Sexy Solar Panels and Curb Appeal

It’s springtime–time to spruce up the house, straighten out those weather worn gutters and wash the winter wear off of the siding. For many homeowners, springtime is when their home receives the most attention. This is particularly true for those thinking of selling their home. Research shows that traditionally springtime yields a higher number of interested homebuyers than any other time of year. And, in an attempt to increase the value of the home, many homeowners focus on aesthetics such as landscaping, and “hot button” renovation items (such as kitchens or bathrooms). However, studies have shown that when it comes to home improvement upgrades there is more to getting the most out of your home than a pretty lawn or hardwood flooring. For instance, did you know that non-aesthetic changes such as energy efficiency upgrades can have positive and lasting effects on your home’s value? In addition to property tax exemptions, studies show that there is a correlation between annual energy savings and increased home appraisal value. As green and efficient home design becomes more commonplace, energy efficiency upgrades such as solar may become the new granite countertop!

When selling a home, depending on who you ask, there are numerous different tips and tricks that can be used to attract potential home buyers. For example, according to a columnist for Time.com, trailing zero’s (i.e $340,000) may cause a house to be perceived as more expensive than one with a more “precise” price (i.e $342,484), though it may not actually be the case. At the end of the day, however, many homebuyers are simply looking for a new place they can call home. With that in mind, the experts recommend making lasting upgrades to your home such as roof repairs, plumbing upgrades, or other structural repairs, first. These upgrades will not only affect the look of the new home, but the lifestyle of the person that will soon be living there. For certain lasting upgrades such as adding PV (photovoltaic) solar panels, Massachusetts residents may also receive a tax exemption on the increased value added to the home as a result of the system. Talk about a deal!

Research has found that homes with Energy Star Labels and other local energy efficiency certifications tend to list for more than their counterparts. This is in part due to the fact that beyond intrinsic utility savings (a common factor in energy efficiency) these labels encompass other long-term energy saving benefits and hint at what some may consider a different quality of life. According to the Appraisal journal, when performing upgrades to your home, for every $1 that is saved in annual energy costs, it can be translated to 20 times its value in appraisal dollars. In the case of solar, where (depending on system size and home qualifications) homeowners can reduce their annual electric costs by hundreds of dollars annually, this can translate into thousands of dollars in increase home appraisal values. According to a 9 year study of roughly 100,000 homes, adding a PV solar system to the home can increase the home’s value on average $17,000. This is not to mention that, for Massachusetts residents, this increased value is exempt from increased property tax, primarily because the addition of solar panels is considered an energy upgrade.

In the end, beauty is not only skin deep – and neither is curb appeal. Whether you’re getting your home ready for a potential homebuyer or a season of sunny days, try make changes that will not only effect how the house will look but to the quality of life that it will provide. As you are touching up the home for the season don’t forget to give some attention to the things that cannot be seen because sometimes, the greatest treasures are the things beneath the surface.

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