How to sell a house on a busy road

valkyrie4791February 23, 2011

Our house has been for sale for 2 years. The market where I live is incredibly depressed and unfortunately I am competing with a lot of people who are desperate to sell.

Up until this point I have not been desperate to sell. But now we have bought another home and are going to be making 2 house payments. We put a very large down payment on the home we are selling so it hurts our finances a lot to make huge price reductions.

Our home is one of the nicest on our street. It is in a very nice subdivision. We are priced extremely competitively. However, we are in the corner lot for the subdivision and the front of our home faces a fairly busy road. We are not on top of it, but close enough that it has been the number 1 reason why buyers have not chosen the home.

Buyers and agents alike have said how much they love the home itself, but that the road is a deal breaker. We have a fenced back yard...fairly private. I'm not sure there is anything we can do here but I wanted to get an idea from others who have had to sell on a busy street.

What can we do?

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linda117117

I dont know your market but homes here on a busy road are automatically priced 10k lower than a competing home. If you have been on the market for 2 years, you arent priced right. Even a home on a busy street will sell if priced right.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 10:13AM
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akrogirl

Any chance of a photo? Our former home backed onto a busy main road but still sold pretty quickly because a block wall provided plenty of privacy and helped in noise reduction. Could you possibly do some combination of fence and hedge, or something of that nature?

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 10:15AM
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valkyrie4791

Our comps are priced around 250k and we are priced at 219k. We are willing to go a little lower and will do that as soon as we get moved out and get the house completely ready for showings again.

It would be difficult to plant privacy hedges due to the layout of the landscaping and drive, and even if we did that doesn't seem like a quick fix to me. The back yard is fairly private. There are woods right behind us. It is fenced.

We get lots of great input about the house. It's always the road that turns people off. It's not a big road but it is a shortcut route that people take and traffic is moderately heavy in the mornings and again in the evenings. We try to discourage showings around 5 pm for that reason.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 10:41AM
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brickeyee

"We put a very large down payment on the home we are selling so it hurts our finances a lot to make huge price reductions.

You do not always make a profit, or even recover all your money.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 12:33PM
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bozogardener

Do you hear it inside the house? How about in the yard? We had a house on a busy street, but people marveled at how you didn't hear it once inside or out back. That was due to how it was landscaped, and the entryway we added. Maybe curtains to muffle noise or shrubs to baffle the noise in the backyard?

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 1:28PM
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valkyrie4791

brickeyee: we are already losing a considerable chunk of change. We don't expect to get anywhere near what we paid for it, but we don't want to lose our entire down payment either!

bozogardener: you hear it if you are paying attention to it. Some rooms more than others obviously like the ones that face the road. When we bought the house I was worried that road noise would bother me but it honestly never has.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 2:49PM
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revamp

It's all about the asking price. I bought a home this past summer and during my homesearch there were a couple houses that I looked at (even though they bordered a busy road) due to their low asking prices (considering their square footage and amenities).

Still, when I went to view these homes, the low cost just wasn't low enough *for me* to consider buying one of them.

It sounds like you're in the neighborhood of the right price since people are coming to look at your house--but you're not there yet because they feel the price isn't even close enough to what they would pay for your place to even shoot you an offer to consider.

My recommendation? Come to terms that you need to list at $200k, or remove the for sale sign and consider renting (with it's own costs and difficulties). Anything other than that and your just going to carry this house month after month. Plus, depending where you are located, once spring comes along you're going to be competing with all of the other homes that waited until winter was over to list their houses. You've got a lot to overcome.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 4:38PM
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ncrealestateguy

You have two options...

Lower the price significantly, or stay near the price that you are at and never sell.

Power lines and busy streets are two of the biggest turn offs for buyers.
Good luck.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 7:08AM
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brickeyee

"We are already losing a considerable chunk of change. We don't expect to get anywhere near what we paid for it, but we don't want to lose our entire down payment either! "

Then do not sell in a bad market.

"The market where I live is incredibly depressed and unfortunately I am competing with a lot of people who are desperate to sell. "

If you do not need the down payment to purchase the next house, you may have to just write it off.

Two years on the market means the price needs to come down further.

What you paid has nothing to do with value to a purchaser.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 10:20AM
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camlan

You guys need to do the math on what the old house will cost you per month--mortgage, utilities, insurance. And will you be hiring someone to keep up with the yard work/snow shoveling, or will you be going over there weekly to do it yourselves, which is a time cost that will cut into the time you have to settle into your new home.

At some point, just the monthly costs of owning the house will eliminate any money you might make on the sale.

And I know a lot of people who just don't like corner lots to begin with. So you have that to overcome as well.

If street noise inside the house is a factor (and I'll bet buyers are standing in the living room listening for any noise) there are windows that are designed to help cut down on noise. I have no idea how expensive they are, but you could check with your agent to see if installing them might help get a sale.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 10:23AM
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Dragontree

Have you been with the same realtor all this time? I was not certain from your post.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 12:52PM
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terriks

A house like yours appeals to those who would like to live in your neighborhood, but can't afford it. Those are the people who will accept the busy road. In other words, your real competition is not in your immediate neighborhood, but in a lesser neighborhood. The homes in your subdivision are not your real comps.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 1:02PM
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akrogirl

"And I know a lot of people who just don't like corner lots to begin with. So you have that to overcome as well. "

Is that a regional thing? A corner lot would be a huge plus to my husband and me.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 8:48PM
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LuAnn_in_PA

"Is that a regional thing? A corner lot would be a huge plus to my husband and me."

maybe.
Here, people do not like being on display with a corner lot. Definitely less desirable.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 9:19PM
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brickeyee

Without landscaping/fencing the' private area' of a corner lot is reduced.

You can be seen in the back yard from either street.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 11:43AM
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earthworm

Good advice from Brickeye.
We have looked at over one hundred homes in our price bracket. One with by far the nicest interior and a good all brick construction finally sold for $37K !
This home was also nearly on top of I83.
Interstates destroy a swathe a half mile wide.
One one should build a new home so close to a dangerous, noisy highway, but it happens all the time.. Often
-times without the knowledge of the home owner.
Sell for $150K or stay...You are the victim of greed, having paid too much in the first place, when prices were inflated.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 2:20PM
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Happyladi

You are just going to have to cut the price. I know that will be hard but that's the answer. Some landscaping could help but that would take time and since you have bought another house, you don't have time.

I have to ask, why did you buy another house when you were having so much trouble selling this one?

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 7:05PM
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jane__ny

brickeyee writes: "What you paid has nothing to do with value to a purchaser. "

Does that apply to what a owner has put into the house?

Jane

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 9:44PM
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terriks

Does that apply to what a owner has put into the house?

Yes! Did you see my thread about Market Price??

Here is a link that might be useful: Market Price thread

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 11:21PM
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Dragontree

Well, there is another idea that has not been explored yet. It is possible that your home is not being marketed correctly.

While you say people come and like the house, they all are put off by the busy street. But that kind of begs the question - why does your realtor not screen out lookers who are likely to be put off by the location?

And is he marketing the house properly to attract buyers who would be willing to pay for what your home offers? Maybe the school system, easy access to local points of interest, or features and condition that make your home superior to others on the market? Is there a nice feature or style issue that he might work with?

The key is trying to appeal to someone who wants your home badly enough to overlook the corner issue. I know a lot of areas where corner lots are considered desirable - you don't have neighbors on all sides of you! Your realtor should remind people of that, obvious as it seems.

The fact that you have got lots of lookers does not necessarily mean he is doing a good job representing your property. I worked for a developer/rehab co. for many years. If a realtor did not sell a place in 90 days, he or she was replaced before any price drops were considered. This was a rule that was followed regardless of how undesirable a property was, or how tough the market. Sometimes, no matter how hard a realtor works, a new approach is necessary.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 3:34AM
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akrogirl

"Without landscaping/fencing the' private area' of a corner lot is reduced.

You can be seen in the back yard from either street."

That explains it - I would always expect to have, or install, some sort of fence, hedge or wall, corner lot or not.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 2:00PM
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earthworm

Dragontree has many good points.
Many so-call Realtors simply do not know how to sell, particularly a challenge.
What I am thinking of is a company with the knowledge of how a place should be for the maximum of potential buyers..
This mythical company would have real estate people with marketability knowledge.....they would only sell their concepts, their ideas...this is just an idea of mine and it may not work, I do not know.
I do know that of the many house I looked at over the years, all of them have defects(size,economics, design,execution, location, on and on)...The place I am finally buying has the least and I am worn out from looking...And one of the best(that I missed out on) was on a corner lot, but it was facing a 4 lane fairly busy state route.
A defect to me may be a nothing to some-one else and vice-versa.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 8:40PM
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beatducks

We were in the same position so I invested 7K and placed aborvates along the sde of my house with a fence and sold my house rather quickly.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 9:32PM
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brickeyee

There is another xsolution to the 'cornert house privacy problem.'

My house is on a corner, but is more than 10 feet above the adjacent sidewalk.

The hill is not very steep (so we lose a few fet of level ground i the back/side yard) but since people do not look up we can have minimal plantings and a picket fence to gain back privacy.

It does leave us with more than twice the frontage of the nearby houses to shovel in the winter.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 9:49AM
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alisonn

I think the question here is "Why did YOU buy a house on a busy road?" I mean--really think about it. Unless it was because you don't mind the busy street, it was probably because it was priced well for that neighborhood and it seemed too good to pass up. I mean, if you said "Wow! This house is only $280,000 and houses in this neighborhood go for $300,000", then you have to realize that the only way to sell it is to now price it so that it's too good a deal to pass up.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 12:29PM
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valkyrie4791

Lots of stuff to comment on here.

Some of this was very good advice. Thanks so much!

To the person who accused me of greed...what an interesting comment since you have no idea what I paid and why we chose to do it in the first place.

I will respond to why we bought the house. First of all it was at the top of our budget. We had been looking for several months for a home but had come up with nothing. We were adamant about staying in this general area because the schools are the best. We couldn't seem to find much in this school district. This was the first and only house we came across that met enough of our criteria. TONS of storage, 4 bedrooms, in the right school district and in a nice, safe subdivision. The fact that the house is way nicer inside than any other houses we could find in that pricepoint was a bonus. It was deeply discounted and I'm sure that had something to do with the road issue. We bought the home not even considering resale because we felt we'd live there forever.

Fast forward a few years and one of our kids gets crazy into horses. We now own 2, but keep them somewhere else. We want to have a place to keep them ourselves. That's why we were willing to buy without selling our home first. We are paying for horse board (which isn't cheap) so that will mitigate some of that cost.

I don't think our realtor has done much to market our home effectively. Once we get moved out we are going to slash the price below 200k and offer to pay closing costs. If that doesn't work, we may explore the rental market, which is very, very strong in our area.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 8:31AM
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terriks

It was deeply discounted and I'm sure that had something to do with the road issue.

I think that tells you what needs to be done.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 12:14PM
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civ_IV_fan

are you obsessed with porcelain dolls and clowns? maybe you have crazy decorating tastes and it'll sell once it is empty.

just joking :)

good luck with the sale! all you can do is price it where the market is. a good realtor will tell you what that number is.

the corner lot thing is funny. that is considered a desirable factor around here too. it is advertised as a plus in description.

it would be worth every penny to have a professional landscaper design a buffer to the busy road. buyers aren't too hard to satisfy, but in this market you have to try.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 3:57PM
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Happyladi

Good luck, I hope you can find someone who doesn't mind the road or can overlook it due to the homes good points.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 4:02PM
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badgergrrl

In places with winter, corner lots can be kiss of death - that's TWICE as much sidewalk to shovel and clear of ice.

DH flat out refused to look at any that were corner lots.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2011 at 10:34AM
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LoveInTheHouse

It'll be worth having those horses in your backyard!

We've been house shopping and we always rule out everything on a busy road. The main reason is because we have animals. The dog you can contain. The cats, no. But I DID try to talk hubby into looking at one that was $75,000. cheaper than others we were looking at and had some extra amenities. I would expect a super deal in exhange for living on a busy street. Sorry, I know that stinks.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2011 at 9:32PM
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calliope

No, earthworm said you were the 'victim' of greed, not that you were greedy.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 3:44AM
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Alchemist74

Just curious: did you sell your house?
I am thinking about selling my fabulous house (on a busy street). what percentage from original asking price did you discount ?

    Bookmark   December 30, 2011 at 2:30AM
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valkyrie4791

Yes, we did finally sell the house! We started out asking $249,00, which was probably fair market value for the house in the subdivision at the time we listed (before the market really tanked), but NOT with the concession for the road. Our last listed asking price was 219,000, and we sold for 205,000--and were glad to do it since we'd already purchased another house! It took us *2* years to sell!! But we got a great deal on the property we purchased, so we felt that it worked out ok in the end. I learned a lot from the experience and I told my husband that the next time I move, it will be to the cemetary! LOL

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 11:55AM
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brickeyee

It is tough to take a large loss, but if you are having problems selling you need to really take a hard look at what it costs every month to carry the unneeded house.
You came down by $44,000, but added to that is the cost of the PITI on a house you wanted to sell.

I have rental houses I own, and have been forced to hold onto houses I had renovated when sales dropped and then rent them out also.
Tenants are great, especially if they cover PITI on the house. Even better if rent is above PITI and I have money to pocket every month.

I have not had to deal with some of the collapsing home markets though since I am in Virginia right outside Washington, DC.
I can be in town in 20 minutes.

The worst that really happens here is sales collapse and prices stop increasing.

If I did not have the option of covering PITI with a lease, I would figure how much the house was costing me per month, then multiply the months on market average, and knock that off the price right up front.

The pain would be a lot less.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 4:53PM
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connieb_grow

Thanks for posting your dilema with house. My situation is identical! Nice home, new roof, new appliances, etc. They love house, hate road. Priced at $255,000, down to $229,000. Need to reduce again. :( May need bushes and trees. Gosh, I hate losing so much money!!!

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 7:01PM
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kirkhall

You aren't losing the money. You never had it to begin with.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 11:23AM
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terrene

I own a rental house that is on a busy road. After a horrible experience with the most recent tenants, I put it on the market for sale (FSBO) or rent this summer. I got an offer that was $10K less than asking price, "as is", which was pretty good, but when I crunched the numbers that was barely acceptable. So I decided to continue renting. The housing market is weak, the rental market is strong. I will rent until the housing market is stronger, or I need to liquidate, or some other compelling reason.

Anyway, I was told by a realtor who did a CMA that the house would be worth $10-20,000 more if it were in a family neighborhood instead of on a busy road. Fortunately, it is a nice lot and has a large private backyard with a stunning view onto wetlands. This partially compensates for the busy road, and was one of reasons for getting 1 offer.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 3:28AM
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sameboat

There's a buyer out there for everything. I live on a busy road. We sold our home on a busy road four years ago and then bought this one a couple of towns away. I love it. I love to watch the cars go by, the school bus stops right out front. If I decorate my front door I love when someone comments on Facebook they like my wreath,, flowers, etc. Hang in there. They just haven't found you yet.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 12:51AM
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