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Do you have a QUIET home/condo/apt?
Old 08-11-2018, 02:00 PM   #1
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Do you have a QUIET home/condo/apt?

During my lifetime, I've lived in apartments, condos and single-family homes and all of my housing decisions have been epic failures with regards to noise.

Everywhere I've lived, I've been tormented by noises, hearing neighbors through the walls, hearing footsteps above and outdoor noises such as noisy pets, car/bus, airplanes and lawn mowers. I'm exceptionally sensitive to noise so I'm harder to please than most.

I will be making a housing change in the next year or two and the number one requirement is a quiet location. Through my research, I've identified the following options to consider:

- Concrete high-rise building: Most people I've spoken with say they never hear anything outside their unit, but one or two have said they can hear footsteps above their head which surprises me.

- Pre-war co-op/condo building: A less desirable option, as I prefer newer construction in hopes of less maintenance.

- Single-family home on acreage: I prefer to be in my city, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

- Single-family home in the city, built to passive house standards: probably the best option, but also the most expensive. Going through the design/build process does not appeal to me, nor does eating up a chunk of my nest egg.

I've explored the option of sound-proofing my existing home and the cost is prohibitive, plus it's not worth staying here since it has a stupid floorplan.

What other housing options should I consider? Have I identified all options above?

If you currently live in quiet place, what qualities make it quiet? And luck doesn't count. I once lived a blissful existence in a condo for years until the upstairs unit turned over and the new owner walked like an elephant. I put my unit on the market immediately.

Thanks for your input!

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Old 08-11-2018, 02:07 PM   #2
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My tinnitus is so loud total quiet would drive me mad! I have a private home but I can hear the interstate esp at rush hour and of course planes.
Suburbia is full of leaf blowers and chainsaws. Iíd Vote for smaller home on acreage - maybe one with newer well insulated windows and check flyover paths, train tracks etc. Or meds to help you handle noises. Canít imagine apt living under such circumstances.

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Old 08-11-2018, 02:09 PM   #3
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Our Florida condo is an top floor end unit with cement block common wall built in the late 1970s. Our only neighbors are below and to one side. We rarely hear either of them, but it is a fairly quiet, docile community.... while not technically 55+, the vast majority of owners are over 55.
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Old 08-11-2018, 02:16 PM   #4
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Another vote for cement construction condo, and if you can get a top floor end unit, even better.
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Old 08-11-2018, 02:21 PM   #5
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I grew up on a one-block long dead-end street and our house had a cornfield behind it so I got spoiled at an early age and didn't even know it. My rude awakening came when I shared an apartment with another guy who worked at the same place I did. The problem was that the apartment faced the intersection of a six-lane divided highway and a four-lane highway, with of course, a traffic light at the intersection. The 24-hour barrage of noise from motorcycle morons running straight pipes, trucks, and loud mufflers on seemingly every other vehicle made me resolve to never, ever, live anywhere near hearing distance of a major road again.

And I haven't. Every place since then has been a SF house on either a dead-end street or a court. When I was looking for a home real estate agents were sometimes not happy with my insistence on "no major roads" and tried to show me homes on those roads anyway but I knew I'd be very unhappy and refused to even look at them.

Admittedly I've perhaps been lucky with neighbors, not having to contend with noisy party people and the ones with six feral children, but the price point keeps the bulk of the riffraff out. And I really didn't want to have to deal with the maintenance issues of owning acreage.
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Old 08-11-2018, 02:43 PM   #6
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We hate noise, too. Once bought a house being very careful to scout out the neighbors, but within six months the neighbor on each side moved out and someone with a yappy dog moved in. No matter how careful you are, they seem to be able to find you!
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Old 08-11-2018, 02:48 PM   #7
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Perhaps in a neighborhood that doesn't seem to have many kids/families?
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Old 08-11-2018, 02:48 PM   #8
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I live in a patio home subdivision. Houses are closer than any I have ever lived in but very quiet. On a rare occasion one neighbor might have a few over for a cookout and I can hear some talking from their back porch. But no loud music. I can't hear any cars go by. My vacation condo is fairly quiet but on weekends it can get a little noisy. I avoid holidays and for the most part stay there during the week. So it's manageable.
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Old 08-11-2018, 02:50 PM   #9
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We hate noise too. We had a townhome once that had two shared walls. They had an airspace between them about the size of a fist. The floors were also not aligned, the neighbor was either higher or lower. The rooms with “noise” like running water and such would back up to kitchen cabinets or something dense. There was also a several foot airspace above the master, like an attic. Poured concrete walls in the basement. Quietest home we ever had.
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Old 08-11-2018, 02:51 PM   #10
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A houseboat 10 miles off shore.
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Old 08-11-2018, 03:02 PM   #11
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normally quite enough. However for the last 6 months they have torn out the road, replaced the services and and now are replacing the road. some times the whole house shakes from the equipment.

Soon is will be done. (hope)
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Old 08-11-2018, 03:03 PM   #12
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Our place is in town but very quiet. It's a 1960s subdivision with 2-3 acre lots. Most lots have a couple hundred post oaks. Our neighbors are mostly older and very quiet. Some are original owners. We can't even see most of our neighbor's houses through the trees. The only offensive sounds are the inevitable mowers, trimmers, and leaf blowers. Otherwise, it's just birds, frogs, crickets, and the occasional honking geese. It's a 5-minute drive to almost anything we might need.
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Old 08-11-2018, 03:12 PM   #13
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I am more sensitive to noise than most. So I hear you!

My noisiest neighbour was in a flat from the 50s. Concrete walls and floors. But when the hard of hearing old lady one floor up turned on her TV I could follow the dialogue.

These days I've got some noise cancelling headphones. And I'm out and about in my RV a lot. With the motorhome I can move if I got noisy neighbours. And I do.
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Old 08-11-2018, 03:17 PM   #14
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We had a lovely home in the mountains of calif a few years ago. A very peaceful neighborhood that you might think was quiet, but you would be way wrong. Nonstop train horns blasting every 20 minutes, day and night, moving all that Chinese junk from the Calif ports to every other state. Our home was over two miles from the tracks but it was very irritating. Thanks to our government safety agencies, the decibel and pitch level have increased dramatically in the past 15 years.
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Old 08-11-2018, 03:22 PM   #15
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A duplex, 2 story frame condo unit here. 5 buildings (10 units) around a cul de sac. It's "over 55" so nobody stays up too late. We hear (and contribute) a little dog barking and can hear voices of neighbors greeting and saying goodbye to guests outside. But no big deal. One real advantage is that the condo fee includes lawn moving and snow removal. Noise-wise this means the work gets done in one fell swoop in a concentrated period of time by a team of 5-6 guys working in different areas simultaneously rather than being done by 10 different homeowners at 10 different times during the week with each homeowner taking longer for his/her unit than the team does for the whole complex.
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Old 08-11-2018, 03:24 PM   #16
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Don't buy Oceanfront on the Pacific! The water crashing on Beach is incessant.
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Old 08-11-2018, 03:41 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by NYEXPAT View Post
Don't buy Oceanfront on the Pacific! The water crashing on Beach is incessant.

I have oceanfront on the Atlantic for our winter condo in Florida. We love the sound of the ocean! It helps me sleep so well and is so soothing. To each their own.
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Old 08-11-2018, 03:46 PM   #18
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I live on the first floor of a 2-floor apartment building which is part of a large co-op complex. Most of the residents/shareholders are older people in their 50s, 60s, and beyond. Very few kids which is good. Most apartments are studios (like mine) and one-bedrooms.

My next-door neighbors are quiet, each with an older person (1 woman on one side, 1 man on the other). In my 29 years living here, I have had 4 different upstairs neighbors with mixed results.

The first was a married couple which became a three-some when they had a kid near the end of their 5-year term over me. They were lousy, before and after the kid, because they came in late at night on weeknights at about 11:30 PM, just when I was about to go to sleep, and stomped around for an hour, making me very tired at work a lot. I complained to the managing agent and co-op board and to them specifically with little success. When they moved out, I played "Happy Days are Here Again" on my piano!

The next neighbor was an older woman who was quiet except for when she had an injury and was a little noisy from limping around loudly. Still, she was better than....

Neighbor #3, a man about my age whose first few months included a knock-down, drag-out fight with a girlfriend in the middle of the night. Should have called the cops but I would get another chance to do that a year later when he came home at 2 AM one night and decided to blast his stereo. He was actually a bigger annoyance to the woman who lived next to him. Together, we got the managing agent to assess him some fines for noise and other issues. He quieted down after that. He moved out about 3 years ago.

Neighbor #4 is a woman about my age. She is nice and quiet. No problems.

Not a lot of noise from outside. I live across the street from a church which also includes a school. Quiet at night. I have had sporadic problems with the hired landscapers if they run their noisy equipment too early in the morning. I let our super know and the managing agent know and that usually (but not always) quiets things.

I live in the flight path of one of the runways approaching JFK Airport here in New York. Depending on weather conditions and time of year, sometimes we get a string of planes flying into the airport, even at late hours. But we can go weeks without hearing any planes.

Overall, it is a quiet place to live.
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Old 08-11-2018, 03:47 PM   #19
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If you're going to live in a shared building, top floor is a must. Or a townhouse with no neighbor above or below, and shared wall being a garage only.

To reduce outside noise, you either need to control the area by having a lot of land, or heavy landscaping, especially evergreen trees, to muffle it. Smaller or no grass areas so that mowing (especially by neighbors) is minimal. Know what's around you--no major roads, or undeveloped land that could suddenly get noisy with construction and then commercial property. An over 55 neighborhood would probably be better with no kids, and hopefully restrictions or at least being unlikely that someone would have a wood shop going in their garage or motorcycles roaring around all the time, or stuff like that.

On the inside, use heavy curtains or other noise deadening features if you have to. Use noise cancelling headphones when the mowers are out.

I live in a resort where most of the homes are vacation homes. I'm about 4 houses from the end of the road, so little through traffic. My next door neighbors' homes are 2nd homes, but one turned it into a vacation rental so it's a little busier but it's not rented all that often. I've put more landscaping in but it will take time for it to grow in. There's a large nature preserve behind me so that will never change.
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Old 08-11-2018, 03:58 PM   #20
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I seldom hear anyone where we live. Our last three homes have been like that. They stay that way or you can fix the situation.
I value peace, quiet, and nature.

#1 Home in a rural farming area on twenty acres. Most other folks owned 80-640 acres. The only time we heard noise was during planting and harvest season. A few folks who didn't know how to hunt during deer season made noise, they didn't come back! I drove 63 miles one way to work(KCMO) for ten years. For the most part it wasn't too bad, I had a very kind manager.

#2 Home on 3 acres in a former farming area. The 40 acres was divided into 3-15 acre lots. It was 25 miles from downtown KCMO and often took an hour to commute. Once you were home there wasn't much noise. I guess I'm ignoring the neighbor's dog that loved to bark from 1:00-5:00 AM. I could hear a light rumble from I70, five miles south.

#3 Home in a development. Weird remote place, very quiet. We back up to 3,000,000 acres of National Forest. Today a turkey hen and her 5 poults ran across the road(I didn't ask why) in front of us. We get unreal amounts of wildlife here: deer, elk, bear, turkey, coyote, fox, and really, really big kitty cats. There's little human noise or traffic other than locals. The only noise right now is from new construction. Well, when a coyote wants some loving, the whole neighborhood might know about it.

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