Buying a Home with Solar – Get the Facts


Determine the System

Buying a Home with Solar

San Diego Home Solar System – Marcie Sands, REALTOR – Rancho Bernardo

When buying a home with solar, the first step is to determine what type of solar system is present.  Is it is owned, leased to own, or a power purchase agreement?  In the case of an owned system, does the seller fully own the system or did they take out a loan which is not yet paid off?  Is there a lien against the home for the solar system?  Alternatively, a power purchase agreement is when a company owns and maintains the system attached to the roof and sells the power back to the homeowner at a discount. You should educate yourself on these differences before entering into a home purchase agreement. The second step is to review the tax records to see if there is a lien on the home.  If there is a lien on the home, or a solar loan, ask the seller for a current copy of the loan statement.  You want to note the balance and pay off terms.  Find out if there are any restrictions for property transfer.  Pay attention for penalties, early purchase buy-out options or other issues that could harm or delay your home purchase.  Will loan payoff be required prior to transfer, or is the loan transferable to a buyer?  It is crucial to understand the transfer process and timeline involved before you open escrow.   The solar loan payoff can be a negotiation between buyer and seller.

Discuss the Contracts

The third step is to discuss the solar system with your lender.  If you are buying a home with solar, it is important to discuss the solar system details up front with your lender because there may be restrictions.  If there are monthly lease payments that a buyer is willing to assume, the monthly figure needs to be calculated into the loan qualification.  You should ask if your lender will allow a loan to be assumed.  You should also find out when the loan will be paid off.  The extra monthly payment may push you out of your loan qualifying range. The fourth step is to review the solar contract. Ask the seller for the complete contract. Call the energy provider with specific questions.  Inquire about who maintains the system and the recommended maintenance.  Is there a warranty?  What is the contract length?  If a power purchase agreement, is it renewable? Can you purchase the panels at the end of the contract?

Analyze the System

Lastly, request a copy of the production history.  You want to know how many panels there are on the home, what type, and how much power the panels actually produce.  Another consideration is how much power the home typically uses.  It is in your best interest to understand how much energy a solar system is producing to know if the system can support the home.  Knowing the age of the system is also important.  Is the system brand new, or near the end of its’ useful life?  Solar system warranties average 20-25 years, so be aware that parts may soon need replacement. Real Estate transactions involving solar systems can be complex.  A good listing agent will assist the seller in pulling together and presenting the disclosure information.  The agent should be informed about the system before putting the home on the market.  Likewise, a good buyer’s agent will know what to ask and how to guide the buyer in their solar research before making an offer. If you have any further questions about how a solar system can affect your real estate sale or purchase, or help with real estate in general, feel free to contact me at 760-644-1652 or      

Smart Buyers are prepared

There are many things you can do to help your offer stand out against the competition.  Below are four important home buying tips to have in mind before you start the home buying process.


1.) Most crucial is the lender pre-approval letter.  Having a written pre-approval letter shows the seller that you have given your financial documentation to the mortgage professional.  A seller will know that you are qualified and ready to buy for the price you are offering.  You want to obtain this approval before your start home shopping.   A pre-qualification letter is not the same, nor is thinking that you can afford something based on your own math.  Mortgage professionals evaluate your debt to income ratio.  They look at all factors when evaluating your loan limits for a home purchase.  Your offer will be stronger with a pre-approval letter.

2.) Beware of online or discount lenders.  It is important to work with a local mortgage professional who knows the rules and regulations of your State.  Your real estate agent can refer you to lenders that provide good service, and close in a timely manner.   Many online lenders offer low “teaser rates” in order to earn your business, however, those low rates often don’t apply.  Additionally, many online brokerages depend on high volume, so you may get a representative who is less experienced.  Lastly, with online lenders, there are many parties working on one loan, so there can be a disconnect in customer service.  There is more risk if you choose an online or discount lender

Patient and Responsive Buyers Prosper

3.) Don’t make large purchases during the home buying process.  It can be very exciting preparing for your new home, but it is important to hold off on buying major appliances, furniture or that new car.  You can put your home purchase at risk with even the slightest financial change at any point during the escrow process.  Run everything by your loan officer.  It is best to delay any purchases or new debt until after escrow closes.  

4.) Be open and responsive to your mortgage professional.  When you are working on deadlines, good connection and communication with your lender is crucial.  Inform your loan officer of everything up front and any new information as it comes.  If asked to provide additional documentation, do it immediately.  They are working on your behalf and need to know all your details in order to structure the loan and rates that are best for your situation.  A successfully home purchase is a team effort between you, your real estate agent and the loan officer.  Contact me today, Marcie Sands at 760-644-1562 if you would like more assistance with your San Diego area home purchase.


Marketing Strategy - ideas for your sale

  • There are many strategic ways to market your home. Staging, Advertising, Multimedia platforms. Video is powerful and personal. Contact me to review the strategies that will work best for your home and neighborhood.  This recent listing displays some of the strategies I use to help you sell your home quickly and for the highest amount.

Buying Tips

How I Can Help You Buy a Home

Happy Couple Whether it’s your first home or if you’re an experienced buyer, purchasing a home is a complex process. By working with me, you’ll find a home in the neighborhood where you want to live, one that fits your budget and meets your goals for features, quality and value.  Once you’ve found the home that’s right for you, I will guide you through the process of making an offer; negotiating the terms of the sale; getting your potential purchase inspected, repaired and appraised; and closing the sale.

When you work with me, you will:
  • Be more likely to find the home that meets all your criteria
  • Lessen the amount of time it will take to find your home
  • Understand all the terms, processes and documents used when buying your home
  • Have up-to-date market information that will allow you to make informed decisions
  • Have a skilled negotiator working on your behalf, one who is committed to looking after your best interests
  • Enjoy peace of mind, knowing that all the details of your purchase are being taken care of by an experienced and knowledgeable professional

Selling Tips

How I Can Help You Sell a Home

Home For Sale     Helping find a buyer for your home is only one facet of a real estate professional’s job. There are many more aspects including explaining the basic real estate practices and principles and all the related paperwork, Performing a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) to help determine your home’s value, helping to prepare your home for sale, listing your home, marketing your home, keeping you informed throughout the process. When the sale begins, it’s important to work with someone who will assist you with the paperwork, negotiate on your behalf, make sure deadlines are met, and work with the escrow company. By working with me, you will:
  • Be more likely to realize the highest return on the sale of your home
  • Reduce the number of days your home is on the market
  • Become familiar with all the terms, processes and paperwork involved in selling your home
  • Have confidence that your home will enjoy exposure to more buyers and agents with qualified buyers
  • Receive regularly updated market information that will enable you to make informed decisions
  • Have a skilled negotiator working on your behalf
  • Have peace of mind knowing that all the details of your sale are being handled properly by a licensed and trained professional