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How Solar Panels May Complicate Home Sales in MA

solar-panelsEverywhere you look these days, solar panels are popping up on rooftops. There has been a huge push by solar panel companies lately. In most cases, homeowners can get solar panels installed without any out-of-pockets costs. However, homeowners often forget to consider  the impact that this may have on selling their home in the future. Here are a few things that you should know about how solar panels may complicate home sales in MA.

Impact on Curb Appeal

Solar panels can dramatically impact the curb appeal of a home. If panels are placed on a rear facing roof, it may not be as noticeable as a front-facing roof. Will some buyers be deterred by the look of solar panels, particular on the front of a home? It’s certainly possible! In fact, poorly placed solar panels could reduce the value of your home or deter some buyers altogether. It can also complicate offer negotiations. For example, buyers may request removal of panels (and repair of any damaged roof shingles) prior to closing or make their offer subject to a certain terms regarding the solar panels.

Solar Panel Leases and Transferability

Most homeowners opt to lease solar panels rather than paying the huge up-front cost to purchase them. It is important to consider the terms of that lease. For example, it may be a 30 year lease, but if you choose to sell your home 5 years from now, what terms will apply? Some companies allow the lease to be transferred to the new home buyer, assuming that the new buyers want it. They may even give you the option to move the panels to your new home. In that case, what is the cost? More importantly, can all of this be finalized before a scheduled closing date?

Given that most people live in their home for 5-7 years, it is important to evaluate solar panel lease terms from a home selling perspective before you sign anything. It is likely that both parties will need to consult with an attorney to work out details for any agreement made regarding solar panels on a home for sale. This may result in additional legal expenses for everyone involved.

More on How Solar Panels May Complicate Home Sales in MA

Unlike other utility leases (such as hot water tanks), solar panel agreements and terms are more complex. If you are looking to buy or sell a home in MA that contains solar panels, it is important to understand the options available and what will be required from both parties. Obtain legal advice to ensure that you understand the documentation and your rights/options. In fact, if you haven’t signed your solar panel agreement yet, view the terms from a home buyer’s perspective and consider the impact it may have on your selling plans. Consult with an attorney if you have any questions about that agreement.

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Attorney John J. Martino offers a broad range of legal services in Eastern MA and Southern NH. As a highly dedicated and experienced professional, he handles cases under the following areas of practice:

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