Owning a Home Against a Busy Street

Olivia Elsher

Sep 14, 2021

Painted Ladies Alamo Square. One of the most photographed locations in San Francisco, Alamo Square's famous "postcard row" at Hayes and Steiner Streets is indeed a visual treat. A tight, escalating formation of Victorian houses is back-dropped by downtown skyscrapers, providing a stunning contrast. The grassy square itself is an ideal midday break. Original public domain image from Flickr

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Finding the right home can feel like looking for a needle in a haystack — if hundreds of others were pushing and shoving to get there first. The challenging house hunt even makes homes you wouldn’t have considered initially look more appealing, like owning a home against a busy street.

Many people aren’t willing to put up with a property’s supposed negative factors, like being located on a main road. In those cases, you may have less competition for a property and be able to negotiate a price below the value of similar homes in the area on quieter streets. Despite the disadvantages of owning a home against a busy street, living in one isn’t all bad.

Benefits of Living on a Busy Street

Despite what you might think, there are some significant perks to owning a home on a busy road.

1. Lower Purchase Price

One of the most apparent benefits is the possibility of a lower purchase price. Buying a home in a less-desirable location means you can typically get more for your dollar. You might be able to satisfy everything on your wishlist and still come in under budget when you’re willing to live on a busy road.

2. Closer to Amenities

Busy roads often equate to more populated areas and closer amenities, meaning you’re closer to the action. If you love being close to the center of town and having a broad range of activities within a short drive or even walking distance, you might enjoy a house on a busy street.

3. More Accessibility

Busy streets are usually better lit, offering improved visibility for walking or driving at night. You’re also more likely to find nearby bus stops or other public transit. You could save a lot of money — approximately $10,000 a year — by taking advantage of this transportation option rather than owning and driving a car.

4. Better Maintenance

Although busy roads get more traffic, they’re also the most well maintained — they’re the first to get salted or plowed. High-traffic streets get a more significant chunk of the roadwork budget and time as well. This means you won’t have to deal with potholes and problematic road hazards for as long.

Drawbacks of Owning a Home Against a Busy Street

Before you decide you’re prepared to own a home on a high-traffic street, you need to be aware of the possible disadvantages.

1. Resale Value

Home values heavily depend on your location in the state, city, and neighborhood. The same factors that made your house a steal in the first place may come back to haunt you when it’s time to sell. You may need to wait longer for the right buyer or lower the price of your home below what’s typical in your neighborhood. 

2. Noise Pollution

Noise pollution inevitably comes with the territory when you own a home on a busy street. The sounds of traffic and people will reach your house most of the day. Insulated windows and doors can help, but you’ll always have some noise. This is a dealbreaker for some, while others don’t mind.

3. Lack of Parking

If you love hosting, a busy road may not be your ideal location. Many rely on street parking for guests who don’t fit in the driveway, but high-traffic areas are less likely to have safe and available spots.

4. Less Privacy

Another potential problem with living on a busy street is the lack of privacy. Anyone driving or walking by gets a glimpse into your life. You can take measures to protect yourself, like a fence, but at an added expense.

5. More Mess

With more traffic comes more mess. You’ll need to clean frequently since the road dust will quickly make its way into your home. For this reason, the air quality in busy areas also tends to suffer.

Owning a Home Against a Busy Street

Only you can decide if owning a home against a busy street is the right move for you. A single person or couple who enjoys being in the center of the action might enjoy the perks of living on a main road. However, a family with small children may do better on a quieter lane with less traffic. Consider your household’s needs, budget, and lifestyle before purchasing a home on a busy street.

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