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Selling House with Massachusetts SMART Contract

I purchased Tesla solar panels for my house and signed the 10 year contract with the Massachusetts SMART program where I receive a check every month for my solar production.

If I sell my house, obviously the new owner will get the benefit of the free solar generation, but is there any obligation to the home seller to transfer the SMART payments to the home buyer? I paid in full the cost of the solar system, so I would think I could continue to receive the SMART payments.

Alternatively, I could build into the sale the estimated remaining SMART payments that will be received.
 

jjrandorin

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Nov 28, 2018
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If I sell my house, obviously the new owner will get the benefit of the free solar generation, but is there any obligation to the home seller to transfer the SMART payments to the home buyer? I paid in full the cost of the solar system, so I would think I could continue to receive the SMART payments.

Alternatively, I could build into the sale the estimated remaining SMART payments that will be received.

.......

Unless you also expect to be doing things like paying for the water used in the house when you no longer own it, why would you think you would still own infrastructure attached to the house after you sell it?

You would need to price the home at whatever you think it needs to be priced at to sell. You are certainly free to increase your home price to "whatever" based on "whatever" but a buyer may have a hard time understanding "and you will be getting credits for this energy for the next X years so I am going to charge you for it now", so you likely would want to leave any itemizing of that off and just increase the price if you think it will sell.

Im still struggling with the "I bought this thing attached to the home, so I still expect to get payments on it after I sell the home", though. Thats definitely some impressive mental gymnastics there.
 
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holeydonut

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Jun 27, 2020
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.......

Unless you also expect to be doing things like paying for the water used in the house when you no longer own it, why would you think you would still own infrastructure attached to the house after you sell it?

You would need to price the home at whatever you think it needs to be priced at to sell. You are certainly free to increase your home price to "whatever" based on "whatever" but a buyer may have a hard time understanding "and you will be getting credits for this energy for the next X years so I am going to charge you for it now", so you likely would want to leave any itemizing of that off and just increase the price if you think it will sell.

Im still struggling with the "I bought this thing attached to the home, so I still expect to get payments on it after I sell the home", though. Thats definitely some impressive mental gymnastics there.


Does Massachusetts allow a original purchaser of solar to sell their SREC credits in advance and kind of pocket that long-tail cash flow before they sell the house? Could be a way to extract the value before selling the home.
 
Given the fact what's going on with RE market in MA this conversation is kinda ... It's a seller market and there is no inventory what so ever. Buyers offer 10s of thousand over the asking in order to get the house. Let's imagine that SMART smart payments ended up about $ 3000 per year. Even if you still have all 10 years - it's $30k. Personally know family who lost twice last year offering 200K (yes two hundred thousand) over asking. So just add what ever you think you would get to the asking price.
 
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jboy210

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Dec 2, 2016
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Given the fact what's going on with RE market in MA this conversation is kinda ... It's a seller market and there is no inventory what so ever. Buyers offer 10s of thousand over the asking in order to get the house. Let's imagine that SMART smart payments ended up about $ 3000 per year. Even if you still have all 10 years - it's $30k. Personally know family who lost twice last year offering 200K (yes two hundred thousand) over asking. So just add what ever you think you would get to the asking price.
The real estate market is also nuts in California and Texas. We are seeing people pay way over asking in both markets. In addition to several hundred thousand over asking, sweetening the deal by giving the current owners 4-6 months to move, rent-free. while their new home is being built. And/or all cash offers.
 
According to Sunpower's website: "The SMART program can remain with the original purchaser of the system for the full 10 years. If the seller chooses to keep the SMART incentive, the new homeowner still benefits from lower electric bills. However, transferring the SMART Program to the buyer increases the resale value of the home, so it’s an option you should consider".
It seems natural to transfer the benefit to the new but SMART seems to have left the door (or can of worms) open.
 
According to Sunpower's website: "The SMART program can remain with the original purchaser of the system for the full 10 years. If the seller chooses to keep the SMART incentive, the new homeowner still benefits from lower electric bills. However, transferring the SMART Program to the buyer increases the resale value of the home, so it’s an option you should consider".
It seems natural to transfer the benefit to the new but SMART seems to have left the door (or can of worms) open.
Wait. So if you sell the home and move away without transferring SMART to the new owners, the SMART payments… which are calculated based on the amount of solar the panels generate on the roof of the house you no longer own… are paid out to you and not the new owner??? Seems sketchy and open for some litigation there.
 

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