Sk, Both Buyer and Seller in Portland, OR

My home on sale backs a noisy road. Several prospects have given this reason for turning down - what to do? My broker agrees with it but no plan.

Asked by Sk, Portland, OR Thu May 26, 2011

My home is on sale and backs a noisy road. House is very nice, but is not selling despite good pricing. We had very good response with several "very interested" prospects. Telling me that there is good advertising including virtual tours. But nobody is making offer. House has several and few -. One thing which has come up again and again is that my home backs a noisy road. We advertised it close to Highway - as convenience. But most are giving feedback that noise is nuisance.Our house is quiet inside but, neighborhood gets highway noise. We have been waiting for right buyer for too long now. Any tips on making a sale? Pricing? Advertising differently? There are 400 houses in our neighborhood, which have done well in last 6 years, why noise is issue now? Will it help me if I tell broker to put "next to highway" in advertisement so only serious buyers bother me? As seller I don't want to keep dropping price unless this is only way somebody will buy!

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Dave Sutton, Agent, Portland, OR
Thu May 26, 2011
BEST ANSWER
The negative part of anything like your "highway noise" is probably different with each individual. It obviously didn't keep you from buying the home. You might try to think about the type of buyer to target. Perhaps two-income no kids would not be home during the noisiest hours.

You could try to mitigate the noise (triple-glazed windows?) and advertise that as a feature.

You can sometimes turn a negative feature to your advantage. "So quiet inside you'll forget the highway noise outside".

You mention neighbors who have "done well in the last 6 years". The market has been up and dramatically down in that time, so neighbors sales a couple of years (or less) ago are probably not good comparisons. You may be expecting too much. Are you priced at or below the neighborhood comps your agent gives you?

Among truly comparable homes, yours will not sell until all those on the market at lower prices have sold. Of course you can choose to be the lowest priced among comps today. . Truly comparable homes would include those on the same busy street as yours. If there are none, then you're going to have to price at least 5% below a comparable house on a quiet street. Your price has to be low enough for someone (you only need one) to say, "I don't like being on a noisy street, but at that price we just have to take it."
1 vote
Katy Gavic, , Portland, OR
Fri May 27, 2011
Location, location, location! The one thing with your home is that this will not change. So creativity with marketing your home will come into play . Depending on your situation, I would say that you have a few options. Are you in a situation where you HAVE to sell? It is currently a buyer's market. This means that buyers know that they have MANY options to choose from, and will be that much more picky. They could most likely find a home in 97229 that backs up to a quiet greenspace (just looked at one today). One question that I like to ask sellers is: What drew YOU to purchase this home? If the highway existed when you purchased it, what made YOU overlook the noise that other potential buyers seem to find as a drawback?

One solution could be taking a look around. Have all upgrades been done that your home and budget can allow? If not, which ones are most worth doing? Have you tried staging? Having a professional stager can possibly cut the time that your home is on the market by 50% (compared to non-staged homes). Check out what has appealed to the buyers of the homes that were staged by this company: http://www.connectingpeopletospaces.com. Is there a particular room in the house that you could do upgrades to or stage that would make it stand out above the others? I feel that even in a buyer's market, where there is a will, there is a way. If you or your broker would like to forward me your MLS#, I will keep a look out for potential buyers that may find other values in your home and overlook the noise.

I wish you luck with the sale of your home.
2 votes
thank you for offering the help, this is truly a very unique and beautiful house with many, many extras....we are also offering owner financing. below is the address , it would be nice if you goggle it and,.... boom we find someone.
3055 wildvalley dr., bulverde TX 78163. thanks again
Flag Wed May 21, 2014
Brenda Meyers, Agent, Portland, OR
Fri May 27, 2011
Great suggestion I just read from a broker who said you should have your agent, when possible, suggest to those interested buyers and their agents that they drive past first, so that you lessen the number of showings that wouldn't buy due to the noise and the road. I would not, however, mention it in the listing.
2 votes
Brenda Meyers, Agent, Portland, OR
Thu May 26, 2011
There is a right buyer for every house, and there is somebody out there, maybe from a large metropolitan area, who won't be concerned. Unfortunately, in today's market, buyers are incredibly picky and want everything for as little as possible. You may have to take a substantial price cut for them to overlook the noise factor and the busy road. Recently one of our agents listed a beautiful home with the same problem and they are installing a fountain in the back to draw attention away from the road noise. Perhaps this may help.
2 votes
Pat & Steve…, Agent, Westlake, OH
Fri May 27, 2011
Since you are in a Buyers' Market, Buyers can find other homes equal to yours without noise. You need to keep lowering your price until you hit that "sweet spot" where the list price overcomes the noise objection.
1 vote
Karen Parsons…, Agent, Laguna Beach, CA
Fri May 27, 2011
Hi Sk,

Think back to why YOU bought the home and that might give you a clue about how to promote the home. If it was simply price....then that might be your answer. But I would also suggest a couple of things...a fountain where the noise is. Won't cover it...but does redirect the ear to the water. Also...if it's noisy in the backyard, then consider creating a very inviting area out front. A front porch or patio? Something which would encourage outdoor living on the other side of the home?

good luck!

Karen
1 vote
Gina Masters, Agent, Lake Oswego, OR
Thu May 26, 2011
It is going to come down to price. If you haven't already, you could ask your agent to provide sales (in your area) of similar properties backing a noisy road as well as those that do not. How well did they sell in comparison to their quieter counterparts.

You could also inquire with knowledgeable landscapers for recommendations of noise reducing plant species & how to arrange them to be most effective. This may be a delayed result, but interested buyers might find some relief that something is already in place to mitigate it.

If you're weary of the showings followed by noise objections then just have your agent pre-screen the showing appointments so he/she can inform the buyers agents. Hopefully the agents will then drive by first to check it out before setting up appt.

It's not the advertising, your agent is doing a good job on marketing as it is attracting a lot of showings.
1 vote
Deb Counts-T…, Agent, Portland, OR
Thu May 26, 2011
Is the house noisy inside as well as out? I've shown a number of homes on busy streets lately and if good windows are in place, you can't hear the street inside. So, perhaps - if not a reduction in price, then a seller credit toward new windows (or replacing them yourself) is in order.

If it's quiet inside, and the noise is outside, I'd recommend buying a fountain and putting it in the yard people are likely to spend the most amount of time in (usually the back). A little ambient noise goes a long way to canceling street noise.

Best of luck to you!
Web Reference:  http://www.welcometopdx.com
1 vote
Molly Hay -…, Agent, Columbus, OH
Thu May 26, 2011
Each home has a buyer! If you are truly priced right than you shouldn't have to worry about reducing your price. A while back I had a listing that was getting negative feedback. It was facing a busy road and the buyers said they could hear the traffic and were concerned. I had the seller plant trees in the front of the home because research shows that landscaping and natural buffers deter noise the best. The flowers and trees gave the buyers a different perspective of the busy road and we had an offer within 90 days. Our offer was 98% of our asking price! Look at your home for the buyer’s perspective. Add things to the home outside and inside to take their mind away from the "Highway". Good Luck!
1 vote
Faye O'Bryant, Agent, Lake Oswego, OR
Mon Dec 14, 2015
Road-noise buyers are typically "value" buyers. Usually a home is priced in consideration of the drawback, so will attract a buyer who is seeing much smaller homes in the same price range. If that's not true for you, there are incentives you can add that will appeal to the value buyer, such as contributing to closing costs, especially in the form of a loan buydown, where you can actually pay the lender points up front to significantly reduce the mortgage payment for 1 or more years.

And I recently sold a house that backed a busy road because the buyers wanted to run a daycare business and liked the exposure and the fact that there was a school across that busy road... So, look for possible benefits to your specific location, too.
0 votes
David Cooper, Agent, Los Angeles, CA
Fri May 27, 2011
You are comparing your house to "400 houses in our neighborhood, which have done well in the last 6 years".
This is 2011. I seriously doubt that houses in the last year have "done well". Before I would hire a listing agent, I would have searched for an agent that has marketed and sold a house with a noise problem in your area.
Experience of the agent familiar with this situation would give you the correct marketing plan.

David Cooper. Las Vegas Foreclosure Investor in Bank Owned REOs. Save 20%. for free list
email: davidcooper@lasvegaswinner.org or call +1-7024997037
0 votes
Tim Page, , 99037
Fri May 27, 2011
Have your broker compare homes with similar freeway locations. Check your price and see if your "in the ball park." If you're not, your buyers are selecting homes that offer a better location for a better price. Many homes that I appraise that are located next to freeways and such will be much nicer than the other homes. So the buyers are willing to buy a home that is fixed up and much nicer quality than the others in trade for the location. In either case, if you put money into your home just to sell it, it will cost you and if you decrease your price, it will cost you. It's a tough choice, but the market is telling you something.
0 votes
Keenan Drisc…, Agent, Portland, OR
Fri May 27, 2011
Are you in the top 3 price wise in the neighborhood for similar properties?

I think the honest approach about the highway is good. Or at least mentioning it's close to the highway for convenience.

Unfortunately, in this market buyers can and are very picky. Once thing they don't like is highway noise.

Your house has to be such a good value that they can overlook the highway noise.

Good luck!

Keenan Driscoll
Broker
0 votes
The Stephen…, Agent, Portland, OR
Thu May 26, 2011
Install a fence and plant trees. Block it in every way possible from view. It won't dampen the noise much, but it will take it off the mind of the buyer.
0 votes
chris hentho…, Agent, North Fort Myers, FL
Thu May 26, 2011
Hi Sk,

May I see your home through the virtual tour? ...Without seeing the home first how could I offer any suggestions.
0 votes
Marge Bare, Agent, Portland, OR
Thu May 26, 2011
Sk, another idea is to visit other homes in your neighborhood in your price range so you can see the competition. Put yourself in the mind of a buyer (not as a seller), and see it as they would. I'll bet you'll learn some things about why other homes are being selected over yours, and be able to make a more informed decision on a price reduction. I'm sure your Realtor would be happy to show you if you ask, or visit some open houses.
0 votes
Marge Bare, Agent, Portland, OR
Thu May 26, 2011
Price will solve all problems! but you're right, I don't think you should drop it quite yet. There are so many choices today so you have lots more competition and it takes longer to sell. Changes in advertising will not do the trick, but I love Deb Counts Tabor's suggestion about the fountain, so try that. And the sun just came out leading to what we're all starting to feel is a much better market. So hang in there, you're in a very popular zip code and you've obviously had somewhat interested buyers. Offering incentives that other homes in your price range don't have, such as offering a contribution to the buyer's closing costs, sometimes helps. If it doesn't sell by July, then you might need to look at a reduction, or offering the same dollar figure in some kind of incentive.
Good luck!
Web Reference:  http://www.betterhomesnw.com
0 votes
Janeese Jack…, Agent, Portland, OR
Thu May 26, 2011
Sk: location and all that it involves is always an issue. There are really 3 factors that affect the sale of a home.
1) location: which is already determined, so there's not much you can do about that.
2) condition: I'm assuming you have cleaned, staged and are in
Web Reference:  http://fabulousportland.com
0 votes
Mel Lowery F…, Agent, Salem, OR
Thu May 26, 2011
Here's a creative thought!!! If you have enough equity in your home to hold back 10 to 20% you can hold back a seller 2nd with a balloon payment due in 5 years amortized over 30 years @ 7% or more interest going into your pocket on a monthly basis as income. Now there are some factors that go with this type of creative financing like will the buyer qualify for both payments! The Risk! If you hold back a Seller 2nd and the buyer after 4 years of making the mortgage payments starts defaulting on his first mortgage and the Bank starts foreclosing on the home you have the option to buy the home back at what is owed on the first. Now, if you don't have the funds or credit to buy your home back this puts you in a bad position because you will receive no money if the property is foreclosed on. Let’s say your home is worth $200,000. A potential buyer would only
need to receive a loan for $160,000 and you as a seller will hold a seller 2nd of $40,000 drawn out over 30 years at a 7 to 10% rate with a balloon payment in 5 years. This means the buyer will refinance in 5 years and pay the rest of the money owed on the property and the bonus is you received 7 to 10% money in your pocket on a monthly basis for holding the loan.

Everything stated above is only a thought of creative financing options and I highly recommend consulting with a Real Estate Attorney
0 votes
Windermere H…, , Portland, OR
Thu May 26, 2011
Lower the price until it sells. There is a buyer for any property even those that back up to a freeway. There is one rule in real estate that if something doesn't sell then lower the price until it does. I am part of a team that handles foreclosures and we see that when a home price is slashed it will fly off the market usually with multiple offers. The reason the neighborhood noise was not a factor in the past is that it was a sellers market and good houses were hard to come by. Now with it being a strong buyers market in most locations, buyers have many homes to pick from and can be picky. Please consider a large price reduction if you want to sell quickly.
0 votes
David Burnham, , Washington, DC
Thu May 26, 2011
Noise is an issue now because buyers have become much more selective in this market. Unless you can figure out a way to close the road down while your agent holds an open house, you will need to adjust your price.
0 votes
Lana Lavenba…, Agent, Grants Pass, OR
Thu May 26, 2011
I am sorry to say - but the real estate saying used to be loation location location - while that is still true - more so than that is price price price. Price is the only cure all. More advertising wont help - I am sure it is all over. It is tough when buyers have so many choices. I beleive the plan is to do a great visual tour - put it on all the websites and price it to sell!
0 votes
Paul Johnston, Agent, Lake Oswego, OR
Thu May 26, 2011
There isn't a think you can do about the noise, so make sure the house shows well and the price is right. The longer it sits on the market, the worse things will get, and pricing is going to be what makes the most difference. I'm sorry to tell you this! I don't think advertising that the house is in a noisy place will help at all.
0 votes
HLR, , Oregon
Thu May 26, 2011
Right now, everything is an factor, and a noise factor will make it a problem, sorry. All you can do is lower the price or wait for a better market conditions. There just are too many choices for folks, so do one or the other and plant some kind of hedge to help block the noise from the hiway and the home. Remember that location is everything, and in this market, is even more so.

Best to you.

HLR
0 votes
Jewel Stockli, Agent, Sandy, OR
Thu May 26, 2011
Sounds like a price adjustment maybe in order. There is a buyer for every home. The price will drive them home. When you purchase your next home, consider LOCATION, LOCATION, Location..
0 votes
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