In disguise

Cellular phone towers, even when disguised, are not that difficult for home buyers to detect.

Question: We bought a condo last year and recently discovered that a shopping plaza that borders our neighborhood has a large cellphone tower disguised as a clock tower. Is the seller or real estate agent obligated to disclose information about cell phone towers within a certain radius to the buyer when purchasing?

— Mike

Answer: Transmissions from nearby high voltage power lines and cell towers are concerning to many people and reduce property values.

While most states do not require disclosure of neighborhood nuisances, such as cell towers or noisy neighbors, a few states do, and more are likely to in the future.

A cell tower will only be considered hazardous if your home is within the fall zone of the tower.

The law requires buyers to inspect the property they are planning on buying to find all the problems that can reasonably be found.

Generally, a radio tower can be discovered, even if disguised, with a reasonable investigation of the area around the prospective purchase.

I always encourage sellers to disclose everything they know about, no matter how small, to prospective purchasers. This way, a buyer can never accuse them later of hiding an issue.

Everyone buying a new home should have a thorough inspection performed by an experienced home inspector. If the report turns up any area of concern, a follow-up inspection by a specialist should be performed.

A buyer should also tour the neighborhood and surrounding areas at different times of the day and night, on both weekends and weekdays.

Sometimes a quiet street on a Tuesday morning can be party central on Friday night.

Buying a home is a long-term proposition, and it is best to look under every rock and around every corner before some undiscovered issue becomes your nightmare.