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01-12-2013 11:11 AM
I got a question on the topic of noise.
Have been reading this article which I highly recommend others to read (if you're close to noisy roads/freeway).
Now here are my questions:
1) Are these numbers (0.4% drop in property value per 1dB additional over 55dB noise) a basis that appraisers use to evaluate a property?
2) Is the actual market follwoing it?
3) Do the estimates that Zillow and Redfin give follow this rule?
I'm considering to put an offer for a property that is close to freeway 5. The agent told me that houses at the other side of the freeway are going to get more noise. She says that since wind blows from west to east, the other side gets more noise. Does this make sense to you guys?
Appreciate any feedback on this.
01-12-2013 11:37 AM
HIghway noise very definitely depends on the weather -- not only on which way the wind is blowing, but on the temperature, and on how the air is moving. Sometimes you can be right next to it and hear very little, and other times the noise can be funneled over an amazing distance.
I suppose it's possible that in some places the weather conditions can be so predictable that you could guarantee the noise would always be around a certain level. Doesn't strike me as super likely, weather being as changeable as, well, the weather, but it could happen. If you want to know whether a particular location is like that -- well, just go there, at various times of day and on various days, and see what you hear. Be sure you try it out during rush hours, of course.
Personally, my main reason for not living right next to a freeway has less to do with noise per se than three other factors:
(1) Air pollution. Particularly when one of those big diesel trucks accelerates by -- it throws a whole lot of gunk into the air that takes a while to dissipate. Wouldn't want my kids breathing that.
(2) Traffic. There's more of it next to a freeway, and God help you if you live next to a major on- or off-ramp, as around here that can mean the local roads are jammed at rush hours with frustrated commuters waiting to enter or exit.
(3) Strangers. On- or off-ramps from the highway are where people get off to get gas, buy food, or -- alas -- commit crimes or run from the cops. A freeway is not just a community's artery, it's also its sewer.
01-14-2013 01:26 PM
Don't do it. I used to live in a home backed to a freeway. It's noisy, it's unhealthy for the reaons Seneca says. Let me add a few more:
Possums - These darn rodents love crawling on our freeway fence at night. It drove our dogs crazy causing them to bark all night.
If you have a high wall between the backyard and the freeway you'll never feel any breeze. Your home will always be hot in the summer.
When you get older your sleeping habbit wil change and the noise will make it difficult for you to sleep.
The shake, I used to think they were earthquakes but they're just 18 wheelers carrying heavy loads. Everytime they pass by the whole house shakes.
When house vibrate, things tend to crack & fall apart.
You wil not be able to entertain in your backyard. because no one will be able to hear you.
You may lose your hearing over time.
Occasioinally you'll hear HWY patrol pulling people over. I hear "Pull Over" ALL the time!
Don't forget the freeway crashes. It's riskier if you don't have a high wall.
Eminent domain. California love their cars but can't stand traffic. Eventually the state will want to expand the freeway, especially the small 5fway. They'll either doubledeck the freeway or expand it closer to your back yard. That will make the points above even worst. Worst scenario, they'll buy your home for a discount in order to expand.
One more thing, your agent is wrong. It doesn't matter where the wind blows when you're that close to the freeway. If I go on that argument then I can say 18 wheelers travelling 70mph+ cause their own tailwind. Does change the direction of the noise? I don't think so.
If you're still interested in the property I would suggest checking it at 3-5pm and then again at 10pm.
Good luck. Slim pickings out there but maybe in a few more months you'll see more inventory.
01-14-2013 02:00 PM
Thanks to you guys both.
It is great information to have, what you're saying russ123. I'm curious to know how far you were living from the fwy.
I'd definitely take your advice and I'll go and check the house between 3-5 and also 10PM. The house I'm talking about is about 600-700ft from the freeway (I guess there are 8-10 houses between the property and the freeway). I never thought of the shakes/vibrations from 18-wheelers passing by, however do you think in that distance it still is going to be a noticeable issue?
Fwy expansion and widening project is definitely going to be very scary and I agree how devastating that may be to the value of a property.
Again thanks a lot. I'll keep your advice in my mind.
01-14-2013 04:55 PM
I've never heard that prevailing winds make much difference in noise (though they definitely make a difference in dust and soot being carried your way). Solid walls (and other houses) will block the most direct noise. The elevation of the freeway near the house can make a big difference as well. Dual-pane windows make a big difference to how much noise carries through into the house; there are also other more expensive noise-reduction window and wall options.
If you like to use your back yard a lot, and sleep with windows open, you would be affected much more by freeway noise than if you tend to stay inside the house and use A/C.
01-14-2013 09:41 PM
You'll hear it, trust me. The echo will carry the noise. I lived right behind the freeway so I have accepted the fact that it will be noisy. But from afar you might think you can get away but you're not going to. My wife and I used to walk the dogs in the evenings and we can hear the freeway a block away, several if they're small blocks. One thing I forgot to mention, if you own a home close to the freeway you will not enjoy camping in the backyard with your kid/s. That's something that cannot be measured. I tried camping in our backyard once when my son was young but couldn't stand the noise. That's something I'll never get back.
I had dual paned windows, it didn't help me any. You're right, I might have to reinsulate the entire back wall to see the full efffect. As for openning windows at night, forget it if you're close by the freeway. If you don't have AC for the summer, which most Southern CA homes don't, you'll either have to suffer through the heat or noise. I wouldn't want to choose those two options again.
01-15-2013 02:45 PM
There are tradeoffs to everything. I've always avoided houses close to the freeway for myself, but we have had the financial flexibility to pay more (or take less house) to get a location we preferred. For example, if I were to trade off the same house with a nice view but somewhat close to the freeway versus one with no view and away from the freeway, I'm not sure which I would choose. But if you made the difference 3500 sf right next to the freeway versus 2000 sf in a quiet neighborhood, I would choose the smaller quiet house.
I'm not sure if there is an appraiser rule they follow for valuation, but there is definitely the factor that a house near the freeway will sell slower.
Sound has funny patterns, though. My current house is 2.5 miles from the freeway, but I can still hear a low hum of noise on quiet summer nights because there is direct line-of-sight from my decks and windows to the freeway traffic. As a general rule outdoors, solid heavy walls in the direct line of the noise do the best job of blocking sound; trees and shrubs don't do much. For house structures, walls and closed windows block a lot of noise, but it transfers through a single layer fairly well. Noise isolation in a house works much better when you have two (or more) layers to a wall that don't have a direct solid connection. There are window, and even sheetrock designs that do a much better job of noise blocking than standard materials, but they are of course more expensive, especially to retrofit.