Thursday, April 12, 2007

Buying near a Busy Street

Have you ever come across a home that is PERFECT in every way, except it backs to a busy street?  Is this house a good buy?  Can you be happy here?  It can be...  for some people.  It depends on a couple of different factors.

I come across this scenario more often than people realize, and pricing is the biggest reason why.  Let's say my buyers are looking at homes in the $325,000 to $350,000 price range.  They want to get a great home, and they want it at a great price.  After a few weeks of looking, we realize that they've seen every floor plan available in the area (twice!), and they're starting to get a little dejected and frustrated.  We start looking at homes a little more expensive, and of course they find lots of those homes they like, but they really want to stay within budget.

Then one day a new house comes on the market.  It's larger than the others we've seen.  It's on a larger lot, with a beautiful backyard.  It's decorated and appointed very nicely.  And it's being offered at $309,000.  Cue the clouds parting, trumpets blowing, and sun shining down on us!  Unfortunately, the home backs to a major street.  What should we do?

Some people simply cannot stand the noise, and would not be happy with this home at any price.  Some people are not as noise-sensitive, and will look at this as an opportunity to get the best available home.  Then there is the third group, who know that the noise is not ideal, but who will try to rationalize themselves into making an offer:  "We don't go outside much...  You really can't hear it with the windows closed...  This is the only way we're going to be able to afford a four-bedroom home in this neighborhood."  These are the kinds of things we'll end up discussing.  And they may be right - the only thing I have to say is this:

If you can't stand the noise, don't buy the house - you'll hate it every day you live there.  If you don't mind the noise, or if you want the larger home, remember that you're going to face the same challenge when you try to sell it.  Half of your potential buyers will walk away without even coming inside.  The other half is going to want to beat you up on price.  The best way to allow yourself room to sell it low is to buy it at a great price.  Be patient.  Negotiate harder than you normally would.  Once you don't have to worry about the value component, you can spend your time enjoying your larger-than-your-budget new home.

- Chris Butterworth