Speed the Sale by Making Noise a Non-Issue

Today, the best commercial real estate locations – downtown, near busy city centers, with easy transportation access – are often the noisiest. This can be a serious problem for commercial real estate pros if the constant din of highway/street traffic, blare of train/ship horns, or roar of aircraft depresses the sale price and delays the sale of apartment, condo, or office buildings/developments.
With the nation’s commercial market becoming increasingly urban, the problem of excess external noise is growing for real estate professionals. Furthermore, buyers today are not only sensitive to noise pollution, but also have sophisticated tools available, such as an annually updated National Transportation Noise Map. Created by The Bureau of Transportation Statistics, a division of the United States Department of Transportation, this allows users to see the noise generated in particular neighborhoods.
To help commercial real estate pros as well as investors, developers, and owners proactively fix the noise problem to insure property value, they need to understand that existing windows – not walls – account for up to 90% of external noise penetration. However, traditional dual pane windows are not actually designed to reduce noise, and there often isn’t time or money available to do a full scale window replacement project when a commercial development needs to be put up for sale.
Fortunately, many industry pros are discovering how to increase property value, potential selling price and expedite the sale of commercial properties. They are accomplishing this by helping owners or developers to economically soundproof the most problematic existing windows and patio doors (facing traffic etc.) in a matter of hours, using technology derived from recording studios.
Traditional Window Troubles
Dual pane replacement windows are designed to keep out heat and cold, but not noise. While the seals of a new window provide some noise reduction, the two pieces of glass in dual pane windows are separated by an air space, and sealed into one solid glass unit. Like a drum, this causes both pieces of glass to vibrate together. This drum effect defeats the noise reduction benefit of dual pane windows.
Instead, a growing number of real estate pros are finding a solution to the noise problem for their clients by recommending a more modern soundproofing technology.
For example, some are turning to companies like Soundproof Windows, Inc., a company with expertise engineering windows for some of the most noise sensitive environments in the world, such as recording studios.
The company has adapted recording studio window soundproofing technology for commercial properties by creating a secondary soundproofing window that installs inside, behind the existing window. The product is custom designed specifically to match – and function – like the original window. Installation is simple, straightforward, and usually can be completed in about an hour or two.
The inner window essentially reduces noise from entering on three fronts: the type of materials used to make the pane, the ideal air space between original window and insert, and finally improved, long-lasting seals. The combination can reduce external noise by up to 95%.
The first noise barrier is laminated glass, which dampens sound vibration much like a finger on a wine glass stops it from ringing when struck. An inner PVB layer of plastic further dampens sound vibrations.
Air space of 2-4 inches between the existing window and the Soundproof Window also significantly improves noise reduction because it isolates the window frame from external sound vibrations.
Finally, the company places spring-loaded seals in the second window frame. This puts a constant squeeze on the glass panels, which prevents sound leaks and helps to stop noise from vibrating through the glass. These spring-loaded seals stay as acoustically sound 15 years down the road as they were on day one.
Selling Hard-to-Sell Properties
When it comes to quickly closing the deal, commercial agents and developers can particularly benefit from soundproofing hard-to-sell properties.
For example, one developer built a dozen homes near a Northern California freeway with a sound wall. However, the upstairs bedrooms overlooked the sound wall and were very noisy. He did not install soundproofing windows, but offered them as an upgrade. Almost all of the buyers bought the upgrade.
Near the end of the project, the developer stated: “It took me over a year to sell these homes in this active Northern California housing market. If I would have just installed [the soundproof] windows in all the homes to begin with, I know I would have sold all of them within four months. The interest I would have saved would have paid for the windows several times over. I won’t make that mistake again.” He bought windows for the last three remaining homes and sold them within a few weeks.
Quickly Raising Multi-Unit Value
“When a large, multi-story apartment complex was built in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, next to Union Station, the original patio doors and windows failed to meet the city’s noise compliance code for new construction,” says Ryan Sanquist, President of Ryan Sanquist Installations (RSI), a contractor specializing in patio door and window installation for commercial properties.
Because tearing these out and starting over would balloon costs, soundproofing about 150 existing patio doors and 350 existing windows was the option chosen, according to Sanquist.
To resolve the situation as well as improve rental values, sliding glass doors and windows from Soundproof Windows were added to the project.
“The soundproofing quickly handled the noise issue for the apartment building developer, its property manager, and its tenants,” says Sanquist. “It became a more desirable place to live, capable of satisfying code and sustaining higher rental rates than it otherwise would have.”
Sanquist also points to the successful use of soundproof sliding doors and windows at a prestigious Los Angeles retirement community that required noise reduction due to its proximity to two busy freeways.
Boosting Commercial Value: Added Energy Savings and Security
Such soundproofing in commercial properties can also provide substantial benefits in reducing energy costs. Adding another window or sliding door provides an additional layer of insulation, which can reduce the heating-cooling portion of energy bills by 15-30%. This also helps to stop air infiltration around leaky seals, which improves comfort and increases the property’s perceived value.
Another important side benefit to this soundproofing approach is security enhancement, since its construction helps to deter burglary/breaking and entering through typical windows or sliding glass doors. While standard or tempered glass windows or sliding doors can be shattered by a sharp blow, the laminated glass used in such soundproofing offers significant break-in protection because it is shatter resistant and tends to remain intact even after repeated blows. Such laminated glass is actually a major component of most bulletproof glass.
The bottom line for real estate professionals is that by helping their clients to selectively soundproof the windows and sliding glass doors that are most problematic, they can quickly handle any external noise issues. This can not only help to expedite the sale but also maximize the selling price.
For more information, contact Soundproof Windows, Inc. at 4673 Aircenter Circle, Reno, NV 89502; call 1-877-438-7843; email sales@soundproofwindows.com; or visit https://www.soundproofwindows.com.

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