“Ask the Realtor” is a weekly column from the 3,000+ member RealSource Association of Realtors, serving northern New Jersey.
Q: I understand the time it will take to recoup my costs if I install solar panels on my home. My question is does it increase the value if I were to sell?
A: Leonard, I am not aware of any real data that shows whether solar panels help to increase the value of a home in New Jersey. Anecdotally, however, with more and more Americans concerned with the environment, the rising cost of electricity and the aging of our nation’s grid, solar panels certainly could be a “value add” that could push the sale of one home more than another. Plus, a recent study from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that each kilowatt of solar capacity could add about $6,000 in value to a home — at least in California. The study showed that a typical residential installation consists of a 5KW array, which could increase a home’s value by $30,000. The study compared the value of 1,894 California homes with solar panels against 70,425 homes without a solar installation. All the homes were sold between 2000 and 2009, and had systems purchased outright rather than leased (leasing is more common). The study also noted that that the findings mirrored those reported last Oct. 31 by the Appraisal Institute, which partnered with the Colorado Energy Office and found that solar arrays increased market value and almost always decreased marketing time of single-family homes in the Denver metropolitan area.
Q: The garage door on my home is very old. However, it is sturdy. Is there any information that shows the return on investment of a new garage door on the value of a home?
A: Great question Patrick. Did you know that in most homes the garage door is the largest working part of a house? Plus, in some cases, it is the home’s most prominent feature? According to the annual Cost vs. Value Report from Remodeling magazine, garage door replacement projects return almost 76% of an investment. The magazine noted that this type of project makes a garage door replacement one of the better home improvement projects in terms of recouping value when a house sells. Lastly, the magazine noted that a replacement garage door can have a significant impact on a home’s curb appeal, drawing in would be buyers.
Q: A few months back I went looking to buy a home with a Realtor (Jim). We saw many homes and the ones that I could remember seeing, I was not happy with any of them. Today, I have a new Realtor named Elizabeth. Is it okay for Elizabeth to take us to the same homes Jim took me to see?