lease recorded against the property with the county and therefore the lender wouldn't refinance the property because the lease was considered a lien. Read the following article regarding such problems, and if you are considering installing solar, be very careful, ask questions and read the contract before you make your decision.

Can going green by leasing solar panels for your roof cost you money — or headaches — when you go to sell the house?  Possibly both. Say you get pitched by one of the growing number of companies offering solar panels at no upfront cost that they claim will save you lots of money on electricity bills. Sounds like a slam dunk. So you sign on. Then a few years later you decide to sell the house. You assume that the presence of solar panels can only be a marketing plus, maybe even get you a higher price.  Everybody goes for green, right?

But that’s when it gets weird. Some would-be buyers balk when they learn that they’ll need to qualify on credit to take over your solar lease payments for the next 15 to 17 years. Others say they like the house but won’t sign a contract unless you buy out the remaining lease payment stream — $15,000 or $20,000 or more — because they’re worried that the solar equipment will become obsolete or won’t save as much on electricity bills as advertised.

Issues such as these are popping up increasingly in California and other states and are interfering in sales and closings, according to real estate industry experts.…..

Takeaways from all this? Top on the list: Be aware of the potential complexities that can occur when you lease, rather than buy, solar panels. If you opt for a lease, understand your long-term obligations, and talk to your utility company about the savings claimed.

Most importantly, if you’ve got a leased system and plan to sell, contact the leasing company well in advance to learn about their lease transfer and buyout options. That way you’ll be ready if prospective buyers have problems with your panels.


**Article written by Kenneth Harney of the Washington Post.  Read the full article at http://www.toledoblade.com/business/2015/03/22/Sometimes-it-isn-t-easy-selling-green-when-a-house-has-leased-solar-panels.html#hujvFFOkkoZu9hVG.99