Below is dialog between a new-build sales representative and myself regarding feedback on an inventory home that backed up to power lines. I have paraphrased and left out names in order to allow all parties to remain anonymous.
Sales Rep: Please give us any feedback that would help us sell this home.
Me: Buyer liked the home. Just not interested due to the power lines in backyard.
Sales Rep: The electric company says they’re not a health issue. The big plus: Power Lines = No annoying neighbors behind you!!
Me: What about the impact on resale value?
Sales Rep: We’ve built many homes that back to power lines. They tend to be 6-8 percent cheaper than non-power line homes – the market adjusts. This house would be priced $10,000 to $15,000 higher if not on the power lines. Some people want power lines and the related open area – people who value their privacy, people with go-karts (true story), people who want open spaces for their kids to play outside, etc.
Me: Seems like that would be a very small percentage.
Sales Rep: And I forgot to mention the biggest population of buyers. Those who want to pay less for the same house!
I’ll give the sales rep the benefit of the doubt as they work for the builder and their job is to sell homes. However, it is ludicrous to suggest that buyers want power lines behind their homes. Having power lines in the back yard would eliminate about 95 percent of potential buyers from buying a property. If the price is cheaper, the house will still sell. But for much less than 5 percent and to a much smaller pool of potential prospects. Be sure to consider the source when elevating real estate and recognize who stands to gain financial from a successful sale. Don’t be fooled by a good deal because you’ll likely be passing that same good deal along to the person you sell to.