Experts share the upsides and downsides of owning a home on a corner lot
Let’s say you’ve found your dream home, but its location isn’t what you expected. You might have been looking for something set back from the road or at the end of a cul-de-sac. Instead, you’re contemplating a corner lot property.
“Having a corner lot home has its advantages and challenges,” says Courtney Klosterman, home insights expert at Hippo, a home insurance group. “While bigger is often seen as a luxury these days, do your homework to assess the size of your yard and willingness to invest time and effort into home maintenance tasks.”
Here’s what real estate experts say you should keep in mind when buying a home on a corner lot.
What is a corner lot?
A corner lot is a plot of land at the intersection of two roads.
“A corner lot is one that is on two adjoining streets, typically the streets run in the front and one side of the lot or home,” says Sarah Martin, vice president of sales at Stone Martin Builders.
These homes will have more sidewalks, more yard frontage, and more visibility than neighboring lots. You could find that your corner lots sit in the middle of a neighborhood or at the top of a very busy street. In short, there are a range of locations for corner lots, each with their pros and cons.
But all corner lots sit at intersections, and we’ll explore the factors that make this a good or bad choice depending on your preferences.
Corner Lot Features to Consider
There are definitely pros and cons to owning a corner lot, depending on how you view certain aspects of homeownership. Here’s a quick overview of the most common considerations buyers make when considering these types of properties.
More yard means more yardwork, which can be a con depending on your situation.
“Corner lots tend to have larger yards, which could mean more work to maintain landscaping, lawns, and other debris,” Klosterman says. “If service providers like gardeners aren’t an option for you, be prepared to take on the extra work.”
Of course that means more to mow, but don’t forget the winter months.
“It’s always recommended to consider the year-long weather and storms in the area, and necessary activities to prevent problems, such as plowing snow and ice or protecting the home against flooding or high winds,” Klosterman says.
Given their location, corner lots see a lot more traffic, which can be a problem for some buyers.
“It depends on the neighborhood where the home is located as to how much more traffic that could mean,” Martin says. “In a quiet, residential neighborhood there may not be much traffic impact at all, being on a corner lot.”
But if you know the area has more traffic in general, the corner lot will highlight that.
“The extra traffic could mean more noise, more light from headlights shining into the home, and less privacy,” Martin says.
Dean Sinibaldi, a Realtor with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Main Street Properties, has seen that this increase in traffic also leads to more frequent crashes.
“I have personally witnessed multiple crashes at corner lots. I owned a home adjacent to a corner lot and have seen some fairly bad accidents due to drivers running stop signs of the intersecting streets,” he says.
If you’re unsure about how these factors might affect your home, check with your real estate agent.
“It’s important to talk to a home insurance provider like Hippo about the coverage and costs to insure a corner lot home. Depending on the location of the home, your annual premium for a home on a corner lot may cost more if the home is near a road or intersection,” Klosterman says.
Some buyers might be worried about the implications of higher visibility given a home’s corner location.
“Homes located on corner lots may be perceived as having higher risk for burglaries,” Martin says. “These homes have fewer neighbors surrounding them and are more accessible given access from two streets, but that also provides the homeowner with a bit more privacy.”
Still, you can mitigate those risks if you’re worried.
“Homeowners who have concerns might consider more lighting and security features to help ease their mind,” Martin adds.
In addition to higher visibility to potential burglars, your corner lot will feature prominently in a neighborhood, and curb appeal (or lack thereof) will be more apparent.
“Some Realtors may agree ... corner lots are described as gateways to streets, cul-de-sacs, neighborhoods, and subject to more scrutiny. More often than not, [they’re also] held to a higher standard of appearance by the community HOA or neighborhood associations,” Sinibaldi says.
Of course, you might enjoy the limelight.
“At Stone Martin Builders, we find that those building a home on corner lots seem to like the creativity that the added yard space can offer when it comes to landscaping and gardening,” Martin says.
Additional Features of Corner Lots
Corner lots have a unique layout compared to other types of lots in a particular subdivision, Martin says. That could mean more options for layout and design of the property.
“Often homes on corner lots offer more design options than those that are built on a regular lot,” Martin says. “For example, corner lot homes could be designed with side-entry garages. This makes for great curb appeal, as the front of the home is not obscured by front-entry garages.”
Plus, the larger lot offers more opportunity for outdoor features the buyer can add later.
“The extra land space of a corner lot can also mean more options outside, such as room for a pool and play equipment for kids,” Martin says.
You might also find that your home’s interior is affected by its location.
“One additional pro of a corner lot parcel not touched on yet within this is, corner lots offer more natural light than the other lots because, in some cases, there are fewer neighbors’ homes blocking the sun due to the intersecting streets,” Sinibaldi says.
Resale Value of Corner Lots
Another major question you’ll likely have when buying any home is how it will fare when you go to resell in the future. When it comes to a corner lot, Sinibaldi said you have a good chance of selling easily.
“A corner lot is typically, always preferred in today’s market,” he says. “Corner lots in today’s housing market are typically highly sought after, due to the characteristics and the many benefits these pieces of real estate offer today's buyers.”
In fact, Sinibaldi says he has seen corner lots sell between 50% and 100% faster than other types of lots. He says that’s an interesting turn of events, given that corner lots used to be a lot harder to sell.
“In the ’90s, when developers first started building large-scale, cookie-cutter homes, the developers had a hard time selling corner lot homes. The developers were receiving negative feedback due to more street exposure, noise, less usable yard, and less privacy,” he says.
In order to combat the negative feedback, some developers decided to add a premium to these corner lots of $5,000 to $10,000, Sinibaldi says, which drew attention, and they began to sell.
That said, you’ll still want to decide whether a corner lot is right for you before buying. You shouldn’t simply purchase the home given its location on the street.