Whole house generators are expensive to install. They’re incredibly useful during a power outage, but does a whole house generator add value to your home when it comes time to sell?
I’ve spoken to several real estate and generator experts to get their opinions. It turns out that the answer to our question is more personal than you might expect, and it very much depends on the location of the property and whether your buyers appreciate the value and convenience of a whole house generator.
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For buyers that have experienced prolonged power outages (like us during our two-week flood), a whole house generator adds huge value to a home.
It appears that in most areas, a whole house generator is more of a bonus. It’ll set your house apart from another house and may make it easier to sell. When a buyer considers two houses with similar merit, yours may tip the balance because of your generator. Other than that, you’ll find it won’t add a lot of monetary value.
A whole house generator helps your home sell easier but not necessarily for more money.
Whole House Generator Value Depends on Your Location
This is something that came up a few times. If you are in an area prone to tornadoes, storms, or power outages, a whole house generator can add value to your home.
On the other hand, in “safer” areas, your buyers may not see the value of a whole house generator.
Suzanne Pope is a licensed real estate agent and COO of Whiterock Locators, on online apartment location service. She sold a home with a whole house generator in Texas. She says:
Because of the location and the areas’ susceptibility to tornadoes and strong storms that will knock out power on occasion, some potential buyers did see the value in it, but I do not think it was a major feature/selling point of the home.
For most homes in suburban areas, a generator is not going to add any value. It may, however, make more sense in certain areas of the country that are prone to severe seasonal weather that will knock out power.
Bill Samuel, full-time real estate broker in the Chicagoland area, agrees. Bill says that, in his opinion, a whole house generator does not add value to a home in the Chicagoland area. He adds:
Our grid is fairly reliable so the need for a generator is very minimal.
In other areas where the grid is less reliable, this may be different. Of course, having this additional feature on your house is certainly appreciated by any buyer.Generally speaking, additional bonus features like a whole house generator will help your house sell faster but not necessarily for more money.
Shaun Taylor offers an interesting perspective. Shaun runs Moriti Safaris, based in South Africa. He agrees that whole house generators add value.
This reiterates the fact that it very much depends on your location. The recent buyers of 2 safari lodges were ecstatic about having a fully integrated whole house generator system included in the sale. Shaun adds:
I use whole house generators at the lodges that I run safaris from. They are absolute essential items as far as I am concerned because today, we have to have electricity.
It adds value from the point of view that you do not have to worry about outages and it also starts the thinking process of living off the grid and how we can look after ourselves, which gives a feeling of comfort in this day and age. I can say from experience that it adds value.
Shaun personally guides safaris all over Greater Kruger Park. The beauty of a whole house generator is that you can offer your guests the opportunity to go way out bush – removed from stress and expectation – and come back to the convenience and comfort of electricity, wherever their accommodation may be.
A Whole House Generator Helps Your Home Sell
A whole house generator may not add value to the sales price of your home, but it can certainly help it sell quicker and easier. When buyers are looking at multiple homes to buy, yours could come out on top because of the generator.
Susan Bozinovic, realtor with Century 21 Town & Country in Michigan, agrees. She says:
I’ve sold homes with built-in generators, however, the value of the home did not substantially rise against the alternative.
Sellers were, of course, pleased that they are passing on a home that is ready for emergencies, however, most buyers saw the feature as just an additional reason why they should pick that home over someone else’s.
As a result, sellers, in general, recoup very little money on their generator investment.
Connie Heintz, president of DIYoffer, has represented sellers who have sold homes with a whole house generator.
She says that, in most cases, they only recouped 30-50% of the generator’s purchase price at the time of sale. Connie agrees that, unless your home is in an area that regularly goes off the grid, many buyers are not willing to pay extra for the generator. She adds:
For most buyers, this is just a nice-to-have appliance but it isn’t a feature that would compel them to put in an offer real fast.
For sellers, I would say – don’t realistically expect a large boost in the value of the house unless you can convince buyers that your area is prone to prolonged power outages.
To Add Value, a Whole House Generator Should Be Installed Properly
We’ve established that a whole house generator can potentially add value to remote properties, or homes in areas that regularly experience power outages.
However, to add value, your whole house generator should be installed properly. Installing whole house generator is best done by a licensed professional, as we discussed in a previous article: 11 Things You Need to Know About Whole House Generators, According to Experts.
Ashley Baskin, licensed real estate agent and member of the advisory board for Home Life Digest, says that, just like any other upgrade, the value that the generator adds depends on the quality of the generator and the installation.
She agrees that a whole house generator can add value to your home – but only if done correctly. A poor job can actually cause a decline in your home’s value, especially if buyers see the generator as a nuisance instead of an upgrade!
Installing a whole house generator is not a DIY project and you should engage an appropriate contractor to install it properly. Keep all receipts associated with the installation so that you have a record to show buyers.
If installed properly, your home will see an increased value of about 3% (on average).However, the value of the generator is not always known to the buyer, and in some cases, the buyer must be educated. This can be one of the most challenging aspects of selling a home at an increased value, and can sometimes deter uneducated buyers.
Only Quality Generators Add Value to Your Home
Our last consideration today as to whether a whole house generator adds value to your home is the type of generator.
A smaller generator that you need to turn on yourself during a power outage likely won’t add any value at all. However, a high-quality automatic switch-over whole house generator system of a reputable brand like Kohler or Generac can add value.
Ashley Baskin agrees that we need to consider the type of generator we install. She agrees that a standby generator will be the one that adds the most value vs a portable generator.
So, Does a Generator Add Value to Your Home?
The answer is not a simple “yes” or “no”.
- If your home is in a remote area, prone to power outage, a whole house generator can add value to your home.
- If your home is in an urban area, not likely to go off the grid, a whole house generator won’t add value to your home.
- A generator may make your home easier to sell, if it is a high-quality generator and it is properly installed.
- Buyers may need be aware of the value of a whole house generator – you may need to educate them but it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll pay more.
Have you sold a home with a whole house generator? Did your buyers appreciate the convenience of it and did they pay more? I’d love to hear your comments.