Selling With Solar Panels: What Homeowners Need to Know

Live Life on Your Terms With Real Estate Investing

Buy It, Rent It, Profit brings together education, tools, and a community of more than 50,000 members—all in one place. Learn about investment strategies, analyze properties, connect with an investor-friendly network, and more.

Most real estate agents will advise their clients to invest in landscaping prior to selling their homes. After all, having well-maintained trees and shrubs can increase property value by up to 14%. But today’s buyers aren’t only interested in improving the look of the environment; they also want to know that a home will support planetary protections. Upgrading to more energy efficient appliances can help here, as today’s air conditioners use nearly 50% less energy than comparable units did in the 1990s. But smart appliances may not even be as impressive as a home with its own sustainable energy source. Yes, we’re talking about solar panels.

Since 2008, U.S. solar installations have grown seventeen-fold, meaning that there’s now enough capacity to power the equivalent of 5.7 million American homes. And due to increasing demand, recent data from Zillow revealed that homes with solar panels can sell for approximately 4.1% more than neighborhood comps. That percentage can translate to nearly $10,000 for a median-priced home. There’s also evidence to suggest that solar powered homes will sell faster than average. Since buyers know how much potential energy savings could be offered by these panels, coming across a property that already has them installed can be a nominal event. Appliances, which can often be made tougher and more attractive with powder coating (an industry that dominates the appliance market), can be made even more energy efficient when solar power is used. The idea of saving a substantial amount of money and electricity is understandably appealing to many would-be buyers.

However, that doesn’t mean every home is equipped with solar power — not by a long shot. Despite the fact that these panels have become more affordable and more desirable, they aren’t necessarily a common sight in real estate listings. They’re likely to be more prevalent in areas with high “sun numbers” (e.g., a greater number of sunny days in the average year), like regions in the Southwest. Regardless of where you are, however, solar panels can make your listing stand out — but it’s up to you as to whether it’s for the right reasons.

There are some buyers who might not have solar power on their list of must-haves when searching for a property. Depending on the type of solar panels chosen and the method of installation, certain buyers may have qualms about having more obvious features on the roof of a home. You might be able to convince these buyers of the benefits offered by solar power, however, if you package everything in the correct way. Driving home the importance of sustainability, especially paired with other environmentally friendly or energy efficient home features, can be a smart (pun intended) way to go. But from a more immediate standpoint, providing buyers with information on how solar panels can drastically reduce energy bills and offer other financial incentives will likely be an effective route to take.

If you worked with a local solar panel installation company with a great reputation, you’ll want to highlight this to put buyers’ minds at ease; you may also want to mention how low-maintenance solar panels actually are and dispel some popular myths that might make them think twice about purchasing your property. It’s also a good idea to seek out a real estate agent who has experience selling homes with solar panels, as marketing materials and other approaches might make all the difference in how quickly your home sells and for how much. Provide your agent with as much information as you can about your home’s solar system so that they can provide any pertinent details to interested buyers right away.

If you play your cards right, a solar-equipped home can sell for substantially more than a less energy efficient home. But rather than relying on the mere presence of those panels to sell your home for you, you’ll want to give careful thought to how you’ll promote your home’s energy efficiency when it comes time to list. If you can ensure the benefits of solar are obvious to your buyers, you’ll stand a much better chance of turning a profit and selling on a speedy timeframe.

This article contains general information and does not contain legal advice. Buy It, Rent It, Profit is not a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.