Does Living on a Busy Road Affect the Sale of YOUR Home? You Betcha!

Real Estate Agent with Boardman Realty Minnesota License#90858

Busy Road Factor Selling a Minnesota Home

White Bear Lake MN Street Scene by Teri Eckholm REALTOR

As a REALTOR®, people across the north and east Minneapolis/St Paul metro area  contact me to provide comparative market analyses on their homes. I work hard to get the price right whether it is for a single family home, a townhome, an acreage estate or a lakeshore getaway. Getting the price right is imperative in this changed real estate market. I use a system to check the comparative homes sold in the past 3-4 months and add and subtract for differences in each particular home. But every once in a while there are homes that are affected by what I call the "Busy Road Factor". These are situations that are unique to the property but will dramatically affect the number of interested buyers.

My daily travels as an Anoka & Washington County real estate agent take me along many of the same major roads day after day.  County roads are wonderful short cuts through the north and east metro as most are posted 55mph and they crisscross the communities of Ham Lake, Lino Lakes, Forest Lake, Columbus and White Bear Lake. There are many residential developments adjacent to these well-traveled roads.

Of course I notice several for sale signs along these roads as they have become a part of the landscape that doesn't change as quickly as it had in the past. Often a sign goes up and then 6 months or a year later the sign is switched out on the same house when they try a new real estate agent...again and again. In fact there is one home I have watched over the past 3 years switch out every six months to a new broker. I think they are on their sixth agent with no sale yet. I is not just the buyer's market causing this situation. This home and other properties like it located on well traveled roads are affected by "the busy road factor". It is a lethal combination with the buyers' market for a sale of residential home. A home seller is literally dead in the water before the house is listed if they do not account for the negative impact the road will have on their sale price.

"Location, Location Location" is the real estate mantra. If your home is located on a busy road, you cannot change it. But you can change the price. In order to sell, it is necessary to price your home significantly lower than all other homes on the market with similar features  to attract buyers.

This phenomena does not only affect properties on busy roads! There are other undesirable location situations that are very tough sells when the market is good but become next to impossible when there are many homes for the buyers to select from.  These unwanted locations include properties which are next to or near the following:

  • Cemeteries
  • Industrial Parks
  • Huge Power Lines/Transformers
  • Gas Pipelines
  • Landfills
  • Airports
  • Prisons
  • Flood plains
  • Train Tracks 
  • Shopping centers 
  • Gas Stations
  • Open Land either for sale or not that has undetermined development potential
  • Gun ranges 
  • Auto Salvage Yards and other disposal businesses

So how can you deal with the Busy Road Factor and get the house SOLD?

  1. Be Realistic. Don't ignore the elephant in the room. Set your price reflecting the undesirable location
  2. Best Foot Forward Make sure everything else regarding your home is a positive. All repairs done, stage the home and market its unique positive features. 
  3. Work with a Professional REALTOR® An experienced professional real estate agent can assist you in pricing your home correctly factoring in all adverse conditions.
  4. Be Ready to Negotiate. When buyers submit a purchase agreement for review, don't pass on a low offer. Counter and try to reach terms that are acceptable for both parties.
  5. Be Patient. In most cases, a property affected by the Busy Road Factor, will required twice the market time compared to the average home.
Posted by

Teri Eckholm. REALTOR with Boardman Realty, is a native Minnesotan who has lived and worked in the Minneapolis St Paul metro all of her life. She specializes in lakeshore homes, acreage properties and first time home buyers but assists anyone making a move in the north and east Twin Cities metro.

If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give Teri , a call or visit her website for a FREE Home Buyer Success Guide or FREE Home Value Report She specialize in acreage and lakeshore properties in the north and east Twin Cities metro area including Ham Lake, Lino Lakes and all communities in the Forest Lake School District! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.

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Re-Blogged 2 times:

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  2. Sharon Alters 03/01/2012 10:54 AM
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Teri Eckholm
Boardman Realty - White Bear Lake, MN
REALTOR Serving Mpls/St Paul North & East Metro

Hi All--Thank you to everyone for the comments as it seems like there are many busy roads across the country! I wish I had the time to answer you all individually but since I lost a day yesterday with our snowy mess across Minnesota I just want to quickly say I did read them all and appreciate that you all took time to comment.

Brian Park--Just wanted to note that your idea of keeping a book with the street names that are affected by the "Busy Road Factor" is genius. Of course you must have figured that out when the appraisers started calling to review it.


Mar 01, 2012 01:09 AM #44
Jack Snyder
Loan Officer in Orange County for FlexPoint Mortgage - San Clemente, CA
Loan Officer, San Clemente, Orange County, CA.

That's a great list you included in your blog.

Mar 01, 2012 03:56 AM #45
Merv Edinger & Associates
Remax Nova - Halifax, NS

LOCATION! LOCATION! LOCATION!  It can easily add & just as easily remove tens of thousands of dollars to the value of a property.  And its not just a busy road: it may be across the street from a school; a corner lot ( in some cities you pay property taxes based on linear foot of road frontage; high tension power lines; etc...  A home in my neighborhood, a large8 year old bungalow came on the market 2 years ago.  It was nice.  It appraised for $370,000.  The owners had built their dream retirement home, unfortunately, they built it in a neighborhood of 20+ year old homes, on a lot that had road frontage on 3 sides ( one being a 4-lane highway ).  It sold for $95K under the appraised value & took nearly 2 years to sell!

Mar 01, 2012 04:15 AM #46
M.C. Dwyer
Century 21 Showcase REALTORs - Felton, CA
MC Dwyer-Santa Cruz Mountains Property Specialist

Living along a busy road, and the impact that has on desirability and price, is important for both buyers and sellers to consider; I counsel my buyers with  the same wisdom shared by Sylvia #44.   It's interesting to observe that, even when a property with a very long driveway off of our Highway 9 - with enough trees and topography to cut the road noise - still has the same stigma in buyers' minds.

Mar 01, 2012 05:06 AM #47
Judy Orr
HomeSmart Realty Group - Orland Park, IL
SW & Near West Chicago suburbs

I've written several posts about this and once did my own math in my area and found approximately a 15% price reduction on a home located on a busy street. did a study once and I think it was a higher figure like 18-19%.  

I didn't figure out extra days on market but I'm sure it's a huge difference.  In fact, I would rather pass on listing a home on a busy street because sellers don't want to take that 15% reduction right off the bat and I've noticed the same thing - multiple listing agents over a long time period.

I've also talked buyers out of purchasing a home on a busy street for future resale value and just the time factor of finding a buyer willing to live on a busy road.  I always roll my eyes when I see new construction, usually a McMansion, being built on a busy street.  There always seems to be a buyer for that new construction, or at least when new construction was selling.

Mar 01, 2012 05:50 AM #48
Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605 - White Plains, NY

I'm telling people who live in homes that have a defect like a busy road to WAIT for several years - if they can.  I don't give this advice to others and here is why...

A defect, like a school next door, a busy road or playground or something that is otherwise noisy suffers MORE in a housing recession than in a decent market. So if you are selling to buy something else, the differential when the market returns to normal will be more in  your favor if you wait.  For others trading one home for another, it is not as critical.  Meanwhile, homes on busy streets make good rentals in a market where people are BEGGING for rental property.  I live on a busy street myself and would rent my home before I would sell it in this market. 

Interestingly enough, I have a big enough property so that it is not so noticable if you live here.  But its an excuse for buyers to beat down the price to way BELOW market value. 

Mar 01, 2012 06:40 AM #49
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

Pricing a property correctly regardless of location will attract buyers but location, location, location will justify the asking price and finally the sale.

Mar 01, 2012 06:41 AM #50
Bill Reddington
Re/max By The Sea - Destin, FL
Destin Florida Real Estate

Diffeent strokes for different floks. Showe a property that backs up to an airport today. Buyer is in the Air Force so no big deal. You just never know. Plus price is a cure all.

Mar 01, 2012 10:05 AM #51
Fred Griffin Tallahassee Real Estate
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

   I am meeting with a Seller who lives on a very busy road.  Sure, the location is great, but the noise and the safety factor will definitely bring down the desirability, and the price.

Mar 01, 2012 11:16 AM #52
Don Sabinske
Don Sabinske, Sabinske & Associates Inc. - Zimmerman, MN
Sabinske & Associates Inc.

Well-deserved feature, Teri.  I found it via Frank & Sharon Alters.  Good work!

Mar 01, 2012 11:42 AM #53
Brad Baylor
ERA Coup Agency - Milton, PA

Teri - You had train tracks on your list as affecting property values.  I was vacationing near the Grand Canyon and was staying in Flagstaff, AZ.  That must be the train capital of the US.  During the day, a freight train went past my hotel every 8 minutes, and at night, every 12 minutes.  Can you imagine living there?  Perhaps after you're there a while you don't even notice it...

Mar 01, 2012 10:16 PM #54
Bob Miller
Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty - Ocala, FL
The Ocala Dream Team

Hi Teri, reminds me what I heard at our Family Reunion last month.  "Whatever the objection, it is always about price."

Mar 02, 2012 04:26 AM #55
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

Some of the homes on busy streets here are actually some of the nicest.  But they are on huge lots and set back.

Mar 02, 2012 11:35 AM #56
Eric Salonga
The Salonga Brothers at Reed Realty - Ceres, CA
Your Key to the Central Valley

I just showed a very nice house today to a client but his only concern is that the backyard faces the freeway. 

Mar 02, 2012 02:15 PM #57
DeeDee Riley
Lyon Real Estate - El Dorado Hills CA - El Dorado Hills, CA
Realtor - El Dorado Hills & the Surrounding Areas

This is excellent Teri!  I've book marked to I can refer clients to it if I'm in that situation with them!  Thanks for sharing!

Mar 03, 2012 11:44 AM #58
Joy Carter & Jeff Booker Brother and Sister Team
Keller Williams Parkland/Coral Springs Realty-GreatFloridaHomes Team - Coral Springs, FL
Trust Your Family's Move To Our Expertise!

Loved your post and especially your suggestions for success!  Roads are definitely an issue for many and around here in Florida it is power lines as well.  Joy

Mar 05, 2012 11:32 AM #59
Kasey & John Boles
Jon Gosche Real Estate, LLC - - Boise, ID
Boise & Meridian, ID Ada/Canyon/Gem/Boise Counties

I completely agree with your list - I would not want to live on a busy road.  However, I wouldn't mind living by a cemetery and I don't mind railroads either believe it or not. -Kasey

Apr 13, 2012 04:13 PM #60
Matt Robinson
Professional Investors Guild - Pensacola, FL
Wow, I wish I could send this to the negotiator on one of my short sales. It sold for $15k less than the other surrounding homes because of the busy road it's on, but that wasn't accounted for in the BPO, so they won't budge on the price. So, it just sits dumb.
Dec 24, 2012 07:59 AM #61
Adrian Willanger
206 909-7536 - Seattle, WA
Profit from my two decades of experience

Teri-I currently have a home listed that gets lots of freeway noise. I'm finding it that adjusting the price is critical to getting the home sold with everything else in place. Good work. 

Apr 24, 2013 01:01 AM #62
Adrian Willanger
206 909-7536 - Seattle, WA
Profit from my two decades of experience

Teri-I just had to revisit to your blog to see if I missed anything. Good post.

May 30, 2013 08:46 AM #63
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Teri Eckholm

REALTOR Serving Mpls/St Paul North & East Metro
Looking to buy or sell in the Twin Cities? Contact Me Today!

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