One of the biggest considerations homeowners have when looking into solar is “what happens if I move?” This was a big hurdle to installing a long term power solution when the average American family moves every seven years. However, the young, innovative solar industry has added solutions protecting solar purchasers.
Solar Cash Purchase
If the system is paid with cash upfront, the value can be repaid in a home sale. Similar to a kitchen upgrade or adding landscaping, it makes the home more attractive and allows it to sell more quickly and perhaps for even more money. The difficult part is because solar is so new, many home appraisers do not have enough comps on which to base their value.
However, take this scenario: 123 Main Street is up for sale which is identical to 124 Main Street next door. But 123 has solar, which means the monthly utility expenses are zero, saving $200/month. If you live in that house for ten years, then the overall savings because it has solar would be $24k, assuming the utility rate does not increase (which we know as false: read more). Which home would you buy and are you willing to pay a little more for it?
Furthermore, it is most likely that the homeowner who installed solar paid less for the whole system than the power is worth over seven years. This is because the tax credits in South Carolina are 55% of the cost. In the end, recovering the money invested in a cash purchase is easy when you move.
The Solar Lease
If you use a different financing model like a solar lease, then be sure to find out how easy it is to transfer the lease to a new homeowner. Will the newcomer qualify? Will the warranty transfer? Will the new owner want to take over the lease? Many of the large leasing companies have worked it out to make moving a streamlined process. However, make sure you read the fine print.
The unsecured Dividend Solar Loan is the most popular way of owning your system. Since you own the system, you have two options:
- Sell your home with the added cost of the solar system included within the price of the home. Then take the money and pay off the Dividend payments since there is no prepayment penalty.
- Or you can transfer the loan to the new homeowner contingent on the new homeowner qualifying for a loan. As long as the new home buyer qualifies for the key credit guidelines, the EmpowerLoan can easily be transferred:
- 660 FICO minimum credit score
- Max loan amount 50% of annual income
The solar industry has made it possible to take something that makes power for 25 or more years applicable to the new American lifestyle. Making a $25k-$30k purchase is a big decision, however we encourage every homeowner to sit down and make a list of the advantages and disadvantages of going solar. What we find is that the worry of “what if I move?” is easily calmed by the options available at the time of a move and the monetary savings it provides.
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