Do Busy Roads Matter When Buying a Home?

Posted by Hank Miller on Monday, January 4th, 2021 at 4:33pm.

As housing density increases, so does the impact of traffic and daily activity. Most people wrestle with the desire for a quiet home but one within close proximity to service and support facilities. Urban residents are well acquainted with the sounds of city life, the rural markets attract residents happy to drive for residential solitude. The suburban residents often ask about the impact of busy roads when buying a home; the answer (of course) is that it depends. Variables include buyer requirements, types of roads, amount of traffic and characteristics of comparable areas. So to, does the proximity to commercial uses like shopping centers and strip malls.atlanta-noise-pollution

Traffic and Influences not Thought About...

Everything is relative so not all things mentioned will be major issues, but each is food for thought.

  • Homes on through roads. Double yellow lines are an easy warning sign that the road is likely well traveled. Consider traffic flow; activity is possible at all hours and may include cars, trucks, motorcycles, buses and commercial vehicles. Remember this includes beeping schools buses, garbage trucks, police, fire and EMS vehicles; nothing says "relax" like a fire truck screaming out of the station at 1 AM. Add a nearby stop sign and drives testing the 0-60 of their cars, vehicles blowing through and the pimple faced kid with the F-150 and no muffler. Consider if the home fronts on these roads, safety concerns with kids, pets and access of residents may exist.
  • Homes near busy roads. Atlanta is one of many cities with homes adjacent to busy roads and highways. In addition to the above noise makers, the drone from highways like I-75, I-85 and 400 will be constant. With that comes the usual noise but dirt, grime and to some extent, higher pollution. Allergy sufferers or people with sensitive respiratory systems may be impacted. This includes busy secondary roads that run throughout the Atlanta area.
  • Commercial Uses. Grocery stores, home improvement centers and retail spaces are 24 hour businesses; shoppers by day and resupply by night. Being able to walk or have a short drive to pick things up is great, but think about the other side of that coin. Large resupply trucks tend to work over the night, so do garbage trucks. They are not quiet; back up alarms, flashing lights, slamming dumpster lids (shaken at least 3x to ensure they're empty) tend to attract attention.
  • Dirt. Increase traffic, including pedestrian, will result in dirt and litter. Vehicle exhaust, brake dust, things tossed on the ground from them or pedestrians can become issues.
  • Lights. Car and truck headlights shining into windows as they come around curves or hit cross roads is common but usually not immediately recognized. Some owners end up putting up solid shutters or light resistant drapes. Street lights are another often forgotten influence, they can be nice to have but also annoying inside when dark.
  • Privacy & Security. Through roads are also more likely to have increased pedestrian traffic. Walk ability typically results in a bit less privacy and can elevate security concerns. The growth of video surveillance systems and things like video door bells continues.   

Here's a new town home in busy section of Roswell, GA. There are text book external influences, but all common in this area. We secured it at a very nice discount for our buyers by leveraging those issues. For them, none were disqualifying or overly impactful; right place, right time for us to score a nice deal....

Every home owner is different as is every home and area. Folks in high density areas are used to sirens, horns and similar activities. Out in the rural areas that's going to be unusual. For most in between looking for that "work/live balance" something has to give. "Value in use" is the single most important aspect to owning a home, it has to work for the owner. Each situation must be evaluated in context; what are the comparable properties like in this micro market? Is there a demonstrated adverse impact on value due to this influence? Are buyers willing to overlook certain things to be in this market? The best answers will likely come from an experienced agent that can assess the data and provide a measured opinion. History shows that there is an owner for just about every home.

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