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July 28, 2022

Solar Panel Leases: How To Avoid Escrow Headaches

Solar panels on a roof

There’s a process for transferring solar panel lease ownership during the sale of a house. I’ve handled my share of escrows involving solar panel leases, and there are a few key things for both buyers and sellers to know in order to avoid escrow delays.

Here are tips for both sides:
1. Notify your solar company that you are selling your house and will be transferring ownership. Confirm the company’s requirements and handle any immediate paperwork. Determine how many days the company will need to approve and complete the lease transfer.

2. Have your agent open a pre-sale escrow and request the preliminary title report. Check the prelim to make sure it includes a financing statement and lease under the exceptions to title section. Review the docs that are on file and make sure they are accurate.

3. Include the lease and key information for buyers in the disclosure package.
4. Contact the solar company once you’re in contract and update them on the closing date.

1. Get a copy of the solar lease and review the lease terms and transfer requirements. Leases can vary among solar companies. You’ll want to see the length of the lease term, monthly payment schedule, and how you could purchase the panels if so desired. The lease transfer terms will be key here.

2. Contact the solar company to let them know you’re buying the house. Confirm the ownership transfer timeframe. If it is surprisingly longer than the escrow, let your agent know.

2. Complete the credit application furnished by the solar company. They’ll check your credit and make sure you qualify for the monthly payments. You may want to include a term in your purchase agreement that the sale is subject to lease transfer approval by the solar company.

3. Review the preliminary title report to ensure that the financing statement and lease are mentioned.

4. Make sure the title company and your lender know that there is a solar lease involved. The lender will be interested in the monthly payments you’ll be assuming, and title may factor that into the prorated charges on your closing statement.

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