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How to Find No-Hassle Quiet Neighborhood
Old 04-21-2012, 12:04 PM   #1
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How to Find No-Hassle Quiet Neighborhood

I'm thinking of moving, to get away from a commercial property next to me which has become a continual stressor and timewaster for me. When I moved here 26 years ago, the property next to me was a small greenhouse, and was quiet and attractive, not busy at all, with a small woods in between it and my property. It was better than having a residential house there, actually. But...... after I enjoyed about 15 years of the quiet greenhouse next door, the owner sold it, and the new owner turned out to be a disaster. He bulldozed the woods, and expanded the operation.

If I move, I would have a realtor show me new or existing homes with only normal residential homes next to them, no commercial properties.

Of course one always has to hope his neighbors are nice folks.

One thing I know to avoid is having a commercial property next door, no matter how innocent it looks at first.

Any other things to watch out for?

I'd be looking in exurban or suburban areas of Pa.


Thanks
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Old 04-21-2012, 12:43 PM   #2
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Other than graveyards, I know of no neighborhood that's guaranteed to remain "quiet." The quiet folks next door may move away, and their house be purchased by people who are devoted to garage band practice and ATV riding. Not that there's anything wrong with that...

But I would always look at aerial photography of any property that interested me, to get an idea of what's around it; and visit the planning & zoning office to see what roads, developments, etc. are coming in.

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Old 04-21-2012, 01:25 PM   #3
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I have a quiet cul de sac where I am the youngest by 12 years. I certainly like it, and my neighbors behind me consist of trees only. A couple of the homes have changed hands, but always bought by older people also. I would make sure the neighboring homes arent rentals before buying. I have read about many nice neighborhoods turned upside down by foreclosures and people purchasing homes and turning them into rentals.
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Old 04-21-2012, 01:37 PM   #4
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Seems to me that getting an acre or two or more of woods helps a lot, but I also agree with having residential neighbors. The aerial photo is important too, to look at what's behind. Sometimes you focus on your own street, but if you don't look at the land behind, you could have a WalMart in your backyard.

I'm reminded of a house in Cary, NC. Way back when it was out in the middle of nowhere and it must've been surrounded by woods, but the town grew a lot, and it became surrounded. The guy was bitter about the growth and had all kinds of signs and stuff (I seem to remember a noose) complaining about it and all of the Yankees that had moved into the area. He only had about 1/2 acre so I don't know why he thought he was entitled to complain about being surrounded. And it was all reasonably nice houses, certainly nicer than his place. By far the new people had more to be concerned about with him than vice versa, though from a newspaper article or two it sounded like he stayed very much within the law and he wasn't taking anything beyond his yard statements. And in fact a nice wooded park was created on one side of him. Anyway, my take on it all was that he should've bought more land it he wanted his solitude. I'm pretty sure I found it on google maps and it's still there.
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Old 04-21-2012, 03:04 PM   #5
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You are pretty much screwed. Our quiet, retired neighbors died and pot growers moved in, with noise at all hours (gone now).

Even nice neighbors can have a night job and a noisy pickup.

For a while we had a problem with logging several miles away. We couldn't hear the saws, but they have a method of communicating when transporting logs on a zip line that involves an incredibly loud tooting device. It started every morning at 5 AM, in the pitch dark.

The local school had a problem with the burglar alarm, and for a while it went off every few nights.

There are some amazingly loud bullfrogs in a small pond nearby.

So it's all the luck of the draw.
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Old 04-21-2012, 03:13 PM   #6
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I'd rent in the prospective neighborhood for a while, and nose around to see what I could find out. I'd get to know my neighbors and ask about any rumors of commercial development or other changes. I'd use my own observational skills to see if it really is owner-occupied and as quiet as I thought it was, from afar.

Then, when a house there came up for sale, I'd know what I was getting into (to some extent). As others have said, you take your chances. At least you will know that there is a possibility that it might remain peaceful and quiet.

My neighborhood is extremely quiet, and I am so fortunate. It helps that noises from the exterior do not penetrate to my den or bedroom very easily. I have a bigger house than I need, and the rooms on the street side of the house are ones that I do not often use. They act as a sound buffer. Also my house is 40 years old and was built with thick walls that do not transmit sound easily.

I can provide some examples to give you an idea of how well these work. I do not normally hear the trash truck unless I am in those front rooms that I seldom use. I did hear some faint construction noises when the house across the street had heavy equipment tearing up their driveway last week. The noises were not loud enough to awaken me, though.

Peace and quiet within my own home are a top priority for me, too. So, I greatly sympathize and can relate to your quest.
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Old 04-21-2012, 03:32 PM   #7
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A quiet neighborhood business might be preferable to a noisy neighbor. Not much you can do to protect against a noisy neighbor unless you go to a senior community or a HOA that enforces lifestyle norms. Space between houses helps, being on side streets and not close to highways, plug in white noise machines around the home. Locate the family room in the basement.

Zoning regulations help keep businesses out of residential neighborhoods, as does the absence of large lots. Community finances are very important. If the community needs money the likelihood of encouraging new business development is higher, so a stable and well financed budget is a must.
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Old 04-21-2012, 03:56 PM   #8
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One of absolute quietest is an upper floor of a quality concrete and steel highrise outside of noisey commercial districts downtown. Street noise right downtown can be a problem, but often not at all 1/4 to 1/2 mile away. Living in dense neighborhoods also decreases the territoriality that many feel, which can make even the simple sight of other human life annoying. "I don't want to see any neighbors!"

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Old 04-21-2012, 04:34 PM   #9
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Somewhat assured no hassle and quiet requires a minimum of 10 acres on high ground and a Dodge Power Wagon.
Sixty years ago such property could be had near Harrisburg for less than $100 per acre.
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Old 04-21-2012, 04:59 PM   #10
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I chose my present house in early 2004, a few months after my husband died. I formerly had a 17 mile commute. My criteria were: new, close to work, close to shopping and major roads, and safe, quiet neighborhood. It was a spec house, under construction when I put a deposit on it but in an established neighborhood of similarly priced homes. Mine was the last lot developed.

I moved to the small city where I work, so I had the benefit of input from friends (locals) who knew the neighborhoods better than I. I have a public park/green space across the road from me and a wooded area with creek behind me leading out onto a municipal golf course. I live on a dead-end street so no thru traffic. My neighbors on either side have changed since I moved in...the couple on one side moved (replaced by a widow of around 70 who wanted to live closer to her daughter/grandkids) and the man on the other side retired to the Caribbean, replaced by a childless couple in their late 30's. They are friendly and while I can occasionally hear them entertain outdoors this is infrequent and they do not carry on much past 9 or 10 in the evening.

I picked a traditional house with 3 bedrooms/2.5 baths/2 car garage with a nice fenced yard in a good school district that I think would be appealing to a broad market if I decided to sell and move in future. I don't think of this as my retirement home necessarily but it could be, for at least part of the year.
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Old 04-21-2012, 05:34 PM   #11
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Tomorrow it will be 9 years since we bought our retirement home in Florida. We have been living here now for 5 1/2 years. We are in a Cul de Sac and all the neighbors are 65 YO to up into their 80's. Very quiet, I can stand outside for the longest time and no noise or cars. Sitting by the pool in the back yard and the only sound is the oldies that I'll be playing. (heh)
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Old 04-21-2012, 06:10 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 73ss454 View Post
Sitting by the pool in the back yard and the only sound is the oldies that I'll be playing. (heh)
Of course your neighbors might give a different evaluation of those same facts.
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Old 04-21-2012, 06:17 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 73ss454 View Post
Tomorrow it will be 9 years since we bought our retirement home in Florida. We have been living here now for 5 1/2 years. We are in a Cul de Sac and all the neighbors are 65 YO to up into their 80's. Very quiet, I can stand outside for the longest time and no noise or cars. Sitting by the pool in the back yard and the only sound is the oldies that I'll be playing. (heh)
Most all the 'oldies' that I find pleasant to the ear are circa pre-1950's.
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Old 04-21-2012, 06:50 PM   #14
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Of course your neighbors might give a different evaluation of those same facts.
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Old 04-21-2012, 07:17 PM   #15
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Thanks for the quick replies. I guess there is no magic formula other than having a couple million to spend on a Montana ranch. I might just stay here and hope for the best. The problem greenhouse next to me went out of business about a year ago, and has been very quiet lately, thank goodness.

We are all waiting to see what the next usage of the property will be. Currently a local developer is trying to get it rezoned so that he can put in a very profitable drug rehab facility. The zoning board will probably reject his request, as they have already rejected this guy's similar proposals at other locations.

But after he is rejected, of course the next thing will come along........ maybe an apartment complex, with adequate visual buffering, hopefully.

Trombone Al, you are right. It's all the luck of the draw.
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Old 04-21-2012, 07:32 PM   #16
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My only suggestion would be to look for a 55+ community. We moved into our "new" house two years ago and wish we would have moved to this community years ago. Quiet as a church mouse. I love driving around and not seeing trash cans sitting by the curb for days, 99% of the cars are in the garage, no bicycles in the yards, no multicolored play houses in the back yards, etc. Lot of those signs suggest nice, quiet neighborhood. Not that I'm against those things. It's just that I served my time doing that and now I want something different. I found it.
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Old 04-21-2012, 11:00 PM   #17
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I've moved more times than I care to admit, and I've picked the wrong house twice including the one I'm in now. Didn't realize the street I'm on is the main access to the entire neighborhood so the traffic is much worse than I'd like. Should have caught that - my fault - but we were under pressure to find a house we could close on before the old house closed in a city three hours away. The agent took us in the back way of course.

Anyway, even in the quieter houses I've owned it's always something. I lived in a neighborhood of 10-acre wooded lots on a dead end, but as soon as the high-dollar redneck's four sons across the road became teenagers it was ATV's running laps in their front yard until midnight. Another house was chosen for its peaceful surroundings, including a lack of doghouses on either side, and within 6 months the house on either side sold. Yapping dogs moved into one and the other became a rental where the tenant enjoyed revving his motorcycle in the driveway for no apparent reason at 4 am, for 15 minutes at a time.

So do your best but it's often luck of the draw.
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Old 04-22-2012, 06:29 AM   #18
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I attribute much of the peacefulness of our neighborhood to the fact that it is a historic district. Among other things, it has been fully built up for at least the past 100 years, so there will never be any new development or changed uses. People take very good care of their property.

For new buyers, the neighborhoold they visit will be the one they live in. There won't be any surprises. So, if you like it on first sight, you'll probably like it ten years from now.
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Old 04-22-2012, 08:56 AM   #19
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We are blessed living where we do, even air traffic is restricted because of our wilderness designation. All though a pesky USFS SEAT flies through twice a day to check for wildfires.
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Old 04-22-2012, 09:06 AM   #20
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In addition to the other suggestions stop by the local police station and ask about the neighborhood. Specifically ask for the names of the officers who work that area and make appointments, or at least arrange telephone conversations, with them. Among the question to ask is "Would you live there?" They will give you a straight answer.

If you have to tell them where the street is that's a good sign. It means they don't have any reasons to go there. Conversely, if they know the names of all the people on the street (unless it's a very small town) that is not a good sign.
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