Price, schools, commute times, crime rates and noise levels are the most important factors to consider when shopping for a new home, according to surveys of consumers by realtor.com.
The first four are easy enough to determine from reports, but when it comes to noise levels, it’s tough for the average buyer to get any solid information – and most buyers aren’t prepared to spend hours waiting outside the property to see for themselves.
And so to help people out, realtor.com is launching a new “noise indicator” tool that provides sound level data on each property it lists. The noise level covers three sources – traffic, airports and local sources such as nearby gas stations, restaurants, shops, schools etc.
“Every home buyer is different. Some people are at home in a bustling city, while others prefer the peace and quiet of a country farmhouse,” said Rachel Morley, senior vice president of product management at realtor.com. “With our new noise indicator, we can provide specific information about whether the property is near a freeway, an airport, or a gas station and how that impacts sound levels. This information can help narrow the search and make sure that our users find a home that’s perfect for them.”
realtor.com’s noise indicator ranks properties’ sound levels as either high, medium or low. It also provides information on the source of the noise near the home, and a heat map that overlays the different noise sources.
It’s important to note that homes in the same neighborhood can have varying noise levels, depending on their proximity to major roads, hospitals, shops and so on.
For more information the U.S. Department of Transportation also provides a noise indicator via its National Noise Map. This is also a heat map, and it reveals medium to loud noise sources for 97% of the U.S. population. The focus is on airplane and traffic noise.