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The Independent Online
The price is right

How do I know what price I should sell my property at, when I find that different estate agents are giving me different valuations?

Mr N McKenna

High Wycombe, Bucks

Market conditions at the moment suggest that house prices are on the increase, so you will need to take this into account when deciding at what price to sell. At the same time do not automatically place your house with the estate agent who quotes the highest price as you may find yourself priced out of the market and as a result have difficulty in selling your home. At the moment there is a shortage of properties on the market which is pushing the prices up. An agent who quotes you the highest price could be over optimistic in his or her valuation in order to secure your property to place on the market. To ensure that you get a fair but competitive valuation on your property, ask the estate agent to provide some evidence to support his valuation. Try to see a selection of properties which are of a similar type to yours which are currently on the market and also those which have recently been sold by the agent. This will help you to gauge how active or successful the agent is in the market place, it will confirm that the price given to you can be supported and is achievable, and will give you some idea of how the agent will market your property.

Crossed wires

My home is situated near to an electricity pylon and friends have recently commented that it could be a health hazard. Can you tell me if this is true?

Mr P Davies

Worcester

At present there is no conclusive proof that living close to an electricity pylon is a danger to your health, although there have been recorded cases of an increase in childhood leukaemia in houses close to power lines. Although the link has never been proved, many people see a risk in living or working in close proximity to high-tension power cables, transformers and/or substations.

Public awareness of the potential connection between power cables and carcinogenic related illnesses is increasing, although there is no proven relationship, and this may affect the future saleability of your property.

Developers are now recognising electricity pylons as not only a physical restraint but also as a development constraint, and are cautious about building residential properties on land which is situated nearby.

Unfortunately there is no definitive answer. There is an unresolved medical controversy about living too close to these pylons - and further research is ongoing.

Research has not shown in any convincing way that health is affected by living too close to high-tension power cables. The one thing that is acknowledged is that, although the risks may not be proven, many people are reluctant to buy property that is built close to any type of electrical field.

Answers were supplied by a panel of experts at Woolwich Property Services and Ekins, the group's surveying services subsidiary. The panel is headed by Alan Oliver, managing director of Woolwich Property Services, and will answer published queries on buying and selling, valuations, surveys, and market factors such as price trends.

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