Realtor Shares Surprising Drawbacks of Solar Panels on Home's Value


Sep. 25 2023, Published 6:19 p.m. ET

When looking to make a building or home more environmentally sustainable, solar panels are one of the most popular investments touted by environmentalists. However, Alexis Lohse, a realtor on TikTok, says people shouldn't buy a home if it already has solar panels. The information she shares might surprise you, so be sure to understand the pros and cons of solar panels.

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Public reaction to Lohse's perspective on solar panels in the homebuying process is mixed. Is she right about the value of solar panels not being worthwhile?

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A realtor shared a TikTok about the drawbacks of installing solar panels on your home's value.

On her TikTok page, Alexis Lohse, aka @varealestateagent, posted a firm warning about solar panels with a video stating, "Do not buy a house with solar panels."

She goes on to explain that solar salespeople don't mention the drawbacks with solar panels from both the homeowner's and the homebuyer's perspective.

In the video, Lohse says that having solar panels can cause issues when you try to sell your house.

"Just know that you're most likely going to have to pay those solar panels off as well at closing," she explains. That reduces how much money you receive from a home sale.

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According to Lohse, when you try to sell a home with solar panels, the potential buyer has to go through the loan process to be approved for the solar loan, which complicates the process. She says it could even affect your debt-to-income ratio, and make you unable to afford the home or get loan approval.

Lohse criticizes the way salespeople promote solar panels by saying they're "easily transferable" along with helping you save money and adding value to your home. Her claim is that they may add value to you personally — and to your environmental footprint — but that she has heard from an appraiser and from other agents that solar panels don't add value to a home.

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Some commenters agreed with Lohse.

A few jumped into the comment section on the TikTok to voice their agreement. Comments included:

  • "Great tips!!! They only add value if the new buyer sees it as valuable!"
  • "Just repped a buyer on a house with solar panels. We 100 percent had the seller pay them off at settlement"
  • "Unless you can pay for them in full it’s a no."
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According to Market Watch, transferring a solar lease may require a credit check, which could delay the sale of the home if the buyer doesn't qualify, so Lohse is correct on that point.

However, other commenters are debunking some of Lohse's claims about solar panels.

Not all viewers agreed with Lohse's claims about disadvantages of solar panels.

  • "I own mine 100 percent free and clear with a back up generator… wouldn’t that be an up sell when I sell?"
  • "I inquired about selling process (leased solar). it was extremely simple. if the buyers qualified for the mortgage, then they qualified to take over."
  • "She’s talking about a solar lien or lease. These can be transferred but it’s work. It does add sale value but not on the appraisal."
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One commenter wrote: "We bought our house with an active lease on solar panels. A few extra signatures so we take over the lease was about it." Several others echoed the idea that leased panels are more complicated than paid-off solar panels when trying to sell, but not always a dealbreaker.

Overall, solar panels do add value to your home. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, every $1 reduction in home energy bills adds $20 to the home's value. Plus, you can enjoy the benefit of reducing your environmental footprint by using solar energy. Just make sure to do your research before purchasing or leasing solar panels for your home.

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