House near country highway

melody-sMarch 30, 2012

I am looking at a house tomorrow that has a potential serious issue and I wanted some feedback. The house, at least in pictures, looks great. It is a pre-WWII house upgraded but respectful to the history and it looks cute as a button. The neighboring houses are mixed as is typical in rural areas and they are generally well cared for. It also has almost an acre of what looks to be well cared for land. The problem is that it is half a block from the local two lane highway. It is about one mile from the nearest small town. I drove by during rush hour and there was light to moderate traffic.

I had not considered houses outside the city and suburbs. My Realtor found this one because the house itself seems to fit my tastes exactly. The price is good and is a lot more than I would get closer in. The commute isn't much longer than what I currently have and I can work from home one day a week.

My kids are almost grown, I don't plan to resell for a very long time, and I sleep with the windows closed. I am young and healthy enough to not be concerned about the upkeep and services. I don't think the traffic would be a hazard given my life circumstances, but that busy road does make me pause. So I am crowd-sourcing this to get some perspective. Thoughts, ideas, things to consider?

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A half block away is a lot better than if it was directly ON the highway. You will be able to gt out of your driveway slowly without having to speed into the highway traffic. So you are OK as far as traffic merging.

IF you re in a snow or ice prone area, this is good to be close to a road that is likely plowed or salted early in a storm.

Older homes usually picked prime property to build years ago...they picked the top of a hill most often to avoid flooding and mud and drainage issues. So you probably have a lot with great drainage.

the only issue I see is possible road noise. or pollution from cars and trucks.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2012 at 10:34AM
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I guess it depends on the actual specifics of the highway.

My husband and I are about to close on our first home, and it's just like your situation, except it's on an actual two lane highway. This bothered me a LOT when we first went to look at it, but the highway is a country rural highway, the setback of the home is really considerable (so much that you can't hear the occasional traffic from the sides and the back of the home, and nothing inside. The front you can hear larger vehicles like trucks, but that's it). There's also a very large amount of trees and other vegetation between the highway proper and the home which helps, a lot of it is evergreen. The driveway has room for a turnaround to be put in (it's all dirt right now tho). The home is just far away enough from the cities yet close enough to all the shopping and town we need within ten minutes of a drive. The school district in this area is excellent. The home is on a two acre lot (and I'm a serious gardener, so this is ideal). In rural Minnesota, it helps to live by a road that's plowed and salted quickly too in the wintertime.

I guess it depends on the kind of highway you're actually talking about (where it is, actual amount and kind of traffic etc) and your living situation. And the home of course. If everything else was perfect, I'd still consider the home on the highway.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2012 at 1:30PM
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The one thing I would be aware of is safety. If you are single, I would consider a dog. without immediate neighbors, people may be aware you are living by yourself. Is it fenced? I would also consider an alarm system also. Recently there has been several single women killed in this state who do live alone, one just recently by a relative. Just my thoughts.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2012 at 2:55PM
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I currently live about 2 miles outside of the nearest town and on a county road that is the most direct route for people to come from another town nearby. It is a 55mph paved road and does have a moderate amount of traffic for about an hour in the morning and again in the evening as people are heading to/from work. Beyond that, the traffic is pretty sporadic. It is usually very quiet. We also live in MN and it is definitely a plus to have our road plowed right away in the winter. I would rather be out in the country a bit with space and privacy, then live in town anyday. So, I would say go for it!

    Bookmark   March 30, 2012 at 7:56PM
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The biggest problem being that close to the highway is obviously noise, as others have already said. Maybe it's a moderately traveled "country highway" right now, but will traffic increase in the next 5 or 10 years? Will they widen the road?

We live about 3 miles from a heavily traveled 6 lane highway, and there are lots of woodlands between us and the highway, but you can still hear the traffic. You can hear the tractor trailers and their jake brakes, and you can hear the hum of all the tires. It's not unbearable, and it does change depending on how much cloud cover you have. I guess the heavy cloud cover makes the sound waves bounce back. I would imagine being only 2 blocks away would be way too noisey for me.

I also worry about other things - and I know most people don't think of this, and I know I worry too much. First I would worry about my pets escaping my yard and getting on the highway. Second, I would worry about a traffic accident involving a tractor trailer hauling hazardous/toxic material, and how that could affect me, being so close to it. Third, I would worry about some psycho serial killer with a broken down car or a hitch hiker coming off the highway and heading to my house. I told you I think differently!

    Bookmark   March 30, 2012 at 11:02PM
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I decided to pass on the house. The road noise was at the edge of being tolerable and if it got worse that would be a problem. Thanks everyone for your input.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 4:11PM
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The house I am selling has a patio that faces the access road in the community. I never thought it would be such a problem selling the house. It never occurred to me that people would be upset about a small access road with sporadic traffic. But they are! My realtor even offered to plant arborvitaes to block the patio from view. Even this didn't help. She told me the person who bought my house (my parent's house) would be someone who didn't care about the patio. And she was right. My parents never went out on the patio. I doubt they even knew it was on an access road. So I woiuldn't worry about being 1/2 block away. I did once live in an apartment that faced a main highway. I only had trouble the first night with the noise. Then I got used to it. If you love the house then I definitely wouldn't worry about the rest.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 9:00AM
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I really loved the house, and if it weren't for the noise issue I would have made an offer. I thought about it for a while and I talked with a relative who knew the area.

There were two problems for me. First, the road is likely to get busier because there is housing development going on at one end of the highway so there will be more commuters. The second is that in general I am highly sensitive to noise. I recently had my office at work moved to a quieter location and that really pointed out to me what a difference the quiet makes in my life.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 9:59AM
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Another consideration.

"Corner homes and homes close to an arterial roads were significantly more prone to burglary.

When house characteristics and types of precaution measures are analyzed simultaneously, the houses most prone to burglary are expensive, detached homes, located close to a highway entrance/exit, with no security precautions."

A link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 12:44PM
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