You've got a brand new phone and no bars. There’s nothing more aggravating. Cell phone reception leaves a lot to be desired in many parts of Fairfield County.
But when it comes to purchasing a new home, that's one thing that buyers don’t seem too worried about. “Surprisingly, few buyers ask about cell phone service,” says Roseanne Forslund, an agent with Coldwell Banker in Wilton. Jeff Crumbine, of Greenwich Fine Properties, adds, “I just sold a house with zero cell phone reception. It came up as a major annoyance, but did not affect the deal. I think people just accept it as a part of living in the country – at least for now.”
“Cell phone questions have only come up occasionally,” says Susan Calabrese, of Coldwell Banker in Greenwich, “because nowadays everyone is on them (their phones) constantly so they can tell instantly if there is a problem in the area in which they are looking.”
Sharon Rosano sells through Raveis in New Canaan and says that most of her clients are local and aware of the cell coverage in the area. On the other hand, Margie Benefico, with William Pitt/Sotheby, finds that her buyers in Stamford “would definitely consider the quality of the cell phone coverage in the home they will buy or rent. Usually my clients will check how many bars show up on their phone.”
Everyone knows that having a cell phone tower nearby can improve reception, yet few people want to live within sight of a tower. “Any “industrial” objects visible from a property do not add value,” says Doug Werner, of William Pitt/Sotheby, in Darien. “Usually they detract from it.” Nora King, an appraiser, agrees but adds “Most cell towers are now very cleverly disguised as flag poles, trees, etc., so they are not usually an issue.” Nora, a resident of Rowayton, where cell reception is notoriously poor, says, “I personally would like to see better coverage in our area.”
Barbara Hickey, who works out of William Pitt/Sotheby’s Juner office in Stamford, believes that “a cell tower close to a home would certainly affect value negatively because of health concerns and unsightliness. But zoning helps take care of that with cell towers located in more densely populated and mixed-use areas.”
Despite the widespread use of Wi-Fi, builders are still hardwiring new homes. Mary Petro, with Coldwell Banker in Westport, says buyers have the option of how they will use the technology. “You never know what someone may prefer,” she says.
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