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What Happens If I Install Solar Panels, Then Sell My House?

Kaitlin LindrosJuly 23, 201922050

What Happens if I Install Solar Panels Then Sell my House?

It happens to the best of us: you make an investment and install solar panels for your home, only for something unexpected to happen, and now you have to sell. Or maybe you had intended to sell all along.

Either way, you may be asking yourself: What comes next?

Here are some of the frequently asked questions regarding selling your solar home and how to make the best of it. 

Selling your solar home

Q: Does solar add value to my home? If so, how much?

A: Yes, in most cases, solar will add value to your home.

However, how much will depend on where you are located, your home's original value, the age and condition of your solar system, and other factors. But on average across the U.S., home values increase by 4.1% with the addition of solar panels. In big cities like New York or Orlando, you may get even more. Read more about how solar panels can increase your home value here

Q. Do solar homes sell faster?

A: Yes, studies show that solar homes can sell up to 20% faster than homes without solar. 

A study from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) compared sales of California homes built with solar systems against “control” homes without solar. It found that the solar homes sold up to 20% faster than non-solar homes, and that buyers were more likely to opt for solar when it was already installed and included in the price, versus as an upgrade option.

Q: How do I sell my home with financed solar? Will I get my money back for the loan?

A: If you purchased panels with financing, how you sell will depend on how you financed them.

For secured loans, you will likely need to pay off the panels before you can sell your home, as the loan uses your property as collateral.  

For unsecured loans, you can sell as-is. Simply include the price of the panels in the selling price of your home, and you can likely pay off the loan with the extra money from the sale.  

Q: Is it harder to sell a home with solar installed?

A: Selling a home with owned panels is easier than selling a home with leased panels. 

While selling with owned panels is fairly straightforward, and possibly even easier due to the higher demand and price point for solar homes, selling with leased panels comes with more challenges. Buyers may not want to take on the lease. Or they may not pass the credit check required. You may find it easier to buy out the lease first. 

Be sure you also perform any needed maintenance on your solar panels before putting your home up for sale.

Q: How do I sell my home with a solar lease?

A: There are a couple options to sell a home with a leased solar system:

1. Transfer the lease to the home buyer.

Transferring a solar lease is a bit more complicated than your average home sale, as it requires a credit check and meeting the solar company/owner's criteria. But otherwise, most of the time, leases are transferable. 

2. Buy out the lease. 

If you are able to, buying out the lease can be an attractive option, as then you will own the panels outright. You can then add them to the overall price of your home and attract more buyers. Or, you can take the panels with you to your new home (more on that below).

Q: Can I take my solar panels with me to my new home?

A: Yes, but you will want to weigh the costs.

While you can take your solar panels with you to your new property when you sell your solar home, there are several factors to consider first, including:

- How solar panels will affect the selling price of your current home. It might be worth it just to raise the price and include them in the package. 

- Where your new home is located. Too far and it could be a hassle to move them.

- What regulations are in place in your new location. 

- Whether or not your new home is ideally placed in the sun for solar panels.

- Cost of removing, moving, and re-installing the panels. 

- Whether moving the panels will void your warranty.

- Risk of damaging your panels in the move, and damage to your old home during removal.

It may be cheaper and less risky to install a new system at your new home, especially with the cost of installing solar panels so low, and increasing demand for solar from homebuyers driving up sale prices.

Q: Does my warranty transfer to the new owner? 

A: Many are, but check with your solar installer first to make sure.

One challenge is that many solar businesses go under, voiding existing warranties and leaving no one to service your system. So you'll want to call up your solar company to ensure your warranty is still valid and transferable.

selling solar home

At the end of the day, with solar and renewable energy in demand, you are likely to make out pretty well in the sale of your solar home. Just be sure to cross your t's and dot your i's, and you'll do fine!

Have you sold your solar home? How did it go? Let us know in the comments!

To check the price of installing solar for your new home, visit HahaSmart's Price Checker

Get savings with local and federal Solar Incentives

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