Series Introduction: This article is part of a 10-part series to shed some light on what your solar salesperson is NOT telling you. It is my hope this will help consumers to better understand the “small print” items when deciding if installing Solar panels is the right decision for you and your family.
Solar Panels have recently become more affordable and easier to obtain for homeowners. It is hard not to get sucked in by commercials with uplifting oldies blaring and people dancing and singing the praises of a Solar Life with the spokesperson declaring it is now an affordable option for homeowners. As a REALTOR® I have been asked by many past and present clients if they should do this? This series will cover the following issues of the solar home craze. You can also click topics below to jump to that particular topic.
What’s the catch?
Potential savings or smoke and mirrors
What’s the real cost?
Life expectancy and maintenance mortgage and appraisal pitfalls
How does this affect my homeowner’s insurance?
What sellers need to know?
What home buyers need to know?
Less expensive alternatives to solar panels.
Why I made the decision I made regarding Solar Panels.
What decision did I make?
I guess you might be asking, did you get solar panels or did you pass? I passed. I felt there was way too much risk, and all the hype and the advertising with the loud music and dancing etc., was pulling on our emotions especially during this time that we have been stuck at home with our incomes impacted by the pandemic. I understand going solar for environmental reasons. But I don’t believe that overall it is a good investment and the jury is really out on whether or not it will cut your energy bills.
I also feel like the sales techniques are slightly deceitful, or maybe a little slight of hand. I liked my sales person and wanted desperately to buy this system. I even told him when he left I was 80% sure I would move forward but I couldn’t make a financial decision this big without sleeping on it. When I started to list my concerns and began researching to get the answers is when I discovered that this wasn’t the great deal it appeared to be. I think this is going to be a BIG problem we see in the next few years for those who finance solar panels. Equity loss, sales and appraisal issues, refinancing hiccups and even some sellers could end up upside down.
Even for me, I plan to live in my home until I die, but I might want to refinance and take cash out for other purchases, upgrade to my home or even refinance. Having a large amount of my equity swallowed up by a lien like this against my property can be devastating if I ever decide to refinance for one of these reasons.
One last thought- This is currently a crazy market, buyers are already paying much more than list price for homes due to the limited inventory. We are pushing the appraisers to appraise higher and higher, when does it stop? When I am assisting my buyer clients and they are wanting to make these high offers for a home purchase, I make them stop for a moment and ask them to think about what would happen if I had to help them sell this house in 3 to 5 years because of a job loss, illness or an unexpected child etc. Will this home retain its value at the price you are offering to pay? If I don’t believe I can sell it for more than the sales price and closing expenses then I counsel them to pass on the purchase. This purchase is too big, your financial future or retirement next egg is too important to lose.
As for me and my house, given all of the information I have gathered I would say that in general these panels do not add value especially in the short term and could actually be a detriment to your home’s value. I do plan on following through with the alternative measures they listed as well as a few others I have found to help cut my energy bill. (I will follow up with that progress on a future blog post.) I feel the marketing and presentation for these solar panels borders on deceitful and for some possibly even predatory. Don’t make a decision like this without doing your research first. Caveat Emptor my friends.
Hopefully you found this to be a helpful series, I would love to see your comments and hear about your experiences so others can benefit from your stories as well. Direct links to each topic in this series. Also, I would love for you to subscribe to be notified when new posts are available or follow. Look on the top right to do that.
SOLAR PANELS – What’s the catch?
SOLAR PANELS – Potential savings or smoke and mirrors
SOLAR PANELS – What’s the real cost?
SOLAR PANELS – Life expectancy and maintenance
SOLAR PANELS – How does this affect my homeowner’s insurance?
SOLAR PANELS – What sellers need to know?
SOLAR PANELS – What home buyers need to know?
SOLAR PANELS – Mortgage and appraisal pitfalls
SOLAR PANELS – Less expensive alternatives to solar panels.
SOLAR PANELS – Why I made the decision I made regarding Solar Panels.
Have you thought about selling your home?
What if I told you I could sell it for more than it is worth?
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