An obnoxious neighbor is one of the worst nightmares a homebuyer doesn’t even realize they have — until they’re awoken by a neighbor’s party at 3:15 in the morning.

Once a homebuyer discovers their new neighbor throws loud parties every weekend, it’s usually too late to change their mind. In Sacramento, homebuyers can look at a map put together by the Sacramento Bee to get some indication about whether their neighborhood is prone to noise complaints.

The neighborhoods receiving the most noise complaints — over 75 complaints each during the past year — are spread across the city limits and include those near:

  • Del Paso Boulevard;
  • Midtown;
  • Oak Park;
  • Valley Hi; and
  • the Regency Park neighborhood.

Neighborhoods with the fewest noise complaints — fewer than two complaints apiece over the past year — include:

  • the Pocket;
  • South Land Park; and
  • East Sacramento.

Advice for agents

Is there any recourse for a homebuyer who finds out about the noisy neighbor after they move in?

It’s possible, but difficult. You see, the seller of a one-to-four unit residential property is required to fill out and deliver a statutory form called a Transfer Disclosure Statement (TDS), also known as a Condition of Property Disclosure Statement. [Calif. Civil Code §§1102(a), 1102.3; see RPI Form 304]

The TDS directs the seller to disclose any known defects, including neighborhood noise problems or nuisances since these are conditions which might negatively affect the value and desirability of the property.

When an agent fails to disclose a defect which a reasonable physical inspection of the property would have uncovered, the homebuyer has two years from the close of escrow to pursue the seller’s broker and agent to recover losses caused by the broker’s or agent’s negligent failure to disclose observable and known defects affecting the property’s value. [CC §2079.4]

However, no reasonable inspection by the agent will uncover excess noise if it occurs late at night. Therefore, it’s up to the seller to disclose a known noise problem. But if the seller does not believe the noise constitutes a nuisance, they will not disclose it. So it’s difficult for a homebuyer to prove seller deceit in this matter.

One way for homebuyers to make sure the area is the right fit is to take a walk in the neighborhood after dark. This will give them a sense of whether the neighborhood is the right noise level for their lifestyle.

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