Does Solar Add Value to Your Home?
The Vermont housing market has seen unprecedented activity in the last few years, and rising prices. Anecdotally, we’ve spoken to a number of customers that have sold their homes with solar installed, and ones that have bought them, and we always ask whether the solar factored into the sale. This question has gotten mixed answers; they’ve reported that the buyers are often happy to have the solar but they don’t know how it impacted the sale.
The Jury is In – Solar Increases a Home’s Value
For many years we were stymied by realtors insisting that the solar was at best, not a factor and at worst, a negative. We were even asked to remove arrays so that people could move with the equipment, despite the fact that the installation was custom-designed for the home.
It makes sense that, all other things being equal, that a home with solar would sell for more because of the lower utility cost but that did not seem to be the conventional wisdom. Thankfully, that has changed and the value added by solar is now widely understood. You can easily find info on Zillow, Architectural Digest and any number of other sources that will tell you that solar not only results in lower carrying costs, but in higher desirability and a quicker sale.
How You Can Make Sure Your Solar is Considered?
The Appraisal Institute, the nationwide organization that governs real estate appraisers, is now officially on board and has published a form called The Residential Green and Energy Efficient Addendum. You can fill this out to document efficiency and renewable upgrades and make sure it is considered in your appraisal.
What Energy Features Raise Value?
The following are among questions asked on the Green Addendum. They will help the appraiser to quantify the added value.
Type of equipment/warranties:
Not all solar arrays are equal. At Same Sun, we only use Tier One solar equipment made in the USA like the Silfab Elite modules and Enphase micro-inverters. The better performing the equipment, the more worth it will have for your home!
Type of installation/orientation:
With in person site-evaluations, you can ensure your solar array has been placed in the optimal spot for maximum solar generation. The more energy produced- the greater the savings!
Although leasing may sound like a good idea in theory, when it comes to solar, owning is best. Not only are there great tax incentives for purchasing solar, but also a return of investment that doesn’t always come along with leasing. Leases can typically last 20-25 years, meaning if you choose to sell before the lease expires, you may find buyers hesitant to want to take over said lease. On the contrary, when you own your solar panels, it will actually add value to your home and could potentially draw in buyers as an included feature.
Utility Costs (that are being replaced):
With every solar proposal, we provide our best estimate on how much you’ll save in electricity bills and overall costs. If you’re looking to purchase a home with low monthly utility bills, a solarized one is a great option!
Energy Efficiency Measures:
If your home has, for example, good insulation or EnergyStar appliances, this can contribute to your overall utility savings thus raising your home’s value even more.
Electric Vehicles are becoming more and more popular amongst consumers. In Vermont, there are over 5,000 EV owners. That being said, when your home has EV charging capabilities, you open up opportunities for greater buyer interest. Adding a level 2 EV charger to your home gives a vehicle owner the power to charge their car right from their own house, and this feature will become more desirable to buyers as the industry continues to grow.
If you are in contract, selling or refinancing a home that already has solar, understanding and making use of the The Residential Green and Energy Efficient Addendum is important. Make sure you, your lender or your appraiser have completed the form so that the array’s value can be quantified and correctly added.
If you’re in the market for a new home, and considering one that already has solar, you should also make use of the Addendum to know what you are buying. If you are considering a home without solar, it might be the time to embrace it and even roll the cost into your purchase money mortgage. With additional energy features comes additional value, and solar is worth looking into before missing out on the benefits. If you have any questions on how solar energy can affect your real estate decisions, Same Sun can help: