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Old 07-17-2007, 10:19 AM
lcarroll lcarroll is offline
Join Date: Jul 2007
State: Florida
Professional Status: Certified Residential Appraiser
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Default FHA, Dwelling within the fall distance of Power Pole and High voltage transmisn lines

I hava an FHA appraisal where the dwelling is outside of the power line easement but within the fall distance of a 80' power pole and high voltage transmission lines (230Kv). Information from HUD is not clear. I have read that if it is in the fall distance then property will not be able to be accepted by FHA. I have also read that as long as it is outside the easement that it is acceptable as long as it is documented and marketing concerns are addressed.
Any ideas about which is correct here?
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Old 07-17-2007, 10:23 AM
Mr Rex's Avatar
Mr Rex Mr Rex is offline
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: X Marks the spot
State: North Carolina
Professional Status: Certified Residential Appraiser
Posts: 26,367

Take pictures and report what you have. Let the DEU make the call.
You talking to me?
Old 07-17-2007, 11:44 AM
Mary Tiernan Mary Tiernan is offline
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Michigan
State: Michigan
Professional Status: Retired Appraiser
Posts: 2,322

My cousin works for a major electric company here in Michigan. One thing he pointed out to me is that power poles never fall from the ground out - they buckle. And the lines keep them from going completely over. Just a thought I thought I'd share to confuse you even more.
Old 07-17-2007, 12:01 PM
David Beasley David Beasley is offline
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Between Raleigh & Fayetteville
State: North Carolina
Professional Status: Certified Residential Appraiser
Posts: 1,072

I agree with Mary. Unless you are an ex-civil engineer, you are not qualified to determine the fall distance of a pole/tower. And the "fall distance" is not equal to the height of the tower or pole. It is determined through a fair amount of advanced physics and geometry that we as appraisers aren't expected to know. That the FHA ever included this in their requirements to appraisers borders on dumbfounding. Is it near a transmission line and tower or pole? Yes? Fine, call for an engineer. We aren't qualified and shouldn't be held liable for making that determination. We're observers, not engineers with an expertise in the hypothetical fall distances of vertically oriented man-made structures.

And to the original posters question: I think the "fall distance" they are seeking is to the improvements, not the property line. Much like a portion of a lot can fall within a 100 year flood plain or special flood hazard area, but is generally ok so long as no improvements lie within that plain. Do we mention it? Absolutely. But we aren't registered land surveyors either. Report it, let the experts and the lender sort it out. To do otherwise is to take on the role of a surveyor specifically trained to locate lots/improvements within fractions of inches to a known USGS landmark and their resulting proximity to such hazards.

Last edited by David Beasley : 07-17-2007 at 12:10 PM.
Old 07-17-2007, 03:24 PM
Mark to market Mark to market is offline
Join Date: Nov 2004
State: New Mexico
Professional Status: Certified Residential Appraiser
Posts: 439

Hope this helps.

Page D3 of the new appendix D: Valuation Protocal, states that the appraiser must note and comment on residential structures located within the fall distance of high voltage lines, .. etc. HOC reference guide states that if the dwelling or property improvements are within such an easement the DE underwriter must obtain a letter form the owner or operator of the tower indicating that the dwelling and related property improvements are not within the towers engineered fall distance.
Old 07-17-2007, 04:13 PM
Wayne Tomlinson Wayne Tomlinson is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Illinois
State: Illinois
Professional Status: Certified General Appraiser
Posts: 1,123

About twenty years ago, a long string of electric transmission lines fell. There was more than 20 miles of lines, poles etc all broken at the ground, and all fell in the direction of the wind. When one pole on the west end went they all went.

I would have liked to have watched that, just like cards.

None went off the ROW easement.

Wayne Tomlinson
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