What to consider when buying a house with solar panels?

When thinking about buying a house with solar panels there are several considerations which you may want to make to ensure you get a good deal and don’t find yourself in a spot of bother down the line.

The clear advantage or immediate benefit of buying a house with solar panels is that you may have energy savings due to all the sunlight the UK gets during the summer but as you know, great weather isn’t guaranteed in the UK and although buying a house with solar panels may seem like a great idea at first there are certain things to look out for.

The rent a roof scheme which was introduced by the UK in2010 drove so much demand for solar panels but how does this all work out or affect you when buying a house with a solar panel?

What to consider when buying a house with solar panels

Below are the main things to consider when buying a house with solar panels:

You may want to view the below documents to get an idea of the solar panel which has been fitted on the roof. Due to the weight of solar panels, roofs will usually have to be reinforced to carry the weight.

Some of the documents you may want to view before buying a house with a solar panel include:

Building Regulation Approval

Structural Survey of the roof

Completion Certificate or certification confirming the installer is part of the Microgeneration Certification Scheme or another relevant Competent person scheme.

Electrical installation certificate

Planning permission (only if the property does not benefit from the permitted development provisions)

Guarantee for the panels.

Can you get a mortgage with a house with solar panels?

If you are not a cash buyer then getting a mortgage will be a key point for you and if you are unable to secure a mortgage due to the fact that the house has solar panels then you may not be able to buy a house with solar panels.

Your first point of call should be with a mortgage broker to ensure that there may be mortgage lenders out there willing to lend to you. There are usually specialist mortgage lenders, more often than not, non-high street mortgage lenders who may lend to borrowers with houses which have solar panels.

Some of the key points to consider when looking to get a mortgage on a house with a solar panel:

Do the panels have the proper MCS accreditation?

Were the panels installed under a rent-a-roof scheme (meaning they will be leased)?

Does the existing property owner own the solar panels?

Are there any existing financial agreements in place on the solar panels?

Leased solar panels

Leased solar panels are solar panels which you may be leasing and have installed on your roof or in some cases the solar panel company could lease your roof and place a solar panel on it for free. They will then allocate some of the enrgy to you and sned the rest to the grid.

Not all mortgage lenders are happy with leases solar panels as they create a variety of problems. They may mean that you have more financial commitments than first assumed.

Leased solar panels could make the house harder to sell and most mortgage lenders will stipulate in their mortgage agreements with you that you cannot go into lease agreements concerning your property without telling them.

You may be able to find mortgage lenders who are willing to lend to you with a leased solar panel but these mortgage lenders will want to see the lease agreements and they will need to be satisfied with it. They will look at it from the point of another buyer and determine if it will be straightforward to sell a house with this agreement.

Preinstalled solar panels

If the home has preinstalled solar panels then you may find most mortgage lenders may still not be willing to lend on the property without you having insurance for the solar panel, a warranty and proof that the solar panel has been fully paid for.

The other option you may have is to get the seller of the home to take off the solar panel and you can negotiate a reduced or increased price for the home depending on whose cost it is.

For you to fully understand your mortgage options when buying a house with solar panels you should contact a mortgage broker who can assess your situation and let you know what mortgage lenders may be willing to lend to you.

Is it hard to sell a house with a solar panel?

Well not really, it all depends on if your solar panel is fully paid for if you are still paying for it.

If you are still paying for it and it is a secured agreement then you may not be able to sell your home as there is an outstanding debt on it. You will need to use the proceeds from the house sale to pay out the balance o the solar panel agreement before the solar panel company will release the charge on your home and allow you to transfer the deeds through the land registry.

In some cases, the solar panel company now has clauses which allow a buyer to take over the solar panel agreement and continue to make the monthly repayments.

This guide has mostly focussed aroung getting a mortgage with a solar panel.

You may want to read more into the feed-in tariff and how it may affect your decision to buy a house with solar panels.

If you need financial advice and you live in the UK then you could contact the Money Advice service over the phone or via chat for impartial advice.

You can also contact the debt charity “Step Change” if you are in debt and need help.