Profile picture for Optimus012

Buying a house near a freeway

I'm buying a property that is close to a freeway. It's about 250ft away from the high wall of the freeway, but on a cul de sac and 2 other houses separate mine from the high wall. I've been there a few times, and to me I didn't hear noise that bothered me. While inside the house I heard no freeway noise.

However, I just read up on the internet how it could be an issue healthwise with the air quality. I didn't even think how this might be an issue. The previous owners lived there for 30+ years and raised a family there with no problems so my thinking was, it should be ok. My question is, healthwise, is this a bad move to buy it?

Is it as bad as buying a house near or on an oil field? I was about to buy a new house in a community built on an oil field until I learned about the health effects of that. I'm thinking I might just install some hepa air filters in the house just in case, if I get it.
  • August 25 2012 - US
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Answers (6)

Best Answer

Profile picture for David Rudd
We do not have anything if we do not have our health.  It is important to speak with a physician, consult your local air quality rating information, and consult info from the EPA.  Much of the information can be found on their website at www.epa.gov.

With that said, the home suffers from something referred to as "External Obsolescence".  This attribute (the freeway) is not curable, meaning, it is going to negatively impact the property for a very long time (forever).  In my experience, I have witnessed below average appreciation rates on these type of properties over time.

Based on the little information you have provided and the little I know about your personal circumstances, housing needs and financial situation it is difficult to provide definitive advice.  However, all things being equal, if you have another home option that is similar quality, condition and in a better location...... DO NOT purchase the "freeway" home.

If it is affordable, spend the extra 1 - 15% on an alternate home.  With interest rates so low and home values typically lower than they were 5 years ago, get something that is "perfect".  

Make sure to calculate the increased cost of ownership over time due to HEPA air filters.  Also consider that when you go to sell it is likely you will be in a situation with prospective buyers asking the same question you are right now.
  • August 25 2012
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Profile picture for lolasf
I live near a freeway in a major city, and it's not a big deal. If you want quiet, don't live in a city.  We have no health issues, no problems sleeping, and quite frankly, living near the freeway is more of a blessing rather than a curse for many reasons...shorter commuting, more home for the $$, privacy, etc.  Besides, who really wants to sit inside their home in complete silence, unless you're sleeping?  Most people are conversing, watching tv or listening to music so unless you're looking for a reason to complain,  you don't even notice it.  Should one divorce their husband because he snores, or complain about loud crickets in a forest?  No.  As I am not going to complain about living in a great neighborhood, in a great city, that happens to be close to the freeway? No.  I  choose to be grateful and happy. 
  • March 11
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Profile picture for Optimus012
Thanks for your responses. I ended up backing out of the transaction after already spending $900 on the appraisal and home inspection. In the end, I didn't feel comfortable living by a freeway.
  • August 27 2012
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
There is no home that is free of all risks.   Even if you do the best you can away from factories, freeways, oil wells etc, your upwind neighbor may decide that heating with wood all winter long is a good thing to do, or spraying all the spiders and weeds with toxic chemicals is important.  

Evaluate the risks to the best of your ability, and then make a choice with a balance that makes you comfortable.   If you can't find anything  within your comfort zones for risks, consider renting longer while you schedule your retirement to a cloudy (sunshine causes cancer) beach on the Pacific - ah oh, radiation from Fukishima! 

  • August 25 2012
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Profile picture for Ofe Polack
We are living a world filled with health issues triggered by legal settlements.  If it is not radon, it's lead, otherwise proximity to power lines, now closeness to freeways.....in th near future it will be something related to plastic vinyl, just wait and see.  You may want to check with you physician to see what he/she has to say. 
  • August 25 2012
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Thanks for posting your question on Zillow!

Sounds like a question for a health professional.   
  • August 25 2012
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