I hosted an open house in Scarborough the other week with Jaime Williams (one of our team’s buyer agents). The home was a beautifully redone cape with all the trimmings; completely updated kitchen with new granite counters, cabinets, and appliances, new wood floors, carpeting and tile, fresh paint on all the walls, the works! This move in ready home perched nicely at the end of a cul-de-sac. Neighbors were out walking their dogs and the fall foliage only added to the charm of this great cape. We had also just done a price reduction on the house, down from $339,900 to $334,000 so we were expecting a good turnout.
12 Bunker Hill Terrace - What a beauty!
We were also anticipating a lot of the same feedback we’ve received over the duration of the listing thus far. “This is a great home, but I could NEVER live so close to the highway!” or “I couldn’t bear to hear that noise, day in and day out!”
Full disclosure: According to a Google Maps Distance Calculator, the home is .103 miles away from the highway, as the crow flies. This was the second time I had hosted an open house at this listing. Both times I made a point of stopping to see if I could notice the noise. Yes, there was a discernable whirring as I heard the trucks zoom south on 295. Was it any worse than the noise of people stopping and accelerating at stop signs? No. Could it be mistaken for strong gusts of wind rustling the trees? Yes. Have I lived in places that were louder? Absolutely! I have outlined them below.
0.11 miles from the highway as the crow flies.
Acadia National Park
I had the rare opportunity to live in a dormitory in the woods of Acadia during my tenure as an employee of the Jordan Pond House. We were miles away from the nearest home, surrounded on all sides by the serenity and seclusion of the peaks and ponds in the park. All this peace and separation taught me one important thing: nature can be LOUD. Crickets would make themselves known by the hundreds at all hours of the night. The isolation magnified the noises of wind rustling the trees, frogs croaking near the streams, or deer cracking branches right outside your window.
Bar Harbor, ME
After a season living in the woods, I welcomed the opportunity to move back to civilization. I rented an apartment in downtown Bar Harbor with a few friends who also worked in the service industry. We lived on the third floor of a building that housed China Joy, Bar Harbor’s requisite Chinese take-out spot. My bedroom window looked out over a parking lot towards the Village Green. It was a revolving door of sounds. On cruise ship days, the town would fill with thousands of people, spilling from shops selling lobster ice cream and moose trinkets into the streets. I could barely walk down the sidewalk, let alone park my car. The patrons of the many bars in Bar Harbor would mill outside my windows, looking for their next destination once the bars had shuttered for the night. All these noises would creep into my bedroom, eventually blending together into a cacophony of sounds I’ve titled “Bar Harbor Tourist Season.”
Have you ever heard a street-cleaning machine operate during the winter? To give you a reference point, imagine a fork going down a garbage disposal, or perhaps a big screen creation from Michael Bay’s latest Transformers movie. Now imagine hearing that at 3AM every Monday morning, from November through March. What a delightful way to start the work week! Other noises worth mentioning: multitudes of neighbors coming and going at all hours of the day, the horse drawn carriages that go by my stoop every weekend, the cars that zoom up Spring Street blaring the latest hits from their aftermarket speaker systems, and the symphonies of screaming, crying, and yelling children that attend the Reiche School just a few doors down. Did I mention that the Portland Jetport uses the airspace directly above our peninsula as the flightpath for all incoming and outgoing planes?
Did these noises bother me? Of course, at first. But I adjusted. Things that would seem unbearable quickly became unnoticable. I was able to sleep through the crickets, bar patrons, and street cleaners after a few short weeks of adjustment. A highway buffered by acres of forests and other houses? That sounds like a piece of cake!
However, up to this point it seemed like I was a part of the minority in this noise debate. The stigma of owning a home close to the highway seemed to be preventing any serious interest from the available buyer pool in Scarborough. However, the price reduction(and copious amounts of online and paper advertising) convinced quite a few people to stop by our open house that Sunday. One of those groups of people fell in love with the house and decided that the highway wasn’t a big issue for them. We can happily say that we are now under contract! Highway? What highway?
The Rob Edgerley Real Estate Team