When you buy a house…

…know the quirks of the area.

I will never forget the diatribe of a woman I worked with years ago. We were in a training (no idea what the training was actually for) and we were debating pros and cons of putting in a light rail system in Phoenix.

Her argument was that they should spend the money on freeways instead! Her daughter bought a house in Queen Creek, and there are no freeways out there!

For those not familiar with the area, Queen Creek is south and east of Phoenix and the northwest corner of town is about five or seven miles from the nearest freeway.

But this is the thing: there were no freeways when she bought the house. If she wanted or needed to have easy freeway access, Queen Creek wasn’t a good place to buy a house.

The Tall Daddy and I looked at a house years ago where the back yard backed up to the track at a local high school.

It doesn’t matter how spectacularly amazing that house is — it’s a no. High schools are noisy (football, track, soccer, marching band, who knows what else all on that field) and traffic is terrible around starting and ending times of both the school day and large events.

The problem with these sorts of considerations is that you have to know an awful lot of stuff. Realtors are generally not helpful unless they really know an area well and will volunteer information.

Do they know that when the wind blows the right way, you’re going to smell the dairy farm that you didn’t even know was four miles away?

That said, a lot of it is on you. Access to freeways and public transportation. Proximity to schools (for better or worse), parks, your preferred retail, and whatever else you want to be near or not near.

I read a newspaper article the other day: ADOT is widening a six-mile length of freeway near here. Apparently, when the project was proposed, people said no, it’s not a good idea because I can hear the noise from the freeway and this will make it louder.

People. You bought a house next to a freeway. It’s noisy.

(Unless they owned the house before the freeway was built in 2000. That’s a completely different story. I also wonder if going from the current eight lanes to the soon-to-be 10 lanes will make much difference in the noise.)

So. Do your due diligence. Find out as much as you can. It’s a pain, especially if you find a house that you love in a neighborhood with a fatal flaw. But buyer’s remorse doesn’t make it someone else’s fault.


Leave a Comment