What does your new home sound like?

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PROPERTY -

OF COURSE it’s what you see that is the most im­por­tant fac­tor when choos­ing a new home – and buy­ers will often say that they knew just by look­ing at a prop­erty that it was “the one” for them.

But many peo­ple who are house- hunt­ing for­get to use their other senses too, and although ap­pear­ance is im­por­tant, it can’t in most cases make up for the dis­ad­van­tage of liv­ing too close to a high­way, for ex­am­ple, or close to a land­fill site or a fac­tory that is pump­ing pol­lu­tion into the air.

“And though some peo­ple might not mind liv­ing near a school where they can hear chil­dren play­ing, or next door to some­one whose hobby is wood­work­ing or fix­ing mo­tor­bikes, or down the road from a restau­rant that fea­tures live mu­sic on week­ends, oth­ers might find it re­ally dif­fi­cult, “says Ger­hard Kotzé, manag­ing direc­tor of the RealNet es­tate agency group.

“This is an­other rea­son that prospec­tive buy­ers need to per­son­ally 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, for ex­am­ple, than chil­dren who need quiet nights. 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.”

What is more, 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 TV for ex­am­ple, or

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