Should You Buy Property On A Main Road?
When I was 9, my family moved to Redcliffe on Brisbane’s north because dad had landed a job transfer. Some big wig higher up in the firm had decided that his position in the power plant was no longer needed and when push came to shove, dad had no other choice but to hustle for a position in Brisbane.
That he did, hence the move south.
Ironically, this move probably saved me from a life of mediocrity growing up in the small-sighted industrial city of Gladstone in Queensland’s north but as fate had it, I would somehow find myself back there some 15 years later.
GREAT BUSINESS DECISION. SHITTY LIFESTYLE MOVE.
(apologies to anyone living in Gladstone right now)
BUT despite my decision to give Gladstone another shot at playing home, and the bad wrap I seem to give it, I can’t knock it too much. After all, there were many lessons learned during my 5 year stint and it was those 5 years that probably set me up for the greener pastures I’m seeing now.
With that said, the move to Brisbane (or Redcliffe to be precise) was an exciting time for nine year old me.
New friends, a new school and a fresh start in a place I knew to be bigger and better than humble old Happy Rock.
The trouble was, the house that me, mum and dad had fallen in love with backed onto a busy road.
HOW BAD COULD IT BE?
THIS PLACE HAD A POOL SO THAT WOULD FAR OUTWEIGH THE FACT WE WOULD WAKE TO THE SOUNDS OF TRAFFIC EVERY MORNING... OR SO I THOUGHT.
But as time would tell, when mum and dad went to sell this place a few years later, they were shocked to realise that the deal breaker for many of the prospective buyers was the busy road frontage (or “backage”).
BUYERS SIMPLY DIDN'T WANT TO LIVE DIRECTLY ON THE MAIN DRAG.
This was one of my very first real estate lessons. Note to self. Wendy, when you buy your own home one day, make sure it's not on a main road.
And ever since, I’ve always stuck by this policy, and even now many lifetimes later as a professional, independent Brisbane Buyer’s Agent, I’m the first to knock a potential property off my hit list if it’s on, or anywhere near a busy road.
1. BECAUSE RE-SALE SUCKS.
I knew this from my parent's experience, plus I know heaps of selling agents who are stuck with stale listings on main roads because no one wants to put their hand up (or pull their wallet out) and buy.
2. PEOPLE PREFER QUIETER STREETS.
Occupiers, (whether they are owners OR tenants) much prefer to be in quiet streets, especially cul-de-sacs where they know the kids can play without the risk of being skittled by oncoming traffic.
3. ACCESS IS A NIGHTMARE.
Ever tried backing out of someone's driveway who lives on a main road? It's like battling traffic before you’re even IN traffic. I don't know about you, but I'd much prefer to hop in my car, turn the ignition and happily reverse knowing I'm not going to be hit with a hundred cars zooming past, trying to edge my way out.
THESE THREE REASONS TYPICALLY LEAD TO TWO IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS FOR INVESTORS -CAPITAL GROWTH POTENTIAL AND RENTABILITY.
Think about it.
If your property is less desirable than the one in the adjacent street that is picturesquely quiet, it’s bound to have an effect on growth, simply through demand factors for one.
It's also bound to have an affect on the rental because I guarantee that most tenants will choose the quieter option if it’s available.
And if not’s available now, they’ll live in your property for a bit, and then move out when a better located one comes up.
You'll pay another let fee to the managing agent, plus have to cover any downtime the property remains vacant and then there’s the moving wear and tear on the property. Costs and more costs.
Properties located on main roads are notorious for having higher turnover in tenancies simply because people get sick of the noise or the inconvenience and decide to move somewhere quieter and more liveable.
SO WITH THAT SAID, TREAT A MAIN ROAD LIKE A TRAIN LINE.
It's best if you can avoid it altogether because there’s plenty of great properties out there that AREN’T trapped in traffic.
For me and my investors, main roads are deal breakers.
We just keep looking for a better deal.