As a real estate agent, I get asked this a lot! With the increase in the cost of electricity and the emergence of solar technologies, we are seeing more and more home owners installing solar. As a homeowner (and futureÂ solar owner) I would love to say "absolutely"!Â The truth is however, not necessarily.
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If you are considering installing solar in your home, my best advice would be to do it for you and NOT for what "perceived" value it adds to your home.Â As I write this, I have a solar company installing panels on my home. We interviewed a number of companies and reviewed tons of options for purchase, lease, etc.Â We ultimately picked the company based on their reputation, number of installs and customer service. We did the math over and over again and we are confident that within 5 years we will have recouped our cost and be on the "savings" side of solar.
Our financial break down, estimates that after 5 years we will save anywhere from $300-$400 a month in electricity bills. As a home owner, I would love to believe that with numbers like that, I could get an additional $20-30K for my home once the solar is installed! Why not, at today's interest rates a $300-$400/mo savings is at least the equivalent of $80,000-$100,000 in loan. As a real estate agent, I know the harsh reality is that if I had to sell my house tomorrow, I will NOT get $20k-30k more than I would get today (without solar).
If the real estate agent in me had to have REAL conversation with the homeowner me, I would have to tell myself. That in this market, having solar is a wonderful added bonus. Buyers love the idea of having solar and they will pay for it, just not what the "homeowner me" paid for it.Â The harsh reality is that they may not even give it a dollar value, they might just be willing to give us an offer as opposed to writing on the home down the street.
As our economy stabilizes and we move back into a more healthy economic time, there is a chance that my "solar" home might fetch more than my neighbors "non solar" home, but that is pure speculation and the truth is we don't really know when the market is going to turn around.
This brings me back to my original point, if you want to put solar on, the real estate agent me, and the homeowner me, say, GREAT! I think it is a great investment, especially if you are planning on staying in your home for more than 7 years.Â Having solar on your home, has lots of perks, but increasing your home's value, is not one of them, today!
This might be controversial, I can imagine that the solar companies would disagree and I have seen their marketing that tries to convince you that it does add value.Â The reality is,Â that in today's real estate market, buyers are not willing to spend that much more for a home with solar.Â This could change, and I expect it will, but don't buy solar thinking you are going to get a return on your investment if you had to sell.
IfÂ you are thinking about adding solar to your home, I would be happy to chat with you about our experience, the companies we met with and why we ultimately chose the one we went with.Â Just to be clear, I am a FAN of solar, evidenced by the fact that we are installing it on our home. I am just NOT a fan ofÂ someone doing to for the sole purpose of "increasing the value" of their home.