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Published: Sunday, 3/30/2003

Gracious home, traffic view

BY MARY-BETH McLAUGHLIN
BLADE REAL ESTATE WRITER
Traffic zips past a house offered for sale on South Wheeling Street in the suburb of Oregon, east of Toledo. Traffic zips past a house offered for sale on South Wheeling Street in the suburb of Oregon, east of Toledo.
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With a listing of a Toledo home in the Sylvania school district, real-estate agent Todd Richard took a lot of phone calls and gave a lot of tours.

“I would say half of the callers said they've always loved that home. It's a home that people pass daily, or at least weekly,” said the agent with Loss Realty Group in Toledo.

Despite such exposure, it took nine months to find a buyer, in part because the house it is on Central Avenue, one of the busiest streets in the Toledo area.

“I would say probably [about] a quarter of the people who went through the home ended up saying `We don't want to live on a busy street,'” Mr. Richard said. “Others already live on busy streets and knew they can get a little more house for a better price.”

A check with real estate appraisers and the Lucas County auditor's office found that a home on a busy street is valued considerably -typically 10 to 25 percent - less than a similar home on a quieter street nearby.

Jerry German, director of the real estate division of the auditor's office, said testing shows houses on busy streets have lower selling prices because they are considered less attractive to people with young children, who might be concerned about the children running into the street; the noise and car pollution from the street; and the inconvenience and possible safety problems of backing out of the driveway.

His office deducts 10 percent from the value of a home if it is on a main thoroughfare, an additional 5 percent if the house is near a railroad or an expressway, and as much as 15 percent more if it is next to a commercial or industrial property, Mr. German said.

“It's very definitely a factor in our model, just like a home that's on a private road or a dead-end road gets plussed up a bit,” he said.

Robert Porter, an appraiser with Porter & Associates, Inc., in Toledo, said the street can affect the house value, but he had no set percentage deduction.

A look at three years of sales on busy Heatherdowns Boulevard in south Toledo showed an average price of $125,000, while houses in the nearby Country Club Estates subdivision sold for $30,000 higher on average. The average house size on both streets was about 1,900 square feet.

In the Toledo suburb of Oregon, houses on the major thoroughfare of Wheeling Street have sold for $94,000 on average, compared with $120,000 on nearby Eastmoreland Drive. The houses on Eastmoreland were about 120 square feet larger, on average, than the 1,300-square-foot average for the Wheeling homes.

An analysis of sales on the section of Secor Road in Toledo that borders Old Orchard and of sales of similar-sized houses on Densmore Drive, one block away, also shows a difference.

The houses on Densmore had an average selling price in the last three years of $147,000, while nearby Secor houses sold during the period for an average of $115,000. The Densmore houses were on the market for an average of 65 days, the ones on Secor for 104 days. The houses all were about 1,700 square feet.

Mr. Richard, of Loss Realty, estimated the house he recently sold for $230,000 probably would have sold for at least $300,000 if it were on a quieter street.

Jennifer Foster, the seller of the home, said she's “content” with the price and extols the location of her home.

“I'm not moving because of the busy street,” she said. “I loved living there because you're in the middle of everything and you can walk to Wildwood Park. You can't find property like that left in the city.”

Ms. Foster said she fenced the backyard for her pets, but she did not have children and neither does the buyer. Real estate agents said the most likely buyers on busy streets are adults with no children or with grown children.

When houses on busy streets are put up for sale, they should be priced against similar houses, not just nearby homes on residential streets, real estate agents say.

That's what Mike Welch, an agent with Re/Max Preferred Associates in Toledo, did when pricing a home on Talmadge Road in Ottawa Hills. The 3,400-square-foot house, for sale at $289,000, is a ranch with many amenities, including a master suite with a skylight and a vaulted ceiling. The village is attractive to homeowners, so he's hopeful, but said he probably could have priced the house in the low $300,000s if it had been on a side street.

“We've had good steady showing activity and are currently working with prospects,” he said. “By the time people make an appointment to see it, they are aware of where it's at and have eliminated that as an objection.”



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