Back when my husband and I were looking to buy a home, one thing we knew we wanted was a house on a quiet street. Having come from living in New York City, I wanted the opposite of a tiny apartment and hustle and bustle -- I wanted little noise and lots of room to spread out. So when we came across an opportunity to build a new-construction home on a cul-de-sac, we jumped on it.
Now, years later, I can tell you that there are benefits as well as drawbacks to owning property on a cul-de-sac. Here's what you need to know.
What is a cul-de-sac anyway?
If you're not familiar with a cul-de-sac, it's basically a dead-end street with a rounded end to allow cars to easily turn around. The term cul-de-sac literally means "bottom of the sack" in French.
Pros of living in a cul-de-sac
There are several things I really like about being on a cul-de-sac. First, there's less traffic than you'd find on a typical street, since the only reason to enter a cul-de-sac is to visit someone who lives on that block or to turn around. Since ours isn't a through street, it doesn't see a lot of cars. That makes it easier for my children to safely play outside with our neighbors' children and for them to ride bikes outside the house.
Secondly, since cul-de-sacs tend to be small, it's easy to get to know your neighbors. That's been a nice thing for us, especially since it gives my children instant playmates.
Finally, being on a cul-de-sac lends to more privacy and quiet. For someone who works from home, that's important.
Cons of living in a cul-de-sac
On the other hand, there are a few drawbacks of living in a cul-de-sac, the primary of which is that there's less parking than you'd find on a regular street. Usually, this isn't an issue, but if someone on the block is having a party, it can be tricky. That said, since my neighbors and I all know each other, we'll usually offer up our driveways if someone is having an event and parking is too limited.
Another problem with being on a cul-de-sac is that when it snows, our street is generally the last in our town to get plowed. The reason? It's such a tiny street, and it's not a through street, and so it makes sense to focus on more heavily trafficked blocks first. While I get that logic, it doesn't help me if I need to get out in the morning to drive my kids to school and there's still half a foot of snow to barrel over.
Is a cul-de-sac right for you?
Clearly, living in a cul-de-sac is a mixed bag, so think about how much you value privacy and quiet when making your decision. And also, assess your budget for buying a home. Homes on cul-de-sacs can command as much as 20% more than houses on regular streets, so think about whether it's worth paying that premium before putting in an offer.