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NOISY NEIGHBOURS

IT’S NOT JUST THE HOUSE NEXT DOOR

One of the most common reasons for a homeowner becoming disillusioned with their choice of property is noise.

You may have fallen in love with a house approximately ten seconds into the viewing, recalculated what you’d have to give up to afford the mortgage and you may have gone without holidays for a few years so you had the cash to make those changes which made it feel more like home rather than a new house.

But when inconsiderate neighbours move in, a new road gets built, an extension to the housing estate brings more cars into the area or a new runway at the local airport puts your dream home directly under a busy flightpath, suddenly the love affair can be over and the hunt for a new place begins.

However, it’s not just events outside your control which can lead to regular, unwanted disturbances. Sometimes, they were there all along. It’s just they’re not always evident 24 hours a day.

So, if you’re about to begin a hunt for a new home or if you’re a first-time buyer, here a few hints to help you spot them.

Airports: The local airport could be 30 miles away but aircraft landing there may begin their descent hundreds of miles away and could be at a pretty low altitude when they’re only 30 miles out. If you’re looking at a property within a 50 mile radius of a major terminal, it might be an idea to load the FlightRadar app onto your phone or your laptop and watch the approach lines for a couple of days. Remember, they can be different depending on the direction of the wind so we’d recommend you do it more than once. If all those pesky yellow plane icons fly directly over the roof of your chosen property, it might be wise to examine alternatives.

Schools: Of course, for many, having a school nearby is a positive but, if you don’t have children and there’s one close to home, it can mean some disturbances between 8am and 9am and between 4pm and 5pm. First of all, buses crammed with kids often struggle to squeeze through parents’ double-parked cars on the main approaches to schools while kids on their way in and out in term time are not always respecters of peace and quiet. If you’re thinking of a viewing, try to be there for the school run to see what it’s like.

Main roads: Did you know you can use Google Maps to check how busy a road might be at any given time of day or night? In Maps mode on your desktop, just click on the menu icon in the address box and Traffic is listed as an option. If you click that, it will show jams in red, slow-moving traffic in amber and smooth-flowing roads in green. However, if you’d like to know what’s normal, click on the tool bar that should now be open and change the option from “Traffic” to “Typical Traffic”. Simples. You now have a rough idea of how busy the road outside your chosen property becomes – and therefore the level of traffic noise to expect.

Railways: If the home you’re looking at is close to one, it might be an idea to check the frequency of the services that use it. Again, you can use Google Maps by searching for the nearest station, clicking your mouse on the old British Rail symbol and then clicking on the departure board which pops up in the menu box on the left of the screen. If it’s a branch line and you’re not too close to a station where the trains are getting up to speed, you may not hear much at all. However, if it’s a mainline, you’ll need to bear in mind that some more noisy express trains will be hurtling along it pretty frequently.

Farm animals: Some used to urban surroundings may not realise that life in the country is not always about peace and quiet. Cockerels, sheep and cattle can be pretty vocal – and often at unsocial hours of the day. Again, if you’re planning on viewing a property which seems to be within close proximity of a farm, it might be an idea to try more than one viewing at different times of day. Once you’ve moved in, you don’t want to be the townie who confronts the farmer and demands he stops his cows from mooing. These are the sounds of the countryside after all.

Don’t forget, if you’re looking for property, we have a selection from across England and Wales and would be happy to talk you through your options. Also, if you’re selling and you’d like a bit of help or information about the packages we offer, why not drop us a line. We’re just a phone call or an email away – and we promise we won’t push you through a call centre first.