If you’re thinking about selling your solar home, we can provide information and resources to help.
Solar homes are growing in popularity as buyers look for homes that can save energy, money and go easy on the environment.
Solar Adds Value
You already know that solar can help save on utility costs while generating clean electricity for the grid. The great news is that solar homes have also been shown to achieve price premiums and to sell faster than non-solar homes – big advantages! The most recent study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories (LBNL) showed that solar homes achieved price premiums ranging from about $2 to almost $7 per watt. This means the owner of a new 5kW system might expect $10-$35K premium depending on many variables like system size, age and market location.
The LBNL study focused on owned solar systems, which have the strongest argument for increased value as owned assets are more easily understood by the real estate and banking industry.
For leased systems, even though many have significant monetary (and environmental) value, most appraisers are reticent to consider these because major mortgage lenders don’t finance leasehold improvements – assets not owned by the homeowner and therefore out of their reach in case of default. The irony is that many leased solar systems can produce enough savings to pay off a good part of the mortgage payments, therefore reducing the lender risk. Fortunately, the value of solar can impact many aspects of the selling process, including generating more interest in the home and helping to sell faster. The key is to promote the positive benefits of the system so potential buyers can understand the value.
Promotion Is Key
Solar won’t sell itself. In order to get into the higher end of the solar premium range you need to highlight the monetary value and other benefits your specific system brings to potential homebuyers. Even with the best intentions, Realtors and appraisers struggle to fully value solar installations. Many have not been trained yet on solar, and new buyers have legitimate questions about value, savings, and other issues that must be addressed regardless of how the system was financed. In the worst-case scenario, unanswered questions and hearsay concerns can turn your big benefit into a negative in the market.