House hunting tips for the noise-sensitive
Anyone who has lived in a property with a noise problem understands how disruptive this can be to a peaceful life. It can be very disappointing to discover such a problem after you’ve bought and moved into a new home. So, check our guide first to see how you can avoid this mistake.
Common causes of noise
1. Train lines and bus routes
Check how closely these pass by the property and whether this is close enough to cause a noise issue. The frequency of the service might make a difference, and how late into the night they run. You should also check the transport website for your city or area to find out if there are any plans to add new routes that will pass the property.
2. Supermarkets and high street shops
These will receive deliveries from heavy goods vehicles, potentially late at night or early in the morning. Identify where these deliveries will be made, as it can be quite far from the store entrance.
3. Pubs and restaurants
People arriving, leaving, and waiting outside pubs and restaurants can be surprisingly noisy. You should also check to see if they may be playing live music and until what time they are open.
In the early mornings, over lunchtime, and in the mid-afternoon, there is often a lot of noise as children arrive, play, and leave. If you’ll be home at these times, you may not want to live nearby.
You can’t always tell if your neighbours will be noisy, but certain properties are far more prone to noise issues. Detached houses will suffer less than terraced houses, and newly built flats will usually have been sound insulation than period conversions.
Almost all homes have passing traffic to some extent, but you’ll be worse affected on busier roads, and if you’re close to a junction or speed bump. Another factor will be how soundproof the doors, walls, and windows of the property are. Higher floors will be less affected by traffic noise than lower floors, which is something to bear in mind when viewing flats.
7. Common areas
In a block of flats, certain units will have more noise than others. You might prefer not to be on the ground floor, where all tenants will likely pass your property on their way in or out, or next to the lift or stairwell.
Desirable features for a quiet property
1. Top floor flats
If you’re looking at flats rather than houses, bear in mind that the higher floors will get less street noise. On the top floor, you’ll also benefit from having no one above you.
2. Double glazing
Sound insulation comes in many forms but one of the easiest to check for is double glazed windows. Different types of doors also come with different noise ratings, which you can ask about.
3. High hedges
High hedges around the perimeter of the property can muffle some sources of noise, as well as giving you visual privacy.
4. Carpeted floors
Wooden floors can be extremely noisy, particularly in converted flats. Even in a detached house, you may want to consider how noise carries within the house, which carpets and furnishings can help with.
Tips before buying
1. Be thorough
Not all sources of noise are easy to spot, so be on the lookout for any of the ones that we’ve mentioned and others that are less common (for example, nearby churches and mosques can also be noisy). You might ask neighbours about any noise problems they have and research online.
2. Visit several times
You need to visit the property at different times of day to get a sense of how noisy it is. Plan your visits around when you’re likely to be home. Depending on your schedule, noise from schools might be far less problematic than noise from pubs.
3. Ask a surveyor
A survey can help you identify any work that has already been carried out to reduce noise, and what your other options are. If you fall in love with a property but are concerned about noise, there are various measures that can help.
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