For much of my early life I grew up on or near an Air Force Base. For the bulk of my father's career he was involved in the branch known as the Air Training Command. As one might suspect, such bases are home to more take-offs and landings than an ordinary runway.
I remember my seventh grade teacher asking me, "How do you put up with the noise?"
"What noise?" I replied. She countered, "the noise from all of the low flying airplanes?"
I told her that there weren't many airplanes at this particular base.
Then, in an instance, I felt like an idiot. Any one would know this to be not true.
Over time I'd somehow managed to filter out the sound of rumbling aircraft.
In a similar way, I've also managed to be blissfully ignorant of the smell of dairy farms.
We tend to create blind spots. When we're accustomed to certain environmental factors we may fail to see that others may not be. For this reason, home buyers and sellers should be aware of issues that can either add to or detract from the value of a property.
In real estate, such factors are called "encumbrances". In many cases, they are issues of location.
Among the proximity issues that can devalue a home are these:
- Loud transportation: Planes, Trains, Automobiles
- Heavy industrial activity
- Crime enhancing enterprise
The proximity to transportation may have positive as well as negative effects. People tend to want to be close enough to the airport or the freeway but they may not want to be under the flight path or near the ramps. There's a reason that home prices in such areas tend to be lower than the homes a few blocks away. Before purchasing a home, be sure to check for the presence of any above-average noise potential.
Heavy industrial activity tends to occur in areas that are zoned accordingly. However, in larger cities there is a population issue... people need a place to live and sometimes noisy industry and population must co-exist. A good real estate agent will be able offer an education regarding zoning issues and their relationship to market values.
Crime... it exists everywhere. However, some areas tend to attract more of it. There are many websites that will assist you in looking for crime statistics. Here is one for Arizona: Crime Statistics ... but I'm sure there are others suitable for your area that could provide a good snapshot.
Now that I've expressed potential areas of concern, one may ask, "How much does this matter?"
After all, crime can occur anywhere and all of us will be exposed to noise. In other words, these issues are relative... it comes down to finding a comfort zone. Most everyone has his or her own tolerance level... a good real estate agent will help you find a place that meets your needs.
Chuck Willman is a real estate agent based in the Phoenix metro area.
Photo Credit: "Plane Landing" by Maciek Sliwinski