Home Buying in Seattle>Question Details

newhomebuyer…, Home Buyer in Seattle, WA

Resale on Home with Power Lines? - the power lines are in the back of the house but covered by trees. We didn't see this at first. Does it matter?

Asked by newhomebuyer14, Seattle, WA Sat Feb 1, 2014

newer home, well maintained in a well developed neighborhood, with good school district but the home was on the market for 2 months with no offers and we didn't understand why - was it because of the power lines?

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There could be a million reasons why no offers, but this sort of thing is why it's important to take your inspection contingency seriously, and it seems like you're doing that. Many buyers are not interested in a house that's in close proximity to power lines. But just about any house will sell eventually, as long as it's priced right. So if you feel you're paying too much now that you know more about the property than when you made your offer, you now need to make a decision based on the numbers and also how much you really want this property.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 1, 2014
Without actually seeing the home and it's proximity to the power lines it's difficult to tell you with any certainty whether it will affect your re-sale. I will say that there will always be that person(s) that disliked your home for one reason or another, often they need a "mental out" because they can't afford it.

It's safe to say that proximity to power lines can cause a lower valuation. This should already be taken into account by the listing broker, if they did not consider the powerlines when they were pricing, that may be one reason why they do not have any offers yet. I would normally check the comps and see where the pricing should be at and whether it is inflated in anyway. Again, I'd love to tell you more given a little more information.
Best regards, Kjell 425.268.2627 kjellbock@CBBain.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 1, 2014
newhomebuyer, I am curious about something..... In your replies below you implied the presence of power lines was not something you were aware of until after you made your offer. Didn't your agent disclose that to you?
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 1, 2014
Newhomebuyer, you provide some good morsels of information, but I still don't have the full picture. I don't know where the home is located and I don't have the history of sales for this neighborhood. So, it would be unhelpful to speculate about the purchase price you've negotiated, or the potential impacts of power lines on a future sale.

Just because a home has not sold in two months doesn't mean there is a problem. There are many factors influencing the real estate market in 2014, one which is the smaller pool of buyers post-recession. With fewer buyers in the marketplace, the days-on-market is longer for many listings. According to the market data I'm monitoring, the hottest urban neighborhoods are selling quickly, while the outer-ring neighborhoods are selling more slowly. Two months is not a long market time for a home in a suburban location. (Six months would cause me some concern, however.)

The near proximity of power lines is just one issue you should be evaluating. I'm not sure power lines located 300 feet behind the home is a problem? In the past, I've had clients who preferred to live adjacent to power transmission lines because of what they considered the amenity of the green belt and added privacy. More important to most buyers is low crime and good schools. Perhaps you chose this property because of those factors? It's safe to assume future buyers will evaluate the home you're buying for those same factors.

Ask your Realtor to provide you with sales comps for the neighborhood, and adjoining neighborhoods. Tip: you might want to examine sales comps going back as far as 2005-2006, before the real estate downturn. Study the days-on-market and price-per-square-foot. Ask your agent to help you crunch the numbers. This information should be helpful in your decision-making.

Final thought: EVERY buyer experiences a brief period of doubt, bordering on panic. This usually occurs just before or just after you commit to the purchase. Don't let momentary feelings of buyer's remorse cause you to back out of the deal if you really like the home. If you've done your homework, you're probably going to be happy with your purchase. Good luck.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 1, 2014
Two months of being on the market wouldn't cause me concern, particularly if this is in the south end, which I'm guessing it is. The power lines are a potential issue, but some of that is visual for buyers (they don't want to be looking at the lines) and it sounds like the visual is hidden by the trees, even in the winter months. But you're right there are some buyers who don't want to live within XXX feet of a power line, and so that means there will be less demand for properties within XXX feet of a power line.

In any case though, you should be able to get comps from the immediate area, and that would give you an idea of whether your are overpaying.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 1, 2014
Well, without knowing the area or house or market conditions, I can't really say for sure.......but..............at least in my area, homes in close proximity to power limes do sell at a discount. There are some buyers who won't even look at a home near the wires...........the price usually has to entice buyers so they see real value and are willing to overlook the issue. Some are concerned about the (possible) health issues raised by the power lines.....others may just be concerned about a negative perception and its impact on resale.
So, yes, imo, it is probable that the house didn't sell quickly due to the location of the power lines.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 1, 2014
Thanks for your response Debbie. we are locked in on the offer price at this point - now just wondering if we are overpaying learning this. we still have time to back out completely- or press forward and hope for the best. Learning lessons as we speak. Thanks again.
Flag Sat Feb 1, 2014
Search for "power lines" on Trulia. This has come up several times. Short answer: value is relative to how large, how noticeable, and how far away. I would proceed with extreme caution.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 10, 2014
Yes, it matters, which is probably why you are attracted to the home: it seems like a deal, because having power lines close by does devalue a property somewhat.

If being close to the power lines is OK with you, then I suggest you buy the house - a similar house away from power lines will cost more - and remember that, when you go to sell, that you have to discount similarly compared to houses that do not have them close by.

All the best,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 1, 2014
The issue of power lines is a common concern. (I assume you're talking about major transmission lines not common lines from house to house) Some people believe there are health issues associated with living near them. Other studies dispute this. What is true is for sure is that as long as some people are worried, the market for these homes will be smaller than for the same house without them.
The advice I give my buyers is to research the science to your own satisfaction, I have no expertise in this area. If you want to proceed with the purchase the price you pay should be a relative bargain compared to the same house without power lines. It's also critical to remember that when you sell, you will need to give the same relative bargain to the next buyer and the market for the home will be smaller, thus you'll probably take longer to sell than the average at the time.
Best of luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 1, 2014
Thanks, Dan. Yes - they are major transmission lines behind a "greenbelt". Not sure to call it a true green belt. So, its not an eye-sore in the backyard, because it is hidden by trees - about 200-300 feet away. But, it is now a cause for concern if it'll effect us selling later. Wish we researched this sooner. Now, we are wondering if we settled at a higher offer than we should have and in the long run if we will end up losing money from this. We still have time to back out - just not sure anymore. Appreciate the response.
Flag Sat Feb 1, 2014
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