Home Buying in Alpharetta>Question Details

Ash27, Home Buyer in 30022

Should we buy new house next to detention pond or not?

Asked by Ash27, 30022 Thu Feb 17, 2011

We are looking to buy a new house in a higher end neighbourhood in Alpharetta GA. There are only few lots left and one of them is next to a detetion pond. The pond is dry and fenced, it is approx 10ft from the property line.The builder confirmed that the rain water in detention pond should go away in 48 hours so water will not stand.HOA is responsible for maintenance and the builder is also planning to a lot of landscaping around the pond. My question is should this house be even considered or not.If yes how much percent negotiation should be expected and also how much percentage wise is the impact on the resale value as compared to other houses which are not next to pond. Any help will be appreciated. Thanks!

Help the community by answering this question:


My radar lit up like a Christmas tree…..which “high end” neighborhood?

A few of my initial concerns: (and there are likely to be many more)

“The builder said blah blah blah….” Really, he doesn’t see any issues? I don’t trust a word of what any builder says, anytime, anywhere. Builders and their site agents will tell you whatever they need to to sell you a home. Of course he “plans” to do many things – when, how and even if are worried about down the road. Unless things are in place, it doesn’t count. His job is selling homes, nothing else.

What do “high end” buyers desire? Quality, privacy, size, a nice lot, pleasant setting….I don’t see detention pond anywhere on the list. Is it a detention pond or retention pond – two very different things? With it 10’ off your line and fenced, how does it visually impact your home?

What do many buyers see with either retention or detention ponds? Well why are they there in the first place? Water. It’s reasonable to assume that this will be a wet area – how will that impact you next door? Let’s toss out the big ones that buyers think about – wet grounds, weeds, insects, snakes, smells, molds and when the heavy rains come – possible extended moisture issues that could spread to adjacent lots – flooding and erosion off your site. What happens if your lot begins to erode? And let’s talk maintenance – do you know how many HOA’s lack the money to maintain those? And what happens when they aren’t maintained?

I’m coming from this as both a certified appraiser and broker doing this since ’89. When I was with the Army Corps of Engineers I designed and built surface water management systems for improved areas – there’s a method to the madness. Many things have to be properly addressed, usually they are but many times they aren’t. Over the years I’ve seen many ponds fail, head walls collapsed, and inadequate design…..all in the name of speed of construction.

Without a doubt, they impact value and marketability – anyone that says otherwise is welcome to show me their research. I adjust for both value and appeal when evaluating homes adjacent to them, they have an impact.

Also – is this home already up? If so, when was it built and what’s the history? If it’s been a while has the HVAC been running or has it been buttoned up? Stagnant homes without proper ventilation need a thorough inspection, mold isn't unusual.

I don’t see mention of an agent representing you – if you don’t have one then get one, an experienced one. As far as how much to offer or a percentage of reduction, paired sales analysis is the best way to determine that; there is no one size fits all answer. My last word of caution – buying a home is like getting married; easy to get in but you better have an exit strategy in case things come to an unexpected ending. By that I mean you need to think about selling the home you’re thinking about buying. Sounds crazy, but my clients don’t step on landmines….or fall into detention ponds.

Hank Miller
Associate Broker & Certified Appraiser
Keller Williams Atl North
Web Reference: http://www.hrmiller.com
3 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 17, 2011
What you said about not believing the builder or his sales people, goes double for real estate agents. They will tell you any lie or leave out any information, just to get it sold and collect a commission. As a matter of fact, they don't even care if the property is really what you're looking for. They will take advantage of you any way they can. If they don't get you to the closing table, they don't get paid. They know, if they don't sell you something now, you may buy elsewhere. So, expect that they will try to sell you what they first show you.
Flag Thu Feb 25, 2016
I don't understand all the 'negativity' surrounding detention or retention ponds. We bought our home a few years ago BECAUSE of the detention pond. Its quiet, there is no traffic, its green, there are no other backyards in our backyard, it contains the water to an extreme which makes us more comfortable about potential flooding... lots of reasons. I would rather sit on my back patio and see a green grass landscape with some or no water (depending on if it rained recently) than a big fence, or someone else's yard, or another house, or a street. In the fall when its cool, the doors and windows are open and we don't smell some one's dinner or dog poop, or hear them talking or yelling or their music blaring. Its very nice.

I just thought I would put in some positives since it seems most are making it out to be some type of bad thing. Really, I am sure there are others who feel as we do.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 4, 2015
If having the pond next to the property your going to live in does not bother you then go ahead and purchase this home. The only downside of this purchase could be the effect on future buyers of your home. Will they have a problem with this issue? My guess is that they may have and that could effect the sales price when you try to sell. We call this a possible stigmatized property due to an external issue. Can I ask why you are considering this property? Is it because the price is great? Is the builder anxious to sell this property? Is this the last home to sell in the development? They may be having an issue trying to find a buyer now. All of the questions you are asking will be questions a future buyer of your home will most likely be asking. Do your homework prior to making this purchase and consider all the facts prior to making a decision to buy or not.

All the best,

Gary Geer

0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 28, 2011
......I would not have a problem with that and I think the builder is correct about the standing water.Even here in north Florida, these ponds very seldom collect anything close to capacity;of course it does depend how much hard surface and roof area there is in the immediate area,but generally speaking these ponds are "over done" and don't present a problem as long as they comply with the law.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 23, 2011
I think Don has it right. I recently sold a home in Warren, NJ that was beside a detention basin. The owner - who worked with the buider and had her pick of lots in the community - selected that one because of the privacy of the open lot. She considered it a positive. Fast forward to sale time and we had some potential buyers who considered it a negative but it did not stop the home from selling and for a very fair price.

Jeanne Feenick
Unwavering Commitment to Service
Web Reference: http://www.feenick.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 22, 2011
It's a six of one 1/2 dozen of the other question. Some will select for view or fact that another house can't be put there.
Others will be afraid for various reasons, Bugs, flood or whatever they are thinking about.

Best answer would be to decide if you like it or not.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 21, 2011
Homes on less desirable lots are more challenging to sell. So even if you are able to negotiate a great purchase price it will take you longer to sell this home. Do you want to purchase a home that will be difficult to sell? What if your job/financial/family situation changes overnight? I typically do not show homes that back up to power lines, major roads, detention ponds, etc. If I do try and show a home on a less desirable lot, several of my buyers will say they don’t want to live next to that and we do not even step inside the home…

Hope this helps!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 20, 2011

If not you, some one else will end up buying that lot eventually. Even the most undesirable lots will get sold in the end. The loss of value in the property due to the detention pond while selling can be neutralized by negotiating the purchase price down. Again, the impact on value will not be as much on a low-end subdivision house as it is on a high-end subdivision.

If you dont have much choice in the area you are looking to purchase, why not get it at a justifiable price provided that the builder and the HOA have written guaranties in regard to proper build and maintenance of the pond. I have been living in the Alpharetta/Johns Creek area for the last twenty years. I know of two new subdivisions that have detention ponds and the lots next to them are currently available. For some buyers other criteria overshadow such negatives in the property they buy. Its like, I am flying - its a full flight - and I am the last passenger to check in - I will have to take whatever seat that is available no matter how undesirable it is.

The fact that the pond is dry now, would make me expect it to stay dry most of the time. Why? ecently we have had lot of rains and melted snow. If all that water did not make the pond wet, what else can? So you should not have mosquito problems.

After reading all these messages, you must be realizing that you definitely have to have an agent assist you with professional knowledge, yet at no cost. If dont already have an agent, you can and you should get assistance from an agent. I am also curious to know when you said higher end - is that more than half a million or less?

Shyam Nagalla
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 18, 2011

Simple answer is to pick one of the other available lots if they have the attributes you are looking for as you purchase your home. The resale of the detention pond lot will be a major challenge for you down the road. I have worked both sides of the fence as a resale and onsite sales manager and have found the the last lots built in a subdivision (dog lots) are the last lots for a reason. The reason is they are undesireable for the builder group because of the difficulty of building on the specific lot, such as the grade or lot encumberances, increased associated costs of building on the lot, and lack of desireability of the buying public which translates into even larger holding costs for the builder.

Best of Luck in your home buying journey...

Chuck Green, Realtor
Keller Williams Realty
Web Reference: http://chuckgreen.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 18, 2011
Hank.. way to go! Thanks for the laugh and insight at the same time. Always on spot! Larry - list a resale next to a retention pond would ya! Enough said. Now, I prefer wings with my beer. Hot ones to be exact. So the answer to the question is HELL to the NO!! don't buy next to a retention pond unless you plan on staying there until you die and don't care of the future resale value of your home or what you will be doing to your children's realtor who has to sell it. Hello.. it's the last one left for a reason. It's like getting picked last for kickball... last is worst in almost all drafts. Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 17, 2011
Larry - I did loosen up - I just stopped laughing at the picture of perpetual bliss you painted - which was only exceeded by -

"I have represented many builders and developers throughout my career, and have not experienced any negative side effects to a pond." AND "They are designed by Engineers, and built by humans."

If you've been in new home construction most of the time you should get out into the resale world, thinking a pond has no impact is a nonsensical statement. As far as the second one, how many builders are actually out doing quality control? If minor things like slumping the concrete, placing rebar properly, compacting soil, allowing concrete to properly cure before backfilling.......aren't being done, what else is being overlooked? How many builders actually pull real quality control? And building inspectors.....please. Everything is built around speed and with speed comes poor quality control.

I expect you to defend new construction - but please don't try to tell me that everything is beer and skittles with new construction. A quick google on specific builders and new construction issues might show otherwise...

Web Reference: http://www.hrmiller.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 17, 2011
Ash, if almost all the homes in the area are sold except a few by the pond, that should tell you something...
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 17, 2011
I think it is a personal preference. For me, backing up to such a property means I will have no neighbor to the back, and I like that. I also like to see wildlife, so that's also a plus. Since the HOA is responsible for maintenance, you're going to be partially responsible even if you don't buy on the pond. I live on a kettle hole, and I love the way it looks, but it isn't fenced. As for insects, I guess that depends on the area. Where I live there are a lot of ponds and swamps, etc, so having a detention, retention, sump or anything else IMO doesn't mean there are more insects near me than elsewhere.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 17, 2011
Dear Ash27. The real question is "why would you buy a house next to a retention or detention pond?" The facts are these: there could be a problem with the drainage; it is an eyesore at the very least; it is a BIG negative for most buyers when you sell your home. Why put that noose around your neck? It's not the only home that will fit your needs I am certain - there is too much inventory right now to accept anything like this. If you are going to be one of the smartest buyers of the century, don't blow it by buying a property that has this type of issue.
Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 17, 2011
Hello Ash27,
I agree with John that you may wish to consider ithe affects of insects that live around water and possibly any offensive smells that eminate from the water and the vegetation. Do check the run-off and flood maps as it could affect the property's usage.
Good luck!

Laura Feghali
Prudential Connecticut Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 17, 2011
Hi Ash,

Ayelet is right. If you are already thinking about how much to knock off on price and wondering about potential impact when it is brand new, imagine later down the road your next buyer when he can choose from many resales or from new construction himself. It will definitely be a risk.

Good luck with your home purchase and make sure you have a realtor working for you as a Buyer's agent even in new construction. This service is free for you and will protect your interests.

Karen Roszyk
"A Reputation for Results"

Stages Realty of Georgia
12600 Deerfield Parkway, Suite 100
Alpharetta, Georgia 30004
Cell#: 770-355-7833
Office#: 678-392-2488
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 17, 2011
Depending on how its set up and location, slope of land, etc. it can be good or bad. If the lay of the land looks good then the next thing to ask yourself is if you like the sound of frogs at night. Frogs or other reptiles, amphibians, insects and even field mice, snakes and other wildlife will look at the retention pond as part of their habitat. They (other life forms) will tend to congregate their and make the most noise at night. If you are cool with that, the house is priced right, and it is what you are looking for in a home purchase go for it. Now I did see that it drains away or evaporates, according to the builder, within 48hrs. No way of knowing for sure until you are watching it after a rain storm for a time period of 48hrs right? In my experience there is going to be some amount of water in or around the system. Regarding resale, no way of know until the time comes to sell the property at a future date and what the market calls for.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 17, 2011
I have represented buyers for a long time, and I my experience tells me that a home on the detention pond is less desirable than not being on one. Many times these homes are the last to sell in a new subdivision and struggle to sell on the resale market.
If a builder says they are going to do landscaping, make sure it is in writing or better yet done before you close. I assume you have an agent representing your best interest in this purchase. If not, get one!
I'd be happy to help.
Strom Thurman
Atlantic Realty
Alpharetta, GA
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 17, 2011
I would have to take a look at the entire community to best
answer this question. I could diffintely negoitate a great deal for you.
Location is a very important factor when purchasing a home.

Give me a call it's free direct 770-307-8751
17 years of home selling experience
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 17, 2011
You should explore where the run off is coming from & would suggest looking at flood maps too. Think mosquitoes!

John J. Reinhardt

(678) 310-9811
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 17, 2011
Agree with Ayelet on this one, Ash. There should always be a discount for any negative feature that makes one property stand out from another. Power lines, detention ponds, noisy highways, etc all may well make it more difficult to sell, or re-sell, particularly in this market. To determine an amount, or percentage, would depend on too many factors to guess here, but will be available to attempt and help if you will shoot an email over or give me a call. Good Luck!

Michael Hammond


0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 17, 2011

You can get a great value when purchasing a home with a detention pond,and as one of the other agents mentioned, you can always landscape and block the view of it. Leland Cypress Trees are excellent for that purpose. They grow quickly and they're tall and thick.

But, I see two disadvantages to doing this. One, like mentioned previously by another agent, the resale is going to be a bit tougher when you get ready to move. You'll be expected to come down on the price compared to other home sales in the area b/c of the pond. Second, you need to make sure you are competely aware of who is responsible for maintaining it. Alot of times the homeowner whose property the detention pond is attached to is responsible for that. I've heard of instances where the homeowner has to dredge it...which can be very costly. Make sure you contact (or have your agent do so) the HOA and read their covenants.

Good luck and let me know if I can be of any further assistance to you with this or any other issue.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 17, 2011
buying into a new subdivision has its advantages. first you are buying a new houst that typacally has 1 year warranty from the builder for the interior of the house. what it does not include is the material issue of the physical sorroundings of the property. in your case it is the detention pond. you can definitely negotiate a better deal than several houses down the street that are not close to the pond. Though the biggest impact will be when you want to sell. and as everybody know the market now and probably for the next few years is going to be fragile for the home sellers. you should take the maximum percussion when purchasing now so it will be not only about perserving the money you have now but the money you'll save when you sell your home. A detention pond will make your future home selling a big problem! you will have to be lower than everybody and most probably way longer on the market, which means extra carrying costs of mortgage payments, taxes, utilities and hazard insurance. not to mention the emotional cost.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 17, 2011
If the detention pond is nicely landscaped and covered up, I dont see a problem in that.

Shyam Nagalla
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 17, 2011
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
Email me when…

Learn more

Copyright © 2016 Trulia, Inc. All rights reserved.   |  
Have a question? Visit our Help Center to find the answer