We just learned that there is going to be a well-traveled road extended that will go directly behind our home. We’ve enjoyed open space for the past several years that we’ve lived here and were really bummed (to say the least) when we heard about the road plans. We’re worried about our daughter playing in the yard, traffic noise and so much more. Will the road drastically decrease the value of our home? Should we try to sell before the road construction starts so we recoup what we’ve invested in our home or is it too late?
Brittany, Grand Junction
I am sorry to hear about the road expansion! I hate it for you as I know how it is to enjoy the peace of having no backyard neighbors. I have said it over and over again that busy road traffic does have a negative impact on a home’s value. At this juncture in my career, I do not believe that statement is in doubt, but I have learned that there are caveats to that general statement that leave room for hope that the negative impact may not be as severe as you may fear. Regardless of if you sell now or sell later the impact is going to be there. Honestly, in some cases if the road has been approved and it is general knowledge, then the buyers fear of the unknown (the how big, busy and noisy will it be?) is almost worse than if the road was already in so they could see exactly what it is and process it for themselves. I have found in life that the things I was really worried about before they happened were not nearly as bad as I thought they would be when they actually occurred. Worrying does little good, taking a positive stance on what is to come and making a plan is far more constructive, so that is what we are going to do here!
Most homes live from front to back, meaning bedrooms, offices, dining rooms etc. are often positioned towards the front of the home and the living spaces, kitchen and master bedrooms are positioned in the back so the living spaces are more focused on the back yard and back patios. It is likely your home has been designed with some form of this set up and instead of lamenting what you now have, you should focus on the things you can do to mitigate and lessen the new road’s impact! Keep in mind that the interpretation of a “busy” road is relative. The definition you receive from someone who is moving from rural Wyoming will be significantly different from someone who is moving here from L.A. whose home backed to the 405! With that thought in mind, keep repeating to yourself, all is not lost!
There are two things, actually senses, that you need to keep in mind when looking to mitigate the impact of the new road and those are sound and visibility. Start by making sure that you make plans to put up a fence if you don’t already have one, this will immediately address the safety issue and begin to address the sound and visibility. Next, make sure to put in trees along the back that are fast growing and will create a good barrier that extends above your fence line and will absorb and deflect much of the noise and further lessen the visual impact of the new road. One common mistake is to purchase small trees that are very inexpensive and then wait years for them to grow large enough to create the desired barrier. I know it is going to cost more now, but purchase trees that are as large as you can get so the impact is much more immediate. Trust me, whatever extra you spend on larger trees you will get back in spades! After you have put up a fence and grown trees, remember…no baby saplings, it’s time to create a water feature that can also help drown out the sound of traffic. A water feature does not have to be expensive to be effective. Remember we are looking for a calming sound to help create a softer less invasive atmosphere. Next, on your deck or patio, add some new furniture that looks and feel comfortable with plush cushions and pillows! This will also soften the area and make it more inviting. Don’t run from the issue, take it head on and create an environment that will help cancel out the negative, by accentuating with a positive!
Last story, I once sold a home on a very busy road and when you went outside on the back deck all you could hear was the rush of cars passing by at 50 miles per hour. I looked at the seller and said, “hear that?” She said “What?” I said, “The traffic noise, that is going to be your primary issue…the traffic noise.” She looked at me with a straight face and said, “Really?…I always just thought it sounded like the ocean…calming.” She was a serious as could be. What a great attitude in finding the positives! That story is living proof that there is a butt for every saddle, you just have to find the right butt. Take this head on, create a plan and make the best of it. When the time is right you will have minimized the impact, preserved as much value as possible, and you will find the right butt for your saddle.
The Kimbrough Team