21 Reasons Why Corner Lots Are For Suckers

corner lot 2For the six people left in America that are still looking to buy a home, I thought I’d pass on a little advice and save you a serious case of buyer’s remorse.

Don’t be fooled by real estate agents that try to tell you that a corner lot is highly desirable. They’re not.

Oh sure, you’ve got a bigger lot and neighbors on only two sides, but as a former corner lot owner, trust me when I say the cons far outweigh the pros.

In fact, besides often being more expensive to buy, here are 21 additional reasons why corner lots just aren’t worth it:

1. Noise, noise, noise. Double street and sidewalk frontage means double the noise from pedestrian and car traffic. Pull up a chair and crack open a cold one; I’m just gettin’ started.

2. Unconventional configurations. For example, the front yard of a home on a corner lot is usually bigger than the back, and the garage may be located around the corner.

3. Yard — lots of it. Larger lots mean more to mow. It’s even worse when the lawn is big but not so large that it justifies buying a riding mower – which is usually the case.

4. Yard — lots of it (Part II). All things being equal, larger lawns have higher landscape costs.

5. More trash to pick up. Cars stopping at a stop sign are more likely to dump their trash on your big front yard. You’re also liable to get more trash because…

6. Corners make great school bus stop locations. Hey, I have kids too. I’m just sayin.’

7. Less privacy. Yes, you have one less neighbor, but in exchange for that you get foot traffic on two sides of the house instead of only one. Trust me, if you’re worried about privacy you’d be better off with the extra neighbor. Speaking of foot traffic…

8. Kids and other pedestrians like to use corner lawns as a shortcut. When given the choice, most people will save 16 seconds of their life by cutting across the front lawn of a corner home. But before you get any bright ideas, just remember this…

9. Less privacy (Part II). Many jurisdictions severely restrict privacy fence heights or prohibit them all together for traffic safety. Even if there are no privacy fence restrictions, corner lot owners have to deal with…

10. Higher fence costs. Having one less neighbor to deal with is terrific! Well, unless you need to borrow a cup of sugar. Or you’re trying to get your neighbors to share the cost of a new fence.

11. Double tax assessments. Because corner lots border streets on two sides, you get hit for twice as many sidewalk and street assessments.

12. Double set-back requirements. Owners of corner lots may be subject to city or other jurisdictional easements or set-back requirements on two sides of their property, rather than just one.

13. More dog poo. Although I haven’t taken the time to do a definitive scientific study, I’m quite certain the probability of an off-leash neighborhood dog pooping on a corner-lot front lawn is 100 percent. Prove me wrong.

14. Greater risk of a car crashing into your house. Okay, I admit it; the probability of this happening is about as likely as Christina Aguilera hiring Taylor Swift as a vocal coach, but it’s hard to argue that it ain’t true.

15. Bigger snow jobs. For those of you who live in colder climes, more sidewalk means more snow to shovel.

16. Less privacy (Part III). Corner lot backyards are exposed to the public. That can be a nuisance if you’re trying to have a private family barbecue — or sunbathe in the nude. (Not that I do that, but to each his own, right?)

17. More light pollution. Increased street lighting and headlights from cars turning corners can be a nuisance.

18. Yard — lots of it (Part III). Folks on corner lots have more leaves to rake — especially those who live downwind from adjacent parks.

19. More vulnerable to burglary. Because there are fewer neighbors surrounding the home and more escape routes – courtesy of streets on two sides – homes on corner lots are bigger burglary targets.

20. More pressure from neighbors and associations. Because corner homes are often considered gateways to streets or cul de sacs and neighborhoods, the appearance of these homes are often held to a higher standard by the community and neighborhood associations.

21. They are harder to sell. Most realtors will tell you that corner lots are tougher to sell. Gee, I wonder why.

Photo Credit: Lady DragonflyCC

Comments

  1. 1

    says

    Len, I agree. I bought 3 lots in a subdivision and got the developer to move the road….

    Now I am “the cul-de-sac” Much more privacy. And I left my lot 80% wooded.

    Now guests love being in the “woods”, even though we are in the city limits.

    • 2

      Rick says

      I am like Dr Dean, Left the trees along the long side of the lots and also built a fence, on 3 sides. The fence works well with the trees to still the noise and the fence keeps the dogs out and mine in. As far as more lawn… Think deck. The more low level deck you have the less grass you have to cut. As for under the trees the grass does not grow well, so this is where we set up an out door fire pit and can use it even in the winters. Did’nt have to move the street. Sure would like to buy the neighbours house and tear it down and have more around deck.

  2. 3

    Sal says

    Owned a corner lot once. I was thankful when I finally sold it. I think the car traffic from the two streets bordering my home was probably the biggest annoyance. Not just engine noise, but big thumping bass from people with giant sound systems in their cars! It would shake my house when they stopped at the corner stop sign. I also winced every time I head somebody screech their tires at that stop sign. Never again.

  3. 4

    says

    I have never wanted a corner house, you just seem so exposed. Plus, all that snow to shovel – blech. I really can’t think of any advantage to buying a corner house. I wonder if the price is lower?

    I live on a cul de sac like Dr. Dean, and I don’t know if I could go back to living on a regular street. People have to drive slow because of the turn around, and we barely get any traffic.

    Also, I am sure that realtors never tell prospective homeowners that corner houses are miserable to sell.

  4. 5

    says

    I always thought corner lots were terrific, because of all the land! Well, now I know better. I didn’t know about the double tax assessment. Good thing to keep in mind in the future. :)

      • 7

        Len Penzo says

        Just because you haven’t been assessed twice, it doesn’t mean it’s not so. It depends on where you live.

        • 8

          Denise says

          I want to know where you get this information. I have lived on corner lots most of my life. I have not had any problems that you talk about. You have an OPINION, I love being on the corner, never had burglary problems, in fact, you have more people that can see your house and can call the police if they see something going on. Could you do me the favor and provide solid proof of these double tax assessments? Also, you can get noise pollution no matter where you live, and I do think that you don’t like to do any kind of yard work, you probably live an apartment, not a house, which, no matter where you live, you have yard work, gardening, property upkeep ( including structure upkeep).

          • 9

            Len Penzo says

            If you read the article, Denise, I am a former corner lot owner. In fact, I lived on a corner for seven years.

            If you enjoy your corner lot, bully for you. But since you’ve made a couple of baseless assertions about me, I’d like to give my own impression about you: I suspect you’re a corner lot owner who is suffering from a severe case of buyer’s remorse but doesn’t want to admit it.

            Come on, Denise … fess up! It’s okay.

  5. 12

    says

    Hey, you forgot the one positive, lot’s of parking. But then again, that just means twice as many neighbors will park their clunkers in front of your house.

    I live one house away from the corner and I’m thankful I don’t live next door. Both of my neighbors who live on the corners planted huge hedges around their houses for privacy and security. Luckily, we live downtown and don’t have any associations to deal with.

  6. 13

    says

    We actually love our corner lot. We live in a quiet neighborhood here in SoCal (yes, one of the few left,) and since we’re in a hilly location we’re the only flat lot around. The city no longer allows property owners to ‘flatten’ their lots, but you have to let the natural hillside stay a hillside, so we’re actually lucky to have it. The street next to us dead-ends into 2 small cul-de-sacs and we have a horse trail that runs behind our property. The only disturbing noise is when a neighbor has a loud party, and that can happen anywhere.

    That said, I see your point.

  7. 14

    says

    I bought a corner lot home before (don’t live there now), and liked how it was positioned on the street, with nice curb appeal.

    However, I soon discovered that it was not as convenient having a smaller backyard than front. More important, however, is the extra yard work and snow shoveling.

    Corner houses are just more work. Better to have a manageably-sized interior lot, at least in my view. But to each their own!

  8. 15

    BeantownB says

    What about corner lots where both streets are quiet? There’s one for sale in my area. The price is getting so low that it’s becoming attractive. Inside is pretty nice! Exterior is nice as well. Move in condition. It’s probably not selling because…well…besides being a corner lot, the pricing of all housing in my area is down and theres a ton of inventory on the market.

    However I agree about the bigger front yard than the back and I aslo do not care too much for it. However the back yard is decent. The back yard also has a deck, but I feel as though we are visible to all the surrounding neighbors (and they are visible to us). Still though, besides all that, I don’t think this particular corner lot is all that bad.

  9. 16

    says

    I spent most of my childhood in a house on a corner, and most of this list is totally accurate. We were out in the country so we didn’t have sidewalks or a lot of traffic, but we definitely had little privacy and a lot of useless land. It looked impressive having the house on top of the hill, but it was dangerous to mow or to walk down the front yard in the winter. Since the lot was undeveloped for a while (wonder why?) the dogs were all used to using the front lawn as a toilet too. We actually fired a realtor for repeatedly showing us corner lot houses when we specifically said not to.

  10. 17

    says

    @Dr. Dean: You got the developer to move the road!? Now that is some real pull!
    @Sal: I was stuck on a corner for seven long miserable years. I know what you’re talking about when you mention the cars with the throbbing woofers.
    @Everyday: I live safely inside a small quiet cul de sac now too. The only traffic comes from one of my eight neighbors. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. :-)
    @Little House: More land does not always equal better, IMO! (Although that is how my real estate agent sold it to me when I was younger a bit more naive.)
    @Bret: More parking is a double-edged sword. Like you said, you’re more likely to get clunkers or strange cars parked in front of your house at times.
    @Headless: If I didn’t know any better, it sounds like we could be neighbors!
    @Squirrelers: I’m with you. If I had to live in a corner house, I would insist that it be a home that was set on an angle, with the front door pointed directly at the corner. I think that would give me maximum privacy.
    @Beantown: My mother-in-law lives on a corner lot bordering two quiet streets. That negates 90% of the noise problem (she still gets the cars with the booming bass boxes). But all the other problems are still there. Her house was even hit by a burglar who stole quite a bit of valuable stuff that was never recovered.
    @Jennifer: I wish I had fired my realtor before he sold me my first home on a corner lot. :-(

    • 18

      says

      YO, Buying three lots made it worth their while. :) This was way before the housing boom.

      I suspect that will be the case again over the next few years.

  11. 23

    Jenna says

    As one of those six Americans looking to buy a home, I couldn’t agree with you more. The noise is enough to make one run away. Thanks for all the other things to consider!

  12. 24

    Naomi says

    Funny…I currently own a house on a corner lot, purely by accident. I had no opinion of corner lots before I bought this house. After living here for several years, I have decided that I will only buy another house if it is a corner lot! I absolutely love it. The biggest reason – light. I get incredible natural light inside my house. I go to my friends houses, and it doesn’t matter if it the house faces north, south, east, or west…it is always dark and dreary compared with mine. In the Pacific Northwest, it makes a HUGE difference.

  13. 25

    sewingirl says

    My SIL bought two lots, the corner one, and the one next to it. She built on the next lot, and left the corner lot empty. That worked out great. Its like a buffer to all of the noise and traffic. Yup, she has to mow it, and hires the local kid to run a snowblower down the sidewalks when necessary, but its like having a park right next door. And if it ever gets too annoying, she can just sell the lot!

  14. 26

    says

    As a corner-lot house owner, I totally agree about the snow shoveling! We have more than twice as much sidewalk to shovel than our neighbors (which I remind him of often and sometimes, out of sympathy, he will use his snowblower to help dig us out!).

    That being said, I agree with Naomi’s point about the light– I am solar powered!

  15. 27

    says

    @Joe: I’m happy I could save you a lot of heartache!
    @Jenna: If you give me 30 minutes I bet I could come up with a few more. :-)
    @Naomi: Where were you when I was trying to sell my house 14 years ago? ;-)
    @sewingirl: If you’re going to buy a corner lot, I guess that’s the way to do it. (You and Dr. Dean haven’t been trading notes, have you?)
    @Kim: Don’t leave me hangin’! So what is your verdict? If you had to choose, pro or con? :-)

  16. 28

    says

    Our house is on the corner of not two, but THREE streets. There’s only sidewalk on one side though. Two if you count the side the HOA takes care of.

    #20 has been one of the biggest sources of stress for us. So many certified letters from the HOA about our lawn. UGH.

    And yes, we get more dog poo. Dang dog owners.

    • 29

      Debbie says

      We had our pick of lots in NC and we CHOSE the corner lot for many reasons. We have a decent size back and front yard, and it’s on a graduated hill so a car won’t be driving into our house. We have green space/park across the street and neighbor on one side set back so we have a lot of privacy. We also put in leland bushes along the side of our street-facing yard and that gives us complete privacy. We actually have one of the prime lots in the neighborhood and love it! Would not have built our house on any other lot in this subdivision. I do agree with the noise factor though as far as the bedroom is concerned. Kids on the street side facing the side of our house play basketball all day long and I’m ready to strangle the monsters! But at least they don’t start until after we’re up for the day and it doesn’t interfere with anything else since the rest of our living space is on the other side of the house. There are pros and cons to a corner lot (not extra tax assessment here), but we’re happy with the pros.

  17. 30

    says

    Our house is a corner lot. A lot of what you say is true but it also depends on the neighborhood as well. Our block is small, with only a handful of houses on it. We don’t really have issues with traffic or dogs really.

    And yes, there is more lawn but for us that means we get a nice little place for the kids to run around on which we wouldn’t have had if we weren’t on a corner.

    I’m not looking forward to snow though, I will say that.

    I think for us, coming from NYC, having a little extra space from the corner is well worth the extra work.

  18. 31

    says

    We lived on a corner lot for 2 years and it was horrible! Teenagers constantly cut through our yard to get to their friends house across the street faster. Little kids used it as their personal park (not sure where the parents were)

    All the foot traffic on it, as well as dogs destroying it, kept the grass from growing very much at all. It turned into a dull brown dust bowl by August. Not pretty.

    However, I would own a corner lot again- if I owned an additional 10 acres next to it, out in the country. I crave privacy, and that’s probably the only way to get it :)

  19. 32

    says

    I can’t believe I disagree with you on such a benign topic! Our last home was on the corner and we loved it! It was worth the extra exposure not to have a neighbor on that side.

    Being in Southern California, no one walks so no extra foot traffic (haha!). Our lot really wasn’t that much bigger than the rest so not too much extra yard work.

  20. 33

    says

    I’ve never liked corner lots! For most of the reasons you identified above and some that I didn’t consider like “dog poo”, I’ll never have have one!!

    The parents of my best friend growing up had a corner lot with lots of yard (5 acres). At night when other teens would be out drinking, sometimes they would cut the corner to sharply on my friends corner and turf the yard. My friend has a ditch in his yard, and once in winter teen even got their cars stuck in it.

    No corner lots for me, thank you very much!

  21. 34

    says

    @Nicole: You poor thing. You sound like you need a hug.
    @Craig: Give it time, my man! Give it time. Your thinking will come around eventually. ;-)
    @Lora: I will admit, as population density decreasses, many of the more annoying issues I list also disappear.
    @Kay Lynn: No doubt, there is a group of folks who really do appreciate corner lots. I know the real estate agent that sold me my corner lot house was, apparently, a HUGE fan of them. Dang real estate agents.
    @MoneyReasons: Amen, brotha! Readers: you can’t say you haven’t been warned! :-)

  22. 35

    Deedee says

    After living for fifteen years in the country, over a mile away from any neighbors, we were really excited to move “to town”. We absolutely adore our home on a corner lot. The only item I agree with you on (for OUR situation) is #15 – extra snow shoveling. We live in a very quiet area up in the hills, and our lot actually is lower than street level (a bridge from the sidewalk to the front door) so nobody cuts through our lot. Except the deer. Yeah, we get a bit of deer poop in the yard. but no more than anyone else in the neighborhood. Our backyard is WAY bigger than the front yard. We have a lot of privacy from tons and tons of pine trees surrounding our home. As well as fencing. And it is a very quiet neighborhood (did I already say that?) with very little traffic. And the one drawback – snow shoveling – can you believe that many times some of our neighbors come and help us with the side while we are doing the front. So, in many situations perhaps corner homes can be less than ideal, but no problems here with ours. I think people should consider corner lots on a case-by-case basis and not generalize. I am more than a little bit offended that you are calling me a sucker. I am living in my dream house. And I would one hundred times rather live on my corner lot than in some suburban cookie cutter neighborhood in the middle of the block.

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