Homes with solar systems continue to rise in popularity with over 2 million solar installations across the United States. If you are preparing to search for a new home, solar panels could be an asset a potential house could have.
Purchasing a home with solar panels is a unique experience and it is important to understand all of the facts so you can absorb the benefits of solar without going through the process of a solar installation.
The financial benefits of solar energy will reflect on almost all homeowners, even if you are not the original buyer of the solar panels for the home. Based on how the solar panels were initially purchased is how you should handle the purchase of the home. Most solar purchases fall under four categories; fully owned solar panels, solar loan, solar lease, or a solar PACE.
The ideal situation for someone inquiring about buying a house with solar installed is for the system to be purchased completely outright by the original buyer. This means that the solar panels essentially are included with the purchase of the house with no additional monthly payments. However, the value of the home may be increased due to the existing solar system. It is common that solar panels increase most property and home values by 3-4%. The buyer will also acquire the income of the SREC program, which will in no time make the profit back of the increased value in the home.
A solar system purchased under a solar loan program whether it be secured or unsecured will reflect on the responsibility of the original owner, even if the property is purchased by another individual.
The homebuyer is at an advantage in this situation because there is no monthly payments or outstanding contracts. The listed or asking price of the home can sometimes reflect on the cost of the solar system, meaning the buyer will obtain the benefits of solar from their new home. Loans can also be transferred to the new homeowner when the sale closes. So loans are a good way of having flexibility for both parties; the seller and the buyer. The new homeowner will also retain the income of the SRECs, allowing for the purchase of the solar home to be cash flow positive.
When looking into a home with leased solar panels, it means the current owner of the home has a monthly payment to the solar installer. It is essential to view the leasing agreements and ask questions about the exact details of the solar lease.
You will want to know what the monthly payments are currently, if they fluctuate or elevate as time goes on, and how long the lease term is.
A solar lease situation can be sensitive because you must feel comfortable and satisfied with the lease terms. If it will not be in a positive financial situation, it can be arranged for the previous homeowner to pay off the balance of the lease or compensate you as the buyer for doing so.
A home with a PACE financed solar system is a part of the property rather than the home and payments are tied into property taxes, unlike the other methods. These payments will become the new homeowners responsibility and financing terms should be reviewed with the financing company.
However, this still remains a positive option because the new homeowner will still be financially benefiting from the solar energy.
Buying a new home is exciting, stressful, and overall should be rewarding. A home equipped with solar energy is a great option to think about when looking for your dream home due to the benefits. It is a way you can be confident in knowing you will save money in the long term. Remember that it is crucial to review what contracts are associated with the solar panels and be comfortable knowing you are in control of buying a home with a solar energy system.