Profile picture for user0339636

how do i handle selling my house and having buyers assume the solar panel lease?

To take over the lease they would pay $105 per month. If they don't want to assume the lease, I'm on the hook for around $20,000.  I honestly didn't realize that this would be an issue when I had solar installed.  Only saw the up side. How to persuade buyers that solar is a good thing in the long term and will save them money?
  • April 03 2013 - Simi Valley
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Answers (7)

Profile picture for RayBoggs
The problem that you're facing is that the solar leasing companies charge at lease twice the fair market value when selling their systems. You're potential home buyer can easily pay well below $10,000 for a brand new, state of the art 5 kW system after incentives, so why would they want to assume your remaining payments or your even your $20,000 payoff on a used solar system? Today about $3.15 per watt before any incentives is about fair market value for a name brand system. You're not alone though. Home sellers across the country are now reporting difficulty when attempting to sell their home with a solar lease attached to their home.
  • July 19 2013
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Sounds great, best of luck in your new home, and for a smooth closing on both.
Jim
  • April 30 2013
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Profile picture for user0339636
The solar lease was fully disclosed in the initial MLS remarks and as soon as we had offers come in, we made sure that the buyers understood the ramifications of assuming the lease.  We are now in escrow and the buyers are (at this moment!) doing the paperwork to assume the solar lease on closing.  I know it's not closed until it's closed, but it is looking positive at this stage. I hope we don't encounter any glitches.  Real estate market in SoCal is getting really hot and inventory is low, so buyers seem more willing to not fight every little thing. Thanks to you all for your replies.
  • April 30 2013
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wow, great question. IF you only saw the upside, I sure hope the buyers only see the upside, as well.
Since these types of leases to homeowners are a fairly new phenomenon, you should begin with your leaseholder/solar company. My guess is the lease is from a bank or third party, so perhaps your lease agreement/contract covers this type of issue. If not, and somehow you are locked in by contract and prevented from selling the home unless the lease conveys and the new owner accepts the terms, well, that seems rather draconian. You are effectively trapped in your own solar powered jail. I find that difficult to believe.
I would begin by reading your contract/agreement. I have to think there is something in there regarding the sale of your home. Then, a quick call to the leaseholder. If you still have no out, contacting a Real Estate or Contract attorney may be your best bet.
Please come back and update us to your findings. As solar becomes more popular, it will be nice to gain more knowledge!
Best wishes, and best of luck. Jim
  • April 30 2013
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
$105 per month?  Are they really saving money from the day they buy?   The only way I could see convincing a buyer that is a bargain is to show them the electric bills from before the panels were installed and how they are saving money.  
  • April 30 2013
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You have to check with your solar panel provider about your options under your lease agreement.
If you can't transfer the lease completely with your name off of it, I would possibly add the panels to the price of the home, so you can pay off the lease.
I would disclose this information in the beginning to any potential buyers...
  • April 30 2013
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Dear User,
IF solar panels and the lease is part of the sale, you will have to find another ready, willing and able buyer for your home. No way should you assume a lease for a home you do not own. Make sure your Realtor adds this fact to the MLS when you re-list the home for sale.
  • April 30 2013
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