More than one million homes in the United States currently have a solar PV system installed and are being powered by energy from the sun. If you live in one of these homes but need to relocate, check out these tips before selling your house to ensure that the sale goes more smoothly.
On average, a solar energy system adds about $15,000 to a home's sale price. However, it's important to note that this increase in value typically only applies if the solar energy system has been purchased with cash or a loan. With leased solar energy systems and power purchase agreements (PPAs), selling the home becomes a bit messier because solar equipment is attached to the house, but it belongs to someone else (usually a solar company or other third-party). This can be a deterrent to some buyers, especially if they have to take on a contract that still has several years left on it.
Before putting your home on the market, review the details of your purchase or lease. If you purchased the system with a loan that still has a balance, you'll need to pay off the remainder. If you signed into a lease or a PPA, talk to the solar company and figure out what your options are. In most cases, you'll be required to either pay off the rest of the contract or find a buyer that's willing to assume it. However, some solar companies offer the option to move the system to your new residence, either at no cost or for a small fee.
It's a good idea to figure all the options that are available to you, and then decide which one makes the most sense for your particular situation.
Once you have an understanding of the details of your solar purchase or lease, put together a folder of important information and resources that you can give to potential buyers. For example, if the system is leased, include an explanation of the lease payment, how much time is left on the contract, and the steps for transferring the lease. If the system is purchased, find out whether or not the warranties from the solar company will cover the second homeowner, and if so, for how many years.
Providing these resources will make the buyer feel informed and empowered to make a decision that is beneficial to them.
If you're using a real estate agent to sell your home, be sure that the agent you choose to work with understands the value that a solar energy system can bring to a home and knows how to market that value appropriately. It's not a bad idea to find a real estate agent who has already sold homes that have solar energy systems and knows what it takes to get the job done.
The more informed and experienced the real estate agent is when it comes to selling homes with solar systems, the higher the likelihood that you'll be able to sell your home with ease and get the most out of the value your solar energy system brings to the table.
Photo credit the American Advisors Group on Flickr
Sarah Hancock educates consumers about the workings of the solar industry to help people make decisions that benefit both their own interests and the environment. Connect with her on the Best Company Solar Blog and on Twitter.
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