Study Program

Study Program

Topic 1: How to list a house with Solar


What Mom taught me - she was a real estate agent.

When you have an open house do you leave a folder on the kitchen table with the utility bills in it?

I am mainly talking about the electric bill. In California, we need to know what we are going to pay for a house by getting an idea what the current owner pays. So do this. But do it in the 2021-22 style - here is how:

Gather all the utility data and put it in an MLS folder. Call it your Energy Folder. If they don't have solar, the potential new owners need to know what kind of electric bill they could be looking at to run the house. In our area, it is not unusual to average $265 a month to $400 a month.

What's that mean? Chances are - you client is a good candidate for solar, So why not consult with me (like my agent friends do) and let's give your customer a solar quote so they can build that solar system (and you could get a sweet referral fee when the system is built). It is that simple! If I said they needed a 7-11 kW system you may not know what that means.....but that is the correct answer. They can lower the utility bill down to $250 for the entire year with enough solar panels. But that is another story....this what I do for a living - help families save money and go solar! It is the best job ever! Please contact me for assessment - I am energy consultant!

There are four types of solar you need to know about. They are:

  • The PPA (has some rules and needs time to do a transfer)
  • The Paid for solar system
  • The Lease
  • The Pace Product 

This is what you need to do when you list a house - starting now

Get the most recent utility bill – Scan the whole bill. Post it as an attachment in your MLS client folder. Now everyone can see that the client has a recent solar bill showing solar production.

Q – how can tell if the solar is working if you get a recent bill? You look for the words on the electric portion of the bill – generation charge. When you see a generation charge – that system is making electricity that month, which is good and what you need to know.

Also – what kind of bill is it? Do you think the billing types matters? It could make a difference but more importantly, look at what is the amount due that month? If it is a low bill, say under $50 to -$50 than that is a nice electric bill. This is what you are looking for.

What would be a warning sign when you look at clients electric bill? (stay with me)

How about a large amount due for that one month? If the statement says $200 or more is due, you may have a problem. I would immediately ask for other bills or have them explain if the bill are all that high, even with solar.

Why do I need to get the electric bill for a recent month?

A) To see if the system is generating electricity.

B) The word Generation should be on the electric part showing it is making electricity

C) The bill should relatively low, showing solar is working!

What else do you need when listing a solar house?

The same time you are at the home you need to get two more important items.

The solar packet from when the solar was originally sold and the true up statement.

Why are these important?

The true up statement shows how well the system performed for them in a 12 month period. If the client has a small solar system, and they used more electricity than the system made, would it be ok to see a true up?

Absolutely. What is a true up?

Do your commissions true up with broker's office? It is the same thing, except with the electric company it is over a 1 year time period. When you pay, you are using more electricity than you make. If you do not see a true up amount due or a minimal one, then know the system is worked fine that year.

Last – you need to ask the client for the energy packet that they received when the system was turned on.

Everyone receives a Energy or Homeowners Packet. It has the warranty info but more importantly it has a copy of the transaction. How can you tell what kind of transaction it is? Yes, it is in there. Look for key works - Purchase, Power Purchase or Solar Lease.

Look at the purchase agreement. If you see works like finance amount and tax credit, they bought the system. Find out if it is paid off. If they are still making payments – get the lender info or call the solar company the client used so you can get the correct info.

Note- Solar clients know who they are paying for financed solar systems and what year they are in. They can usually tell you what year they bought the system in. It is your job to get the correct info and make it all available info as the listing agent on the MLS attachment. Those of you who are doing this already – congratulations. We love that! You are already successful! Thanks for being here. Keep going and learn more.

Why is this important? Great agents – the ones you want to do business with, have it together so when you are bringing over a buyer you can grab that solar info in the beginning and explain to the potential buyer what kind of system is on the house and how to handle a transaction.

When is the best time to deal with solar when listing a house?

A) Upfront, from day 1. Why?

B) Buyers have choices. The solar needs to be attractive for someone to want to buy that house, right? Does that mean if this system paid off we have an advantage over a lease, PPA or pace product? 

C) That would be correct. Houses that have paid for solar systems are a hot commodity. Everyone wants one of those – they are or will be in demand. You can sell them for more or you can buy them for less. It all depends on how you look at it and what your stake in the game is.

IF $10,000 or less is owed on a solar system.....and you represent the buyer of the house. Figure out a way to get the house with no payment for electricity. Make it so everyone wins. As a Real Estate Agent, what can you do if this is your buyer? or you seller? Do you have a solar strategy? How can you make one? Who is your energy consultant who understands solar that can help you with a project?

Ownership is the best because electricity is a commodity

If your house makes $300 a month and you no longer have to pay that, how much is that worth over a 10 or 20 year period? $30K? 60K? 90K? Why would you give the solar system away or make your client split the cost? Sell a paid off solar system house for more money. You will see in the next 18 to 24 months houses that have paid off solar systems are going to be very valuable. Some solar ownership loans are also transferable, so clients can take over payments in some in some instances.

Valuable update: Houses without solar and new builds (title 24 rules) will be paying $50 a month minimum in the future for electricity to the electric company when a house has solar! It is called NEM 3 and it is in the works. All your existing solar home - the ones you see today, are grandfathered for 20 years! Those systems are going to have value that you may not see coming, unless you know what is happening in the power companies world!

What solar owners say about moving

My clients say if they live in a solar house for 3 summers, they are fine with selling the solar system with the house and moving on. Are they loosing money when they sell the home with solar on it? Of Course Not!

Do you want to learn how to sell a solar house for more money? What is the value of a solar system, really?

Let's see if it is working. Have you ever heard of a solar assessment? How about a solar inspection? Could there be a need for this or can you figure it out yourself. Maybe you need a tour guide.....more details to follow on how to tell if you can tell this one thing. CAN YOU TELL IF THE HOUSE HAS A SOLAR SYSTEM that is working today? What are the moving parts? How does it work? What can go wrong. Has anyone made the list for you on what you need to know? We will address that in more details. Keep reading!

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