If prospective buyers could spend a week in a house they're thinking about buying, it would give them a good feel for the neighborhood, including how noisy (or quiet). Now there's a tool that can help with that. Enter the address at HowLoud and you'll get a SoundScore – a 50 to 100 rating (higher is quieter) on the ambient noise level. While it won't tell you about the neighbor who leaves for work at 5:00 AM on his Harley, it will give you a look into noise produced by trains, airplanes, traffic, commercial sites and the like. If this "takes off" it will become similar to a WalkScore as one independent tool to evaluate a neighborhood.
"That house down the street has 3-foot tall weeds all over the front yard"
"That car has been parked there for weeks"
"The business on the corner is so noisy I can't sleep"
"The neighbor's dog barks all day and night"
"I don't think that apartment being built over their garage complies with code"
In the City of Portland, there is a place to file a complaint for all these issues and more.
Click Here for a list of the right phone numbers for each of these issues, and many others. You can also file a complaint on line for almost all.
Personally, I've only filed one complaint like these. It was for a home under construction that had stopped the building process and let the weeds get 3-4 feet high. I filed an on line report and in two weeks they had been mowed.
Beyond removing an irritation to living, some of these things actually affect the value of all the homes in your neighborhood. So among other things, you're protecting your home's value when you file a legitimate complaint.
We all look at the INSIDE of a home when we think about what affects value, and that's rightly so. But it's easy to overlook the important neighborhood factors that also have a significant impact on a home's value.
- Schools and their quality
- Public transit access
- Walk Score*
- Front Porch
- Low maintenance exterior
- Parks and/or dedicated open space
*Walk Score is a 0-100 rating based on how close a home is to shopping, restaurants, library, coffee shop and the like. It's something probably half of the Portland buyers I work with rate as one of their top three most important factors. It's at http://www.walkscore.com/ or there is a link on my home page.