I have always been interested in doing my part environmentally. I recycle, pick up trash, plant trees, use energy star appliances, conserve energy and even limit the number of paper products I buy. One thing I have been interested in is solar panels.

I drive through a lot of neighborhoods. In these neighborhoods, about 10% of the people have panels on their roofs. I wonder how the companies were able to make the sale. Did one neighbor decide because another neighbor moved forward with getting solar? I have noticed senior communities with solar panels.

When solar first started for private residences, they had some good deals. You could purchase or lease. The contracts were straightforward and easy to navigate. In today’s market, some companies have really detailed and complicated their contracts. Having a client who sold her home in a senior community, we learned the solar company had a lean on her house. This was something she was not aware of. Trying to get ahold of the company was nearly impossible. Once we finally did, we learned she has a 30-year lease with them! She bought the house a few years earlier and had no idea of the extent this company was invested in her home. The home had to be sold with the solar panel or it would cost over $40,000 to get out of the lease. The problem I have with it is they marketed to a senior community where the turnover in housing is much shorter. How many people were taken advantage of by not understanding the terms? Unfortunately, many people do not fully understand the terms until it is time to sell. Not everyone wants solar, so you are limited in marketing the home.

My advice is buyers beware. If It sounds too good to be true – it usually is. When in doubt, do not do it unless you can read the contract and understand all of the terms. If it is still something you want to do make sure you understand if they will be putting a lien on your home and exactly what is involved to cancel the contract. The more information before committing the better.