A real estate agent who gives home buying advice on TikTok stirred up some controversy with a video telling people not to purchase houses with solar panels installed for multiple reasons, in spite of what some seller will tell you.
According to Alexis Lohse, trying to buy a house with solar panels not only introduces additional hurdles into the already sometimes nightmarish slog of a process, but it will make selling it even harder in the future.
She further claims that despite what the people selling you these homes or the solar panels themselves might say, the panels do not add any value to the house when it comes to real numbers, even if it lowers the power bill.
“Do not buy a house with solar panels,” Lohse warns. “And if you’re about to sell a house just know that you’re most likely going to have to pay those solar panels off as well at closing.”
“When you get sold solar panels by a salesman this is what you always hear: ‘They’re so easily transferable. Good for your home, good for the environment, saves money on the bill.'”
When Lohse or the hypothetical salesman says “transferable,” they’re referring to the process of transferring ownership of the solar panels to the new owner of the house on which they’re installed. These devices are typically paid for in installments with a loan, so when the home is sold, the new owners need to take over that loan.
According to Lohse, this is not actually a simple process. In fact, she says it’s nearly as arduous as the entire house buying process all over again.
“Whoever comes in to buy your property has to go through the extensive loan process again — get their credit pulled, make sure they can get approved for the loan — like buying a home,” she explains.
And it’s not just the paperwork that’s the problem. The solar panel issue makes it so that the buyer might not be able to get approval for the house when they would have otherwise.
“It could affect your debt-to-income and make you not get approved to buy the home. I’ve seen people default on a loan [and] not be able to buy their dream home because of the solar panels on the house.”
She goes on to compare the act of buying a new car just before attempting to buy a house, which does not look good to the banks.
If you can get through all that and still purchase the home, it’s then likely that you’ll have to pay off the loan in full before you can sell it again, taking a substantial chunk out of whatever you make from the sale. And Lohse says that’s not going to be compensated by the alleged value that salespeople say gets added to the house when solar panels are installed.
“I have asked an appraiser this, I have talked with agents,” she stresses. “They do not add value to your home.”
Fans of solar panels have taken issue with Lohse’s claims, and many have asserted that their minuscule energy costs make up for any problems or loan costs. Others point out that if you don’t intend to sell the house in the future, then there’s not much to worry about once you’ve purchased it.
“I used to pay over 5k per year on electricity, and now I don’t receive bill and I get a refund between $800-$1000 from electric company. No value?” said one commenter.
“When we got them they told us to build the payoff into the price of the home and pay off the loan,” said another. “Either way we do save a ton of money a year.”
Some TikTok users, however, said that they’d experienced exactly what Lohse warned about.
“Yep!!! We went through this when we sold our home with solar panels,” said another commenter. “Luckily the homeowners were already going to buy them for their next home.”