You may be considering buying or selling a Florida home but are uncertain because it has solar panels. While the property is unique, it is helpful to be prepared by having a list of questions or disclosures about solar-powered homes. Let’s look at what important questions to ask when buying or disclosing when selling a home with solar panels.
Is the System Owned or Leased?
Before buying or selling a home with solar power, it is necessary to know whether the panels are owned or leased. When solar panels are owned, homebuyers typically do not have to pay additional money to have the system. If there is a loan for the panels, it is the seller’s responsibility to pay in full prior to closing. These details must be disclosed prior to a contract being written on the home.
However, if you have a lease on your solar panels, allow potential buyers to review the details. They will sign a contract assuming the lease before purchasing the home. Leases may last up to 20 years, are costly to get out of, and increase the debt-to-income ratio of the buyer. Leased solar panels do have advantages for homebuyers but be sure to carefully read over the contract for the solar panel system before purchasing the home.
Property-assessed clean energy (PACE) program financing is an alternative for those wanting to own solar panels instantly without paying a huge upfront cost. Homeowners pay for the panels over time, but it is treated as a lien on the property. These loans have yearly administrative fees plus interest, so homeowners pay more over time. Again, be certain to read the fine print and understand all details of the contract before signing on the dotted line.
What Company Installed the Panels?
Sellers should have this information on hand for potential homebuyers. Many warranties cover labor and repairs when the solar panels require maintenance. If you are interested in buying the home, ask about who to contact for repairs and what warranties apply to the solar panels. Make sure to ask about who manufactured the solar panels to understand your warranty coverage on the equipment.
Do the Panels have Net Metering?
Net metering is another factor sellers should mention to their buyers. Net metering allows homeowners to sell and send extra electricity produced by the panels back to the grid. This may help future homeowners save more on their energy bills. If you have time-of-use (TOU) pricing, point this out to buyers because it may affect their decision. TOU plans raise the price of energy usage during peak times when other homes are using electricity too.
What is the Size of the System?
Some homeowners may use solar panels for part of their home or the entire property. Ask about the size of the solar system when speaking with the seller. If you would like to see how much solar panels offset the electricity bill, it is okay to ask the seller to see past energy bills for the home. This may give you a better understanding of your future energy bill costs.
Before buying or selling a Florida home, make sure to discuss these questions about solar panels with your potential homebuyer or seller. It is always recommended to work with a real estate professional if you are uncertain about the ins and outs of solar-powered properties. They will guide you through the process and protect your interests.