Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (eXp Realty of California, Inc.)

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Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

This may all be more than you want to know - but - definitely get a solar inspection.  Solar companies and electric companies offer inspections.  It's always a good idea to have a 3rd party inspect them.  If they collect bird debris or leaves, etc, those should be cleared away as that reduces their effectiveness.   How often do we go up on a roof? 

If there are issues with the leased panels, then at least a seller can fall back on their lessor company as they'll most likely be under a warranty.  If they are owned, review the warranty if there are any issues.

You'll want to confirm how old the inverter is as well.  Inverters last between 7 - 10 years.   Always educate home owners on those as they think they last as long as the panels do.  

Depending on the age of the panels, most degrade about 1/2 - 1% a year.  Make sure to read all of the fine print for escalating lease payments if panels are leased.  And of course review the warranty.

Know that leased panels have no value and they are under warranty for typically 20 - 25 years.  Since a home seller doesn't own the panels they can't just replace them. 

Solar panels are now more efficient, lighter weight and cost less so it's a win win for a homeowner to own them, not always to lease them.  Buyers don't want to inherit a lease that feels like someone else's credit card payment, but it depends on the lease payment and power reduction. 

I've had an owned system repaired for a home seller before.  Here in Scottsdale, and other parts of Phoenix, we have "roof rats."  These nasty critters eat citrus and like to live in our attics.  They are famous for chewing through "things. "  In my case they chewed through the wiring and disabled an entire solar array on a roof.  Cost to repair was about $200, well worth it to bring the system back online and my seller was thrilled! 

Nov 10, 2020 04:34 PM
Joseph Domino 480-390-6011
HomeSmart - Scottsdale, AZ
Real Estate Made Easy

Yes, I have. It wasn't easy finding an inspector that I trusted. Fortunately I was able to find one that was both thorough and affordable. It was well worth it. Most solar systems are leased so the company is responsible. But if it is owned, the owner is responsible. You don't want to buy a defective system.

Solar isn't really complicated, but there are more solar sales people than repair people.

Nov 10, 2020 02:09 PM
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
Probate Real Estate

I have not represented a buyer that purchased a home with solar ... wrote many offers that were not accepted. 

Would I recommend an inspection?  It would depend on many things. I would review the age, warranty information, etc. and determine if a warranty, if any, would pass to the new owner. There are many moving parts here 

Nov 10, 2020 03:29 PM
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA

I have been through a couple of purchases and listings of properties by clients wherein the properties had solar. In all cases, the system was not owned but leased...therefore maintenance was the responsibility of the lease vendor/lessor.

If the system was owned by the homeowner, I would find an inspector to give it a review.

Nov 10, 2020 02:52 PM
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

Jan Green is the one I would turn to with solar questions or anything dealing with "green" issues.

Nov 10, 2020 04:18 PM
sandy straley
Rindlesbach Homes - Salt Lake City, UT
Selling Homes for over 40 Years

Here in Salt Lake City Utah Rocky Mountain Power is trying to take all the incentives away like being able to store power and a reduction in rates.  They also charge a monthly fee for those that have solar.... so sad since this is a great way of the future

Nov 10, 2020 04:15 PM
Caroline Gerardo
Sun West Mortgage Corporation - Newport Beach, CA
C. G. Barbeau the Loan Lady nmls 324982

I have off grid solar and am very familiar with maintenance and installation.  I have a gentleman who is excellent. If the system is more than 10 years old assume it needs lots of repairs and replacement. The roof may also need an inspection as with solar people walk on the roof to inspect and maintain. If the system is leased and old, get it replaced it may have no value, may even be a liability. Solar has advanced to lighter weight, better smaller batteries and many upgraded features now that millions are on houses. How much sun exposure and location in terms of climate of your city also is part of decision making. In South West US solar is great, we get many days of sun. In areas where there is snow, hurricaines... solar may not be the best rooftop choice

Nov 10, 2020 02:29 PM
Doug Dawes
Keller Williams Realty Evolution - Topsfield, MA - Georgetown, MA
Your Personal Realtor®

Hmmm...hadn't even thought of that. Solar not so prevalent out this way

Nov 10, 2020 12:41 PM
Lyn Sims
Schaumburg, IL
Real Estate Agent Retired

I think it's a good idea but have never sold a system on a home yet. Problems I know with whether they own it or lease it.

Nov 10, 2020 12:28 PM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Look no farther. Jan Green has the answer, and that answer would make a perfect blog post. Look forward to your presentation at next Tuesday's Zoom.

Nov 10, 2020 05:42 PM
Tony Lewis
Summit Real Estate Group - Valencia, CA
Summit Real Estate Group Valencia & Aliso Viejo

I first recommend that our clients buy a home without Solar due to the fact that technology changes so rapidly.  Next I'll recommend that they find out whether the System is owned or leased.  Then it is urgent to find out the terms, size, age and cost of maintenance and terms of the contract.  Last would be to have the system inspected.

Nov 10, 2020 01:03 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

I was going to tag Jan Green but, see that she caught that hot term, "solar!"

Can't wait for her presentation on our Tuesday call!

Nov 10, 2020 09:53 PM
Steve Higgins
RE/MAX Kelowna - Kelowna, BC

I would if the home inspector didn't have experience with solar systems. I haven't sold a home with a solar system.

Nov 10, 2020 06:01 PM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


I am not aware of any one doing so.  Thank you for asking this interesting question? A

Nov 10, 2020 01:39 PM
Ryan Huggins - Thousand Oaks, CA - Thousand Oaks, CA
Residential Real Estate and Investment Properties

I'm not aware of any inspectors for this.

Nov 10, 2020 01:15 PM
Alan May
Jameson Sotheby's International Realty - Evanston, IL
A moving experience!

I've never been involved with solar at all... wouldn't know where to begin.

Nov 10, 2020 01:08 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Jeff I keep telling anyone who is willing to listen stay away from Solar... Lenders, Title Co all hate it talk to them.... try to find an inspector on top....not easy, Ensre

Nov 10, 2020 10:34 PM
Brian England
Arizona Focus Realty - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

I have had a buyer do so and it was expensive but they wanted to make sure the solar system was in good shape.  The inspection located a couple of issues that the seller had corrected.

Nov 11, 2020 03:55 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

I've never sold a home with solar panels... but if I did, I'd certainly recommend an inspection.

Nov 11, 2020 03:23 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Have listed and sold a few homes with solar panels, and have never had an inspection on them.   Sounds like a good idea, so reading other comments.

Nov 11, 2020 06:34 AM
Tom Bailey
Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc. - Oak Island, NC

Solar is not big here. I have never even shown a home with solar 

Nov 11, 2020 05:31 AM
David Popoff
DMK Real Estate - Darien, CT
Realtor®,SRS, Green ~ Fairfield County, Ct

Yes, I treat a solar system just like a pool, it is up to the client if they want it and do get it inspected.

Nov 11, 2020 04:47 AM
Brenda Mayette
Miranda Real Estate Group, Inc. - Glenville, NY
Getting results w/ knowledge & know-how!

Most sales w/ solar that I've been involved with are leased and oh the paperwork....!  Jan Green gave us all an awesome answer.  

Nov 11, 2020 04:42 AM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Other than solar for heating a pool, I have no experience. And, never had a solar inspection.

Nov 11, 2020 04:10 AM
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Had a home recently rigged to the nines with solar and owner made the buyer a Jedi on harnessing the sun. Manuals, talk throughs, thorough A-Z and everyone happy. In small rural areas no Maytag repair man. It's less experts in the yellow pages to do the walking and talking. More hands on, DIY with a larger skill set happens.

Nov 11, 2020 03:47 AM
Peter Mohylsky. BRIX REALTY
Miramar Beach, Florida - Santa Rosa Beach, FL

No experience here.  But interested.

Nov 11, 2020 03:37 AM
Scott Godzyk
Godzyk Real Estate Services - Manchester, NH
One of the Manchester NH's area Leading Agents

There are some variations of leased to owned panels. For those owned panels, it is a must. From battery life to installation to pests chewing through them. It is worth the inspection

Nov 11, 2020 05:29 AM
Candice A. Donofrio
Next Wave RE Investments LLC Bullhead City AZ Commercial RE Broker - Fort Mohave, AZ
928-201-4BHC (4242) call/text

I own the entire solar system, it works fine!

and what Jan said.

Nov 11, 2020 05:05 AM