Noise Level Rating

Noise Level Rating - How Loud a Location Is

How loud is a location due to environmental noise


I’m a pen pal to a Southern California appraiser, who posted this message about Soundscore to a forum I read.

Here’s a site I found that provides some very useful information as to how loud a particular site or location might be. Type in an address and, voila! Their system comes back with a rating as to how much noise the site has from vehicle traffic, airline traffic, and local sources. It’s on a scale of 50 to 100, with 50 being very loud and 100 being very quiet.

This is a ‘free’ site to use.

I decided to test the site using my address, and 3 other addresses of distant properties I know of. In all cases, the relative noise levels reported by this ‘HowLoud’ web site appear to be realistic (based on their number ratings) for those property locations.

The site may have practical applications in terms of making a location adjustment – depending on comp locations. Appraisers will have to decide if it makes sense to do so, and then figure out a weighting procedure/process to give it validity. But if done this way, and documented in the report, it will have far more credibility than the typical PFA adjustments often made.

As an example, my address shows a “84” rating, or ‘Calm.’ My place is about ¼ mile from a freeway and an active railroad line close to the freeway. I then picked a different address of a home due east of my place immediately adjacent to the freeway and nearer the railroad. That property shows “62”, or ‘Busy’ which is correct due to the increased noise levels in that location.

This site can’t discern highly detailed differences if the properties are relatively close together. However, if a property is on a known active arterial-type road and others are not, it might. You will have to test it in your community to know for sure.

Try it out and see what you think.

Dave Towne
Image credit flickr - Michael Heigl
Dave Towne

Dave Towne

AGA, MNAA, Accredited Green Appraiser - Licensed in WA State since 2003. Dave Towne on

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7 Responses

  1. Baggins. - In the meantime Baggins. - In the meantime says:

    Can it tell about my neighbors 3 annoying dogs whom bark at random periods throughout the day?  Ha!  If this gains headway they’ll sell the tech to google, and the google car will have a giant microphone next to the 360 view street cam.  Measuring for sound….  Heavy metal listeners may disagree with the premise.

  2. Avatar Brendan Farrell says:

    HowLoud’s Soundscore data and map are already used by appraisers that subscribe to GeoData Plus in NY/NJ, and Housefax and NDC Data nationally. Many MLSs and Associations also offer Soundscore in their sites. This includes REcolorado, NorthstarMLS, the Indiana and Greater Alabama Associations and others.

    Contact HowLoud if you are interested in incorporating Soundscore into your products.

    Brendan Farrell, CEO of HowLoud


  3. Avatar Bill Johnson says:

    This site and many like it give just enough data so that underwriters and AMC clowns from 15 states away can think they have the ability to determine if an area has an adverse (noise) or non-adverse location designation. A review of San Diego CA reflects a dark blue (100 score) around the boundaries of Miramar Air Station (F18’s, V22 Osprey, etc.) and Coronado Naval Base North Island (similar). Although it appears to reflect the noise from the close proximity freeways from outside the base boundaries, the calm indication in the surrounding area is completely off. Expertise is needed on a local level to understand that one week could be loud, while touch and go take off landings for hours at a time at night, would warrant a 50 rating (maximum rating). Don’t even get me stated with Camp Pendleton and artillery practice. Brendan, sites like yours serve a purpose, however through technology, often times its the appraiser who spends hours of additional time on reports (for free) dealing with the amateurs who think they are experts because of you.

    • Avatar Brendan Farrell says:


      I certainly understand your point. We are building the infrastructure to collect data on unique sources like an artillery range. By the end of the year, residents and appraisers will be able to tell us that there is an artillery range nearby that, for example, is busy a couple days a month. We will then be a resource that makes that information available. If an appraiser then visits the area when the artillery range is not active, they can still find the relevant information at HowLoud and include it in the appraisal. That’s a great help to appraisers.


      • Avatar Bill Johnson says:

        Again, I do see the purpose of your site, but it my opinion it offers me limited benefits and may in fact cause me to do more work, and not less (at the hands of others). The issue I have as an appraiser Brendan is that you and your company, underwriters, AMC staff, etc. want to see an average set number (say 70 and calm), while not understanding the appraiser must evaluate the entire area and give weight to the worst parts of the day, week, or month. If 22 hours of the day warrants little to no noise (on a good day) while 2 hours of the day (8:00 to 10:00 P.M) warrants a rating of 50 (take off and landings / hovering helicopters), then in my opinion it has an adverse location. Your average calm rating (neutral) would conflict with my adverse rating (noise), thus although explained in the appraisal, may cause me to provide additional clarification (for free) within the report based on other people’s interpretation of your site, and lack of local expert knowledge. To those appraisers who want to take an assignment outside there typical area and pledge to obtain the necessary geographical competence before submitting the report (fools), your site could hold a benefit, however that’s not me. If you say you want appraisers to use their local expert knowledge to tell you of such on-goings so that your database can be built up, many will balk based on our experience with the federal government stealing our appraisal data (CU) and using it against us. Good luck to you Brendan, but in no way would I want a direct link in the MLS for the uninformed to use against me.

  4. Avatar Koma says:

    And the piling on continues!

  5. Baggins Baggins says:

    I’m still interested as to the mechanism which this is measured.  I’m fully against traffic cameras everywhere, cameras in shopping areas, and fully against sound measurement devices in public spaces and transportation routes which could in any way acquire private conversations.  What exactly is the ‘infrastructure’ by which this noted company and these other referenced companies are measuring sound?


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Noise Level Rating

by Dave Towne time to read: 1 min