Powerlines and their Impact on Housing


First off, let's clear up what I mean by power lines. I don't mean telephone poles that bring power to your house. You need those. Nope, I'm talking about large, high tension power lines. You know, the scary, giant steel towers that bring huge amounts of power to substations from the power plants. Concerns about power lines fall into three categories.


Power lines are dangerous

Currently, real estate agents are not required to disclose that power lines are dangerous to your health.  But many people, despite the prevailing science, are concerned that they are anyway. Ultimately, that is up for you to determine.  Here is the EPA's view.

Power lines are Ugly

Well, I think they are ugly. Trees=pretty, power lines=ugly. This is certainly true. So let's stop here. If you think that power lines are UGLY, or dangerous, and you don't wish to live next to them, then you should

Maybe you can add a fence to block the power lines.

But it needs to be really tall.

NOT! Stop reading! Move on! If they bother you that much, don't bother with them. However, if you don't think they bother you THAT much, read on.

Power lines mean I'll never be able to re-sell my house

Certainly large power lines give most people cause to slow down and think about the house. The facts remain though, there are people who live in houses next to power lines, and they get bought and sold all the time. Why is that?


Houses ultimately Have a Value

Let's take a hypothetical situation. I use this one often. Let's say you see what is NORMALLY a $600,000 beautiful house on the market. It's only $575,000. But it's next to power lines. Usually, when informed of this, buyers will say to me: "I would NEVER buy that house". Oh really? What if it was $500K? No? What if it was 300k? I bet you're thinking about it now. A nice, expensive house - without the expense! Let's take it to the extreme. If the house was being sold for $1000 would you buy it? That's less than typical closing costs. I bet you just answered yes. Why? Because you KNOW you can sell it for more than $1000. In fact, I know that you can sell it for more than $300,000. So the question is really at what price can you find a buyer for this home? That can be determined - without much effort, generally, by a seasoned real estate agent. That price is the where the value of what the home provides becomes an irresistible allure to that segment of the buying population that doesn't care about the power lines. And that is the right price.


Selling A House Next to Power lines

If you bought the house at the right price, and the town that you live in has gone up 10% in value, guess what? You probably made 10% too! I can hear you skeptics! I know you're saying it's not true. But it is. These houses have people that live in them - and for the vast, vast majority, are very happy!!! Why wouldn't they be happy? They are getting a great deal on a great house - with the benefit of some very quiet neighbors ( power lines might be ugly, but they are quiet). The key to remember is that just because you've had a good run in that house, the power lines are still there. Don't be fooled into thinking that you'll be able to get more, on a RELATIVE basis, than the last person did - you probably can't. Make your house the compelling value it was when you bought it, and you'll find a buyer before you know it.