Buying a home next to high power lines

Asked by Newinfremont, Fremont, CA Wed Apr 22, 2009

Is it ok to buy a home next to high power lines?
I did a search on the web didn't look like there are any health/safety issues?

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Charo Bhatt, Agent, Fremont, CA
Mon May 11, 2009
Hi Home Buyer,

I believe your search is correct. One of my clients, who is an engineer himself and lives next to the power lines in an expensive home in Fremont Mission schools area. His explanation made a lot of sense to me. The high magnetic field cables/wires that are out there has less impact than the once that are under ground. Perhaps we don’t even know and they could be very well be only 10 feet away from the back yard fence line under ground.

The issue is, people don’t like to live by those towers. Some people don’t mind living there, but the resale value would be less due to the look and people’s conceptions. Those homes next to high power lines are less in demand and not desired.

You may get a home cheaper next to the power lines. With the same token, you will get lower price too
when you sell it and you may have difficult time selling it. But, if it fits my budget, schools and other criteria I wouldn’t hesitate buying a home next to power lines.

Good luck to you,

Charo Bhatt
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Sunil Sethi, Agent, Fremont, CA
Thu Apr 23, 2009
I'm sure you'll ask for an adjacent powerline discount on your bid, and similarly when you sell a future buyer will ask the same of you. With respect to whether it will or will not have an impact on you and your families health. Go with your gut on that, because I don't believe anyone knows with certainty.
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Bill Eckler, Agent, Venice, FL
Wed Apr 22, 2009
The vast majority of buyers considering the purchase of property in the proximity of power lines will eventually ask themselves this same question.......should I? Is it safe? Will it effect the value of the home?

Because of the doubt surrounding these sinerios, future buyers as you have, will continue to question this decision. You can plan on it being a factor and influncing the both the value and marketability of the home.
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Dawn Rivera, Agent, Fremont, CA
Wed Apr 22, 2009
Hi I read all the answers and I have to say I liked and agreed with Carl's. If you are asking about the homes in Fremont off automall and Fremont Blvd. they are built a distance away, and I doubt they would cause any problem other than the humming noise which is not that loud. Although they could definitely make it harder to sell the home when you are ready to sell, and effect the price as well. Since all the homes in that area have owners and people live in them, I would say it depends on the buyer.....Dawn
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The Medford…, Agent, Fremont, CA
Wed Apr 22, 2009

There are no proven medical issues, but there is a large group out there that strongly advocate against high tension power lines (on the weekends they are not at UFO conferences …).

However, there can be a couple of real factors that give people cause for concern:

(1) They can hum – it can be a bit distracting.
(2) There is the concept that they are bad, so many people will not buy next to power lines even though there is no certain proof there are any issues. This can have the effect of lowering your salability and possibly decrease the price.
(3) Many people think they are very unsightly and therefore will not buy a home next to power lines.

Other than that, there is nothing wrong with them …
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Steven Ornel…, Agent, Fremont, CA
Wed Apr 22, 2009
Newinfremont, I think if you look long enough you will find that science shows that there may, or may not be health effects (just like cell towers).

From an investment perspective, that dual-argument will take a percentage of possible buyers out of the picture, reducing the demand for the home.

In my personal opinion, I would avoid buying next to power lines (especially if you are close enough to hear them "crackle") as I believe, even placing any potential health issues aside, there is a general negative aesthetic association with power lines.

Bottom line: its a personal choice as there may be compensating factors such a school attendance area you want, etc.

Best, Steve
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Mission Viejo…, , Mission Viejo, CA
Wed Apr 22, 2009
There are buyers who would not buy near power lines and that is a personal choice. You have to decide if it would effect you or selling in the future.
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Emmanuel Sca…, , Collin County, TX
Wed Apr 22, 2009
Hello Newinfremont,

There are no real substantive studies by unbiased and independent sources providing guidance either way. In general it would really depend on how far from the transmission lines you are, what you planned to do in the home, etc., etc. Leaving any potential health issues aside you would also need to consider other situations as well. For example the potential electromagnetic interference (EMI) they can present to radio frequency (RF) devices as well as other electronics in the home. Unless you are a Ham Radio Operator, experiment with various RF devices or even use them in the home it is generally not a problem. Most homes I have seen with high power transmission lines were far enough away from them to present little problem. Although I have seen one home that was amazingly close and it surprised me they allowed it to be built there.

You have an obvious concern and should direct it to a specialist who deals with measuring the effects of Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) as well as their effects. There are those out there that do specialize in this. Here is the WEB site for one such person They are located in the Dallas/Fort Worth area but can direct you to others in your area as well as other resources to read up on the subject.

Good luck!

Emmanuel J. Scanlan
PS Inspection & Property Services LLC
214-418-4366 (cell)
TREC License # 7593
International Code Council, Residential Combination Inspector #5247015-R5 (Electrical, Mechanical, Plumbing and Building)
Certified Level I Thermographer (ASNT-TC1A Standards)
Texas Residential Construction Commission, Third Party Warranty Inspector #1593
Texas Residential Construction Commission, Inspector, County Inspection Program
Texas Department Of Insurance, VIP Inspector # 08507061016
Hayman Residential Engineering Services, Field Technician
CMC Energy - Certified Energy Auditor

Knowledge is power, but sharing knowledge brings peace!!
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