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Working w/ Realtors = Enemy VS Advocate

The #1 Question I receive from a Homeowner considering "Going Solar" is "What happens if I move?"

When a Homeowner decides to sell their home, they have a few options when it comes to their Solar System.

If the Homeowner is in a Lease or a Power Purchase Agreement, most homeowners will simply transfer the Solar agreement to the Buyer, the Buyer taking over right where Seller left off. They're going to need to purchase Electricity anyway, they are not reluctant to take over the Agreement.

Sometimes, during a Consultation, and the Homeowner begins asking about "what happens if they move?" inevitably, I receive the Question : "What if they don't want the Solar program?" This really just doesn't happen.

Here's why a person considering buying the home won't ask for the Solar to be removed: When a Homeowner goes to sell their House, their Realtor is going to take 15-20 pictures of Inside the Home, 15-20 of Outside the Home. If a person is looking to buy a 4 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom, 3 car garage, no pool, in the area, their Realtor is going to email them MLS Links to every single 4 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom, 3 car garage, no pool, homes that are in that area to be considered.

If a potential buyer HATES Solar, or works for the Utility, or, thinks 'Solar Sucks', well, they just don't come to the house. There are far too many homes that will meet their specifications for them to show up and say "We'll give you Full price offer, but, you need to remove the Solar System". It just doesn't happen.

Very similarly, if a person has a swimming pool, grandma and grandpa moving from Wisconsin, worried about the safety of the grandchildren, they don't want a swimming pool, they don't make offers to buy the home under 1 condition : fill in the swimming pool with cement. It just doesn't happen.

All this being said, the Homeowner has options when they decide to sell. Most often, if it's a Lease, they just transfer the agreement into the new home buyers name, very easy, very simple. Or, maybe they choose to 'buy out' the remainder of the term of the Agreement, then, they own it, at that point, they can do whatever they want with the Solar System, it's theirs, do what they like.

If the Homeowner has purchased the Solar System, and maybe there remains financing attached to the Solar System, they will just include the Solar System Financing payoff into the home's purchase price.

Now more than ever, Real Estate Appraisers are assigning True Value with supporting Comps for Homes that have Solar. On Average, in California, Homes with a Solar System sell for 2.75% Higher than homes without a Solar System. Buyers are looking for Homes that have manageable continued expense. Inexpensive Electricity with Solar, Energy Efficient Appliances, Variable Speed Pool Pumps, Efficient A.C. units, etc. Anything that will keep the Electricity bill as low as possible.

If a Homeowner is considering 'Going Solar', and they are truly "on the Fence", they are 50/50, uncertain,most often the professional that they Trust is the Realtor that sold them the Home. Maybe they just moved from out of State, don't know many professionals, neighbors, or others that have chosen to 'Go Solar', so they call the person who helped them purchase the Home to begin with.

If their Realtor has had a poor experience with a Solar Agreement Transfer, or, has no experience, they are highly unlikely to recommend that their client move forward with Solar.

On the other hand, if they have experience, understand how simple it is, they can be a HUGE Advocate in your Business.

Part of my business model in the Solar Industry is to make myself available as a Resource to Real Estate Agents. I sponsor Continuing Education Courses, I meet the Brokers, speak with Teams, Network with Realtors, try and help any way I can. Most often, it does not result in a "Sale" for me. Every chance I get I try and Educate Realtors on how the Lease Agreement works, options at Home Sale, how to request a 'Green Appraiser' from their Seller's Lender so appropriate Value is given.

Be a Resource. Turn the Realtors that you know in to Advocates for Solar. At the Least, help them not be an "enemy". Even if a potential Solar customer called their original Real Estate Agent and asked for their Professional opinion and their opinion was neutral, that is MUCH BETTER than the Agent telling them to 'Not do it'!!!

If you want to the Solar Industry to continue to Thrive, and you intend to be in Solar the remainder of your Career, then HELP Realtors get educated. Help them understand. Help them gain experience. Help them with the Transfer Team. Help them with Transfer Agreement. If the Buyer doesn't understand what exactly they are about to Transfer into their name, then take 30-45 minutes, host a Consultation where you know you won't make a Sale that day, but the Agent now has a comfortable, confident, buyer, you will create a new customer with a Sale another day, I promise.

Right now, I have 3 pending Installations in my Pipeline Sourced from Real Estate Agents. There is no way that I would have earned these jobs had I not made myself available to every/any Realtor I meet that may encounter "Solar" someday, and if they are an active Agent, I promise, when they might encounter their first transaction with "Solar", they will call you.

Realtors are AWESOME Referral Partners. Be an Ambassador for Solar. It may not "help" you that particular day, but, with continued effort, I assure you that the Favor will be returned to you if you are helping Realtors transform in to Solar Advocates. 

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