What if your investment property search takes you down a quiet road to a cul de sac house?
You might wonder, what is a cul de sac? In this article, we will explore these properties and determine whether or not they are a viable option for real estate investors.
What is a Cul de Sac House?
In the most basic sense, it’s a dead-end street with a rounded end (hence its French name, which means “bottom of a bag.)”
While dead-end roads have existed for as long as there have been roads, they became an intentional feature of residential planning during the height of Athenian and Roman civilizations as a way of self-defense against foreign invaders unfamiliar with the terrain.
Today, cul de sac homes are a haven for those seeking peace and seclusion, as well as a huge draw for families or anyone who dislikes having a lot of traffic pass by their front door.
Many people prefer to buy or rent a house on a cul-de-sac rather than a house on a busy street. Some people are even willing to spend substantially more for a home on a dead-end street than they would for a comparable home on a busier route.
A cul de sac house comes with many benefits, though there are some drawbacks too. While some homeowners and renters may appreciate the attributes of a cul de sac, others may find them irritating.
Here’s what cul de sacs have to offer, as well as how much they’ll set you back as an investor.
The Advantages of Living in a Cul de Sac House
Cul de sacs were given their stamp of approval by the US Federal House Administration in 1936, prompting developers to add them in housing complexes across suburban America. Evidence of the advantages of cul de sacs has continued to accumulate, both in terms of traffic safety and quality of life.
Cul de sacs were found to discourage crime in a study by Duke University. The city of Durham, North Carolina, for example, was the focus of the study. It found that 74 of the 89 crimes committed in 2012 were on houses located on two-way streets—nearly five times as often as in cul de sac communities.
A cul de sac house experiences less traffic than a house on a conventional street because there is only one way in and out. Residents of these homes do not have to deal with the noise of traffic or the safety hazard. This feature of a cul de house is particularly important to tenants or buyers who have pets and children.
A cul de sac is a natural place for children to gather and play because it has much less traffic than other neighborhoods. If you have children and want them to be involved and develop friends in their community, this can be a fantastic option.
Real estate investors should keep this in mind when considering the type of tenants they’d like to have. If you’re interested in renting to families, a cul de sac house is an excellent choice for a rental property.
Cul de sacs are generally arranged in a semi-circle. Neighbors may see one other daily, get to know one another, and keep a watch on each other’s homes and children. This can build a strong sense of community. For many people, a cul de sac house provides the perfect balance between privacy and socialization.
Disadvantages of Cul de Sac Living
While for some potential home buyers and renters a cul de sac house might be a dream, that’s not always the case. Cul de sacs also have their disadvantages. Many of those disadvantages include the feature listed above but from a different perspective.
Parking can get limited in a few situations, especially if the homes don’t have standard cul de sac driveways. There’s not much street parking, and driveways aren’t usually very long or wide. Many families begin with two automobiles and over time, add one or two teenage drivers. With several automobiles per family, shifting cars around with each departure is a pain.
In addition, guests are often unaware of the unofficial parking arrangements and can obstruct traffic flow when visiting culdesac homes. This is especially an issue when there are a large number of invited guests. If the invitees have taken up all of the available parking, residents may have to park further up the street. Visitors from your neighbors may park in front of your property, blocking your walkway.
When multiple people depart for work at the same time in the morning, traffic might become a problem. Delivery trucks, garbage trucks, and maintenance vehicles may have difficulty moving, causing traffic congestion. If a storm brings down tree limbs or electricity wires and the road becomes blocked, tenants may be trapped until help arrives.
Cul de sac houses may have trouble getting municipal services like garbage pickup, snow removal, and, more crucially, ambulance and fire services. Because of the trucks’ sheer size, they are inaccessible and impossible to turn around. Because there isn’t a roadway, the small street isn’t a priority. Sometimes the trucks can’t fit due to plowed snowbanks or vehicle blocking. Forgotten and disregarded service can be an issue that comes back to the landlord when tenants complain.
Personal Property Damage
If you choose to invest in a cul de sac house, you must accept that children do not respect property lines. The constant excitement and foot activity creates the ideal environment for all kinds of mishaps, from baseballs through windows to more serious scenarios when drivers are unable to spot children running in between automobiles.
Baseballs, footballs, and hockey pucks could fly through the air and hit cars, mailboxes, or houses when children play outside on a frequent basis in a very limited area. If no one is ready to assume responsibility, you may discover damage to your property and experience stress or confrontation with your neighbors.
Tomorrow’s Cities, Tomorrow’s Suburbs is a book by William Lucy and David Phillips dedicated to the fallacy of cul-de-sac safety and benefits. They spoke with NPR about their findings, which are in stark contrast to what most parents believe about the safety of the small circle in front of their house:
According to their book, people who look at safety statistics these days find those images bleakly comical. Cul de sac neighborhoods, for example, have some of the greatest incidences of traffic accidents involving young children.
Accidents and damage are real concerns when considering investing in a cul de sac house. Investors should weigh the pros and cons and make a choice based on their ideal tenant, neighborhood statistics, and the cash reserves available to deal with property damage. Investors should also consider the higher than average home price and determine whether local rents justify the expense.
What Are The Prices of Cul de Sac Homes?
According to one survey, buyers are willing to spend up to 20% extra for a cul de sac house, indicating that purchasers value the peace and quiet. While the area as a whole is more important, a culdesac house could likely fetch a higher selling price than one on a busy street, according to Joanne DeLuca, a Realtor® with BHHS NE Properties in Fairfield, CT. They can also command higher rents because they are typically located in nicer neighborhoods.
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