Once you’ve decided to sell your home, you have the task of finding a compatible real estate agent or Realtor®. The selling agent should understand the value associated with a homes amenities and be able to appropriately communicate information to potential buyers. For homeowners with PV solar systems, this means seeking out a real estate agent who understands sustainability, energy efficiency, and green building practices.
How do you find a knowledgeable real estate agent with experience selling homes with existing solar systems? What can you do to help market your solar system to prospective buyers?
Understanding a Niche Market
As residential solar installations have increased over the years, the number of homes being sold with solar already installed is also on the rise. Studies from The National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Berkeley Lab have shown that homes with PV solar systems sell faster and for a premium compared to homes without. A recent Zillow analysis found that on average, U.S. homes with solar sell at a premium of 4.1% compared to homes without. With the average sale price for homes in Bellingham around $400,000, that 4.1% premium has the potential to increase your sale price upwards of $16,000.
There is now a niche market for prospective buyers who are specifically looking for homes with pre-existing PV systems. Like any new market, there are challenges associated with access to information and proper training. When interviewing potential real estate professionals, make sure to ask if they have taken any courses that further their knowledge of green building practices or solar electric systems.
SunShot, a U.S. Department of Energy program, has created The Solar Training and Education for Professionals Fund to create a network of training programs and educational material across the country. The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) has a Green Designation which indicates a Realtor® has completed a set of training courses on energy efficiency and sustainability. NAR provides a searchable database of Green Designees, to help you find an agent in your area. Locally, Western Solar hosts informational solar courses throughout the year to educate community members, real estate brokers, and appraisers on solar systems and their benefits.
Marketing Your Solar Home
Finding the right real estate agent is only one part of the equation. Once you’ve chosen a solar-conscious agent, there are a few steps to help set your home apart from others. We recommend using previous energy bills and expected rebates to develop informational content specific to your home. This content can help buyers visualize the benefits of owning solar and understand why they should consider paying a premium for a home with an existing solar system.
It can also be helpful to work with companies like Western Solar to ensure prospective buyers understand both system- and company-specific information. This includes reviewing features that transfer with ownership, such as our 10-year service warranty, manufacturer’s warranties, and navigating solar monitoring systems. Through collaboration with an educated real estate agent and your installation team, you can capitalize on your solar investment and take advantage of every benefit your system brings to your home.