Should I buy a home next to a freeway in a great school district?

Asked by donkiekong123, Lake Oswego, OR Wed Oct 10, 2012

Top rated school district, brand new home, nice features, low price

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Terri Vellios, Agent, Campbell, CA
Wed Oct 17, 2012
We can not answer this with a yes or no. Location affects value and if you are considering next to freeway this house should be priced low for what it has to offer.

I've lived across the street from a freeway and I did get used to it. The issues are that you will hear motorcycles and sirens in the middle of the night, there is more dirt to dust, and the sound changes in weather. I purchased that house knowing full well that it wasn't the best location, and one of the worse locations, but it got me the size I needed for my family in my children's school district, at a price I could afford. Years later when it was time to sell, location was the one objection, even though we had remodeled extensively. Fortunately timing was on our side and we made money.

Times are different now. Make sure that you are well aware of all your options and other properties available. Discuss this with your buyer's agent and then make the decision which fits you.

Have an amazing day.
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Craig Loughr…, , Oregon
Wed Oct 17, 2012
That's a complicated question. Many things make a school or school district great; and while schools in Lake Oswego and West Linn have great reputations, there are certainly some things they cannot provide. However, assuming the schools you refer to have exactly everything you need and want for your student, and assuming no other school in the region can provide exactly the same things, then you have to make one more assumption: that there's no other house in the entire school attendance area, or the entire school district, that you would want or be happy with for a price you can afford, except next to the freeway.

If that latter assumption is correct, and if your number one priority in where you live is the education your student will get, and if you won't mind the traffic noise from the freeway, then choosing a home next to the freeway seems like the smart way to go.

It's true that location is a huge factor in real estate, but it's not the only factor. Another factor that's just as important is price. Any property will sell, regardless of location, at the right price. So that freeway-side home may take longer to sell, and will sell for a lower price than similar homes around it that are not next to the freeway. However, you also should pay less for that home initially. Everything is relative.

On the other hand, don't let anyone fool you. While home inventories are lower now than they were a year ago, there's no scarcity of homes. While prices have risen some this year compared to last year, prices are still incredibly low compared to where they were four years ago.

If education is your most important factor, and if you're willing to sacrifice every other aspect of your home to get that Lake Oswego education, then you probably have time to be patient, and wait for another affordable home to come on the market that's not next to the freeway.

I won't say that home prices will start going down again, but they may flatten out. Even if they continue to rise, it's not expected to be at a fast pace, and certainly not at the pace they rose in the 15+ years before the big crash in 2008.

As you go forward, however, the best thing you could do to choose the right home is to get the help of a trusted advisor. Get an experienced real estate broker who is smart, and whose integrity is beyond question.

Best of luck.
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Alexis Halmy, Agent, Lake Oswego, OR
Wed Oct 10, 2012
I agree with Linda...if the school is the most important aspect of your offer AND you can get a good price on a home with a lot of road noise (and live with that noise) then buying a home next to a freeway might be ok.

Some things to also consider....right now there is very low inventory in the Portland metro/Lake Oswego prices go up and there are more choices for buyers, your home by the freeway could actually be worth less than you are spending for it right now.

Another issue that would concern me if I had school age children relates to how healthy is it to live next to a freeway? I would have serious concerns about pollution living next to a freeway with young children. I"m assuming you are looking near i-5. That isn't talked about much but I grew up in smoggy Los Angeles and pollution and problems relating to it are discussed much more there. From what I can tell, we don't have the cleanest air here and you can see it on hot sunny days...lots more sludge in our gas apparently. OK of course I'm not a Dr., and cannot give you medical advice, but I do know that pollution can present issues for kids and older folks.

Hope that helps, Best, Alexis
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Linda Heinri…, Agent, Lake Oswego, OR
Wed Oct 10, 2012
In my opinion probably not if you have other options in your price point. Lake Oswego is a great school district and is the town in which I live and work, but location is one of the single most important aspects of your home purchase that you should consider.

If this is the perfect combination of price, house & schools, then you need to go into the purchase knowing that a home backing to the freeway will always sell in the future for less than neighboring homes across the street and a block or two away in the same neighborhood. If you are working with a good buyers agent, they will help you identify comparable homes or lower your offer to reflect a freeway in the back yard.
0 votes
Thank you Linda. I would need to stay around $350k and under. I would like 4 bedrooms, 2+ baths, a yard, 2 car garage and unfortunately I really like new homes. I do not have the time or money to do a fixer, even cosmetic. I found these new homes in Lake Grove area....which is a great area, but the homes are literally 25-50ft from I5. Priced well, over 2000sf and new. I know that they are not going to be a great re-sale....and the noise of the highway may be annoying when outside, but what other options does a family have when they can't afford LO prices, but don't want a dumpy small home. ???
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