Although you might assume that most people would want to avoid buying a house on a main road, there are actually pros to consider along with the cons.

Buying a House on a Main Road: An Overview

If you among those who would never seriously consider buying a house on a main road, you are not alone. “I would estimate 50% or more of the buyers I represent will opt to not look at homes on a main road, regardless of the home’s features,” says RE/MAX Victory Certified Residential Specialist Doug Wagner. Wagner lists the primary concerns as noise and safety for children and pets. 

Key Takeaways:

  • You should compare the pros and cons of living on a main road with your personal lifestyle preferences.
  • Advantages include good access to transportation, more shopping and school choices, and better safety.
  • Among the the downsides are noise, a lack of privacy, pollution, and resale value.
  • If you decide main street living is for you, tell your real estate agent. If you find a house you like, make sure the price you offer takes into account that likely smaller pool of available buyers when you eventually sell.

But is it really such a bad choice? One major upside is that homes on busy streets tend to sell at a discount. Let’s look at the pros and cons of buying a house on a busy street.

Pros of Buying a House on a Main Road

If you like being part of a stimulating environment and value convenience, a house on a main road might be to your liking.

It’s Where the Action Is

A main road in any town will be busy. This means a lot of cars driving past and people on the sidewalk. If you love hustle and bustle, this could be a big plus.

Easy Access to Transportation and Recreation

Bus stops, train stations, and bike and walking trails are all often located near main thoroughfares. If transportation and recreational access mean a lot to you, centralized living could be a real advantage.

More Businesses, Schools and Security

Main roads are better lit and have more shopping options, school choices, fire stations, and often a stronger police presence. The ability to walk to stores and to feel more safe and secure is enhanced in areas where there are more people. 

Good Street Maintenance

Cul-de-sacs and side streets do not get the attention main roads get because they don’t get the traffic. Main roads are plowed first when there is snow. Potholes are filled first and, when it’s time to resurface, busy streets get first dibs.

Pricing Discount

Because most people prefer less traffic and noise than is found on a main road, houses on busy streets tend to sell at a discount. That discount can be 5% to 10%, according to Wagner. This can be an advantage for buyers without kids or pets, he says.

[Important: Keep in mind that you are choosing where you will live for the next several years and it should feel like home, not a trap.]

Cons of Buying a House on a Main Road

If an up-tempo lifestyle does not appeal to you—or even if it does—the cons listed here may be enough to discourage you.

Noise

Noise is probably the primary objection people have to living on a main road. Although well-insulated windows and doors can help, you will be able to tell the difference. If noise matters a lot to you, a busy street does not make sense.

Lack of Privacy

All those neighbors walking past and even people in cars will look your way and, especially when it gets dark, into your windows. If privacy is a major concern, living on a main street may stress you out.

Dust and Pollution

No doubt about it, a house on a busy street is subject to more dust, automobile exhaust, and other forms of pollution. If you are particularly sensitive to air quality—especially if you don’t have a good air filtration system in your house—this could be a problem.

Parking

People who live on side streets can often park extra vehicles on the street. This is not always the case when you live on a main road. If you have more cars than your garage and driveway can handle, parking might be an issue.

Resale Value

According to Wagner, the discount advantage you have as a buyer becomes a disadvantage when you sell. He cites a “smaller pool of available buyers” as the main reason for the need to discount the selling price.