Busy road question

sirenehFebruary 12, 2013

Hi. I've been reading through the threads on this subject and haven't seen one that sounds like an almost-match to our situation, so I hope you can bear another post about houses near busy roads.

My husband and I have been actively house hunting for a year, and casually checking out online listings or open houses for about a year prior to that. We are not in a rush and are probably being particular because we are not entirely unhappy with the house we're in. At one point we found a house we were seriously interested in, but while we were hemming and hawing over it, another buyer picked it up. We've actually had that happen another couple of times since then. Other buyers have been ready to jump more readily than we have, apparently, when something really good comes up.

One of the houses we lost backed onto a ravine and had a walk-out basement. It was a very good price, too, which explains why it got snapped up so quickly. My husband compares everything we've looked at since then to that house and he's pretty determine to have a ravine view. Those homes don't come up very often, though, and when they do they are out of our price range. That one needed updating and was an anomaly.

Currently there is a house for sale in our area that meets all our wants and needs inside the house, but sides onto a relatively busy road. It's a single lane in either direction, with a speed limit of about 50-60 KM/hr (30-37 MPH.)

We are back yard people and we are outside very often in the summer (mind you, we only get about 4 months of nice weather.) There is, however, a vacant lot just beside the house, so that is between the house and the road. The area there is part of a natural grassland, the rest of which is behind the house! It is in a legacy community, which means expensive, but the natural reserves are left intact and they will not be developed. They won't even plant trees there, I found out when I inquired about that possibility. And as you might expect, this house is much cheaper than the others in the same area. $60k - $100k cheaper, and even more. Otherwise we would not be able to even consider it.

Also beside the lot-sized grassland is a bus stop. This might be a big annoyance during peak times, but on the other hand, our kids would catch the school bus there, so very convenient.

The house has a walk-out basement with generously-sized windows that offer a great view of the ravine, and there are many other qualities that are just what we've been looking for.

I have the ability sometimes to block out the noise of my kids so I suspect I will be one of those who will get used to the traffic sounds. My husband doesn't know whether he can tolerate noise or not as he's never tested it, so he is really hesitant about this one.

I've read (maybe here) that blocking your ability to see the traffic is about 50% of the equation. We would plant trees. I just read today someone recommending shrubs and trees that make "swishing" sounds to help mask some of the noise, and then of course there's always the option to add in a water feature.

The place would be perfectly beautiful and serene if not for that road! But then the road is what makes this beautiful house even a consideration for us, budget-wise.

Just wondering if y'all think the perfectness of the house and the nice neighbourhood and location (in every direction but east) would be reason enough to take a gamble here.

We are planning to rent out the house we're currently in, so there is always the option to move back and find renters for the other house. This might help us to avoid that feeling of being stuck if we find it was not the best decision for our family after all.

Your thoughts and experiences are most welcome and appreciated. Thanks!

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Just a couple of things>
With a 37 mph speed limit, cars will be going 50mph.
Also, the "deal" that you will get now is the same deal that the next buyer will expect too, when you go to sell it. In my experience, busy roads and power lines are the two biggest turn offs.
Only you and your husband can know if it is the right home for you.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 8:50PM
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No one would drive that fast. This is a residential street in a family community. We figure some people would venture up to 43-ish, but it would be a rare driver who would push it to 50. And yes, of course I know what goes for the current owners will go for us when the time comes to sell.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 9:00PM
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"busy roads and power lines are the two biggest turn-offs"

& that's just thinking about re-sale.

You like to be outdoors as much as possible during your short summer (I'm supposing) season;
I do too, although my "summer" is about 7 months, from May through November.

Trying to be outside with a lot of traffic, or having to stay inside to escape the traffic, would run me nuts, & I bet it would run you nuts too.

Whatever you decide, I wish you the best.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 9:04PM
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Try it out: park a couple lawn chairs in the empty lot and hang out for an hour or so. See how busy it is, and see if it interferes with your enjoyment of the outdoors and your ability to converse.

Buying a house near a busy road is probably your best (only?) bet to getting the rest of what you want. As long as you realize you'll be selling it for less and your potential buyer pool will be smaller, that may be worth it for you.

ETA: By "less" I did mean "less than the neighbors' houses."

This post was edited by weedyacres on Wed, Feb 13, 13 at 13:56

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 10:05PM
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See, the thing is, we won't necessarily be selling it for less than we paid; just less than the neighbours' houses, and that doesn't mean anything to us.

I do like the idea of sitting there and talking. See if we have to raise our voices when a truck goes by. Thanks for the idea.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 10:11PM
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Park that lawn chair there during peak traffic hours;
you can find out when traffic is heaviest by observation or maybe by checking with the police dept.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 9:53AM
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Check for any plans to 'improve' the road in the future.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 10:34AM
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I am a member of the community association and I know there are plans to build an on-ramp that will divert traffic cutting through this community to get into the next one. It's all in the preliminary stages and I don't know what the timing will be. Depending on its priority, it may still be a couple of years away. So if anything, the traffic may be reduced. We can't bank on it, though, as there is no guarantee it will happen at all. I don't think they'd do anything else to the road as it is residential and both sides of the street are lined with sidewalks and houses.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 11:54AM
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I have to argue about the speed thing. We're on a 25mph cul-de-sac, so it's not like these folks are passing through, but there are two specific drivers who are disrespectful of everyone on the street, that live at the end, naturally. One is a teen who has toned down since the parents get talked to, but the other is an 80-year-old lady and everyone gets off the road quick when we see her coming! (no sidewalks). Since it's not very long, my speeders only get up to about 35-40mph.

On the cross-street, we're close to the front end. It has a few speed bumps to theoretically slow folks down, but I've seen people do probably 45-50mph and launch over the speed bumps or screech on the brakes for each one. It's totally ridiculous. If you go 30 (over the speed limit!) they'll tailgate you the whole way. And this is a mixed neighborhood, lots of retirees, middle aged, teen drivers, young kids.

What I'm confused about though, is whether this is an empty, buildable lot or green space? If it's green space, are you saying that you wouldn't be allowed to plant anything there, even if you joined the landscaping committee and paid for it yourself?

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 3:18PM
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My brother's house is one house away from a 50 MPH road -- they just built a sunroom and he recently commented on how they are used to the noise and don't even pay attention to it.

My house backs up to a somewhat busy 25MPH street. Definitely cars going by when I am sitting on the deck. I have a barrier of trees so I can't see them much but I can hear them. It doesn't really bother me -- if I lived in the country instead of suburbia it would bother me more but I don't have an expectation of silence in my neighborhood.

As someone who has to drive both her kids to two different school bus stops at two different times -- having it within walking distance would be a major plus!

This post was edited by stir_fryi on Thu, Feb 14, 13 at 8:40

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 8:39AM
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Fori is not pleased

Most of us in suburbia are close to a similar street. The noise is just what the suburbs sound like. So spend some time in the lot and see how bad it is, and if it seems unsafe for some sort of traffic reason.

It sounds kind of nice to me, being close to the bus stop and a green area.

I once had an apartment in the shadow of the interchange between LA's 405 fwy and Interstate 10. It sounded like the ocean. :P

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 3:35PM
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Is it a road that many trucks use? In my experience, the type of traffic is just as important as the speed in determining noise levels.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 3:37PM
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C9pilot, your post made e laugh. Your neighbours sound like maniacs! As for your question about the green space, I would not be permitted to plant there because it is a protected grassland. I supposed they don't want other plants introduced there as the whole "legacy" concept is to try to keep the undeveloped sections of the community as close to their original state as possible. It was ranch land before the community developed it.

While there would be pickups and small commercial trucks, big trucks are not allowed on that road. I don't think the larger vehicles would want to travel there even if they could as there are major routes close by that would be much more efficient for them.

Thank you to everyone for your input. It is really helpful to hear about other people's experiences and things that may not have occurred to me. I don't know what we are going to do (we're going to look at a different house tonight) but I will TRY to remember to update if we do happen to move there. I noticed that a lot of other threads on this subject don't provide follow-up, which would be really nice to have!

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 4:28PM
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Pre thanks for following up when you decide what to do.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 6:58AM
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