When we are representing buyers in a home sale, we are often asked questions relating to various things that have an effect on the desirability of the property.
Everything from schools, to crime, to demographics of a neighborhood.
In most cases, we can refer them to resources on the Internet that the prospective buyer can use to do their own research, thereby saving us from having to give an answer that might come back to bite us later.
No so with neighborhood noise. Homes that are located next to busy highways are pretty self expiatory…they are going to hear traffic, and the buyer can verify that for themselves at almost any time of day.
But, there hasn’t been an online method to check that information out until now.
Here is where the website HowLoud.com comes into play. According to the developers website, they have developed a “heat” map that will show a sound score for any US property. When you visit the site, you simply put in the address, city, state and zip of the property that you want to check. Within scant seconds a score pops up along with a “heat map” that shows you the relative noise levels near the address in question.
When I checked it out using my address, it gave a score of 78 which they marked as “Active”, meaning that I get a pretty good amount of road noise from a nearby busy road on occasion. Totally accurate on that count. They then went on to say that Airports were calm as were Local Sources. Partially accurate there, as during rainy weather, SFO routes incoming aircraft right over our home! During this times the noise level definitely goes up!
But, as a way of answering client questions about noise, I think this is an acceptable way to do it, without YOU having to make statements that can’t be backed up.
Here are two of the FAQs that will give some info you may be curious about:
What is a Soundscore™ rating?
A Soundscore™ rating is a number between 0 and 100 that says how loud (low score) or quiet (high score) a location is. HowLoud licenses Soundscore™ to real estate listings for them to provide Soundscore™ to users directly on their sites.
How is a Soundscore™ rating computed?
A Soundscore™ rating is determined by three noise factors: vehicle traffic, air traffic and local sources (restaurants, schools, stores, etc.). For the most important component — vehicle traffic — we apply the Federal Highway Authority’s Traffic Noise Model . This model is mandated in the State of California, but HowLoud is the first to use it on a massive scale and make the results available to consumers and other businesses. Here is San Francisco’s commissioned noise map. This map is very useful, but such maps are currently only available in some cities.
Currently the price is free, so go give it a try, and start sending your noise curious clients to the site.