Solar energy offers tremendous benefits for homeowners, and one of the biggest advantages of purchasing a solar energy system for your home is the resulting increase in home value. However, as affordable solar technology is still relatively new, many real estate agents and prospective home buyers don’t completely understand the value of a solar panel system. In order to fully realize the potential boost to your home’s value when you go to sell, you need a realtor who truly understands the value of residential solar energy systems and can communicate the advantages to prospective buyers.
The main points your realtor needs to communicate
First and foremost, a realtor must effectively convey to prospective buyers the cost savings that solar energy systems provide. In other words, your real estate agent must highlight the fact that solar energy systems save between $10,000 and $60,000 in energy bills over time, depending on your particular state’s average sunlight, renewable energy incentives and overall utility policies.
Many buyers who lack experience with solar energy systems may worry that maintenance of the panels will be costly and difficult. A real estate agent who understands solar energy systems can help reassure potential buyers that solar panels are actually very durable and need little to no ongoing maintenance.
The value of using a real estate agent with knowledge of solar energy systems
Numerous studies have shown that buyers are willing to pay a premium for homes with solar energy systems installed. A National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) study conducted in 2011 concluded that solar energy systems increase home values by 3 to 4 percent. Similarly, a 2015 report issued by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory showed that home buyers were willing to pay an average of $4 per watt of solar capacity–equal to a $24,000 increase in home value based on a standard 6-kilowatt system. Homes with solar energy also sell up to 20 percent faster, as demonstrated by a National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) study.
However, in order to realize this increase in value and decrease in time on the market, your realtor must properly emphasize your home’s solar energy system as they market your house for sale. The most experienced realtors will understand that the true value of a solar energy system also depends on the neighborhood; as the 2011 NBER study showed, homes with solar systems may see more than a 3 to 4 percent increase in value in green-friendly areas that foster green technology.
Moreover, real estate brokers who have experience selling homes with solar energy systems can help push the buyer’s appraiser and lender to understand the value of the system. Although Fannie Mae has provided guidelines that solar energy systems should be included in a home’s value by appraisers, many appraisers and lenders don’t fully understand the technology and thus don’t account for it when they value a home. A realtor with solar energy experience will be able to guide the appraiser and lender toward understanding the true value of a solar-powered home.
Choosing a real estate agent to handle your home sale process is always a big decision, but if your home has a solar energy system installed, ensuring that your realtor understands the value of solar power is key in realizing the full value of your home.