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Aimee Cardwe…, Other/Just Looking in Noe Valley, San Fran...

Resale value for rooftop deck? Solar panels?

Asked by Aimee Cardwell, Noe Valley, San Francisco, CA Tue Jul 17, 2007

I've been thinking about adding a rooftop deck with a sitting area, greenhouse, and solar panels. The project could easily cost me $60k, but I have no idea what value it might add to my house. I'm in upper noe, and there's a great view. Any ideas?

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Hi Aimee, I have an EcoBroker Designation so the green market is one that I have tapped in to. Adding these items WILL increase your value. You have the ability the receive a Federal Tax Credit by doing this which will help to keep your costs in line. It is important to find vendors, lenders and agents in your area so you know exactly what you are looking at cost and value wise. I recommend finding an agent at may be one near you. An Energy Rating at the time you go to sell could help your buyers get approved for a special loan and it will also give you the upper hand when it comes to marketing. Below is a website that I found extremely informative regarding the cost and ROI of Solar Panels and also check out the "My Solar Calculator" link. I hope this helps you. Find a Professional near you to get specifics on how it would affect the home in your specific area.
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2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 17, 2007
Hi Tc and Aimee,

The green roof tiles are a really neat product but I just wanted to give a word of caution. Depending on your roof and climate region these could cause potential moisture problems in the future. I would recommend visiting with a local architect or maybe the local US Green Building Council about it prior to installing.

Without proper drainage the weight and moisture have been known to cause damage to homes.

I think its great that both of you are making such great efforts to having a more sustainable home. I would love to hear what both of you end up doing.

Oh, and I have heard GREAT things about Solar City. Would love to hear if either of you do that also. I would love to see them move over here to Houston!

1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 27, 2009
Dear Aimee, Now is the time to make friends with a local real estate professional that will be knowledgable about additions such as this! It sounds like a wonderful idea, but around my area would be impractical.

I always advise people to forge a relationship with an agent long before they need one. That way questions about paint colors, landscaping and remodels are a snap. Most agents would rather talk to you now then later when you need to sell and might be in a difficult situation.

Good luck!
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1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 17, 2007
Hi Neighbor, I live in Upper Noe too. We will eventually add both to our house (if the economy cooperates). The roof deck might be an interesting way to go because you can take advantage of the views but also increase your insulation if you use a green roof. I'm not sure if SF or CA offer tax breaks yet but NY does. Here is a cool product to look at:… I am actually taking a class on this (sustainable structures) in March.

Also check out Solar City for their solar panel lease program. Our neighbors just did it.

Personally I think the roof deck will improve your resale value more. If you go to some local open houses you'll see big price jumps for view houses over similar houses with little or no view.

Oops, I just noticed the date of your post, which way did you go?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 27, 2009
Solar panels are making a comeback. Here in Scottsdale/Phoenix you would think that all of us Valley residents would have them. That sad truth is that the older incarnation of solar panels were maddeningly inconsistent and developed a poor reputation. They often left homeowners without enough hot water, and were prone to leaking. Bad combination. So in many cases, the presence of an older solar panel (much like an old evaporative cooler) can actually have a negative effect on resale value. The good news is that the science has drastically improved since those 1980s systems. While they have not gained enough prevalence in my market to attach a specific number for resale return, it sounds like your market might be more ready to embrace it. Speak to a good local agent who might have some data comparing sales of similar homes with and without the green upgrades. If you go through with it, please come back and post your level of satisfaction. I'm always eager to hear whether or not people endorse these products after taking the plunge. Best of luck!
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 4, 2007
My husband and I attended a green home tour up in Sonoma a couple months ago. Several of the homes had incorporated solar panels into the build or remodel. It was very cool to see the meter showing how much power they were putting back into the grid and not the reverse. Here's a link to a post about the tour. There are some pics of the homes with solar panels.

Also, the next green home tour will actually be in SF in September.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 4, 2007
I love what solar panels and roofdecks do for the quality of life of the residents. In most cases, you will not see an increase in value that equals the amount of money you spend on those projects. If you are going to be living in that home for a while (or you're reasonably sure you're staying for a while), it would make sense to go ahead. Especially in San Francisco, the solar panels alone are valued emotionally by many buyers, so you win there. Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 17, 2007
Chris is right talk to a local agent. Most will have contractors and other companies that they have done business with in the past that can help you. A local agent will also know what the local buyers are looking for. With solar panels and you may attract more environmentally minded people. Not all home improvement adds a higher value. For instance a pool will hardly get your money back. But a deck with a view may bring you more. Again contact a local agent, then have them take you around and show you what your other home owners have in their homes that is on the market.
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 17, 2007
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