Although appearance is important for house-hunters, it can’t in most cases make up for the disadvantage of living too close to a highway, or close to a landfill site or a factory that is pumping pollution into the air.
“While some people might not mind living next door to someone whose hobby is woodworking or fixing motorbikes, or down the road from a restaurant that features live music, others might find it really difficult, ” says Gerhard Kotzé, MD of the RealNet estate agency group.
“This is why prospective buyers need to check out the neighbourhood as well as the property they are viewing before they commit to any offer to purchase. They need to consider noise potential and even air quality as well as more familiar factors such as security, the reputation of the local schools and proximity to shops and other amenities.”
In addition, he says, everyone in a family is different so it is important to ensure that all will be comfortable in the new home.
“Someone who works at night may need a quieter home during the day. Tolerance levels can change too, which means that sounds – or smells - that seemed insignificant when you were viewing a home can become a major annoyance over time and necessitate an unplanned move.”
Kotzé says, really sensitive buyers should consider how much noise might be generated inside the homes they view.
“A good layout in relation to your overall lifestyle is vital to being happy in the long term, and while an open-plan living area might feel bigger, for example, it also leaves room for the sound levels to increase and create inescapable noise, from the television or even from people talking while you are trying to sleep.
In short, he says, prevention is always better than cure and prospective buyers should not be shy to visit a home they like the look of at different times of the day and week to check the noise levels and other potential irritants before making a purchase decision. “It’s important to remember that your new home needs to be right for you in every respect, and not just the way it looks.”