A friend of mine recently asked if soundproofing adds any value to a home. This made me realize I’d never actually thought about this, and so I felt I needed to do a bit of research to get a good answer.
So, does soundproofing add value to a home? There isn’t one answer as to whether soundproofing would add value to a home, as it depends on many factors. For example, soundproofing an apartment against traffic and noisy neighbors will almost definitely add value, whereas a soundproof basement in a detached house might not.
A few months ago, I wrote an article “Is soundproofing worth the money?” which is a detailed cost benefit analysis of soundproofing.
In this article, I’m going to look at whether soundproofing adds value to a home in more detail, along with situations in which is will, and ones in which it won’t. However, I’ll get this out of the way now and say that future property value should be the last thing you consider when planning a soundproofing project.
Does soundproofing add property value?
Working out whether something will add value to your property is an understandable thing to consider when making changes. After all, if you’re planning on sinking quite a bit of money into this project then you’ll probably want to see some kind of return, right?
On one level, many buyers will appreciate the value a significant structural upgrade can make to a property. However, this is mostly true about run-of-the-mill changes, such as a new bathroom or kitchen. These things are expensive, and buyers will appreciate the fact that it’s not something they’ll have to do.
The same is true about fitting a new roof or windows; these are things that potential buyers can see and they’ll usually have an idea of price. Visible upgrades like this can obviously make a tempting offer to buyers, and are much easier for appraisers to quantify.
Something like soundproofing, however, is a bit more complicated to gauge when it comes to resale value. For starters, soundproofing solutions aren’t generally something you’d see when viewing a property, and you’ll most likely have to be told they’re there.
Although thermal insulation is slightly different, the same is true: people are less interested in upgrades they can’t see. Many potential buyers probably won’t be bothered whether a property is now warmer than it was, although they will care more if they decide to buy it.
What’s more, soundproofing is generally a more niche interest, although many people probably don’t even realize how useful it is in a normal setting, such as a home.
If you tell people you’ve got a soundproof room, they’ll probably think you’ve either got a recording studio or home theater (read my guide on soundproofing home theater and media rooms). While this might make your property sound more expensive, it unfortunately doesn’t add actual value to it.
Another thing to consider is the reason you soundproofed your property in the first place.
For example, if you soundproofed your basement to build a home theater, then the only way this will really add value is either if your buyer is interested in building their own home theater, or if you plan on leaving yours behind. Either way, any increase in value will be negligible.
Another example would be you soundproofing your apartment (RELATED ARTICLE) to deal with noisy neighbors. In this situation, soundproofing might add indirect value to your property because it would be a more attractive property than the same apartment without soundproofing. However, any increase in value won’t correlate to the amount you spent on the project.
The bottom line is this: soundproofing generally won’t add value to your home, and definitely won’t add enough to match what you paid for it. If your intention was to add value to your property, then consider this a lost investment. However, if your aim was to improve your quality of living, and any money back is a bonus, then you won’t be unhappy with the outcome.
Are there ways to increase property value with soundproofing?
While it’s fair to say that in most situations adding soundproofing to a property won’t add value, there are ways that you can certainly try to increase your property’s resale value using soundproofing as a selling point. One example is the soundproof apartment I mentioned above. Along with this, it’s worth considering the following:
- Although it’s not the main intention, soundproofing may improve your property’s insulation and energy rating. Again, this might not add value, but it can make your property more appealing.
- Push your property at particular demographics, such as musicians. A musician who records at home would probably jump at the chance to not have to build their own soundproof space.
- However, this can be a bit of a risk and the amount you could increase the asking price by wouldn’t be much. After all, you wouldn’t want to shut out all other potential buyers for the chance that a musician might want to buy your soundproof home.
- Make sure your realtor knows about the soundproofing you’ve installed in the property. They’ll be able to give you more specific information during appraisal, along with recommending how it can be used as a selling point.
- Again, they might be happy to use this as a selling point, but you can’t guarantee it’ll add direct value. You might see indirect value, however, through a quicker sale that saves you having to drop the asking price.
Another option is to use soundproofing methods that might not be the most effective in terms of noise reduction, but are more visible and tangible. As I said above, potential buyers are looking for things that justify them spending money on your property.
While increasing property value should never be your main focus when soundproofing, there are definitely options worth investing your money in, including:
- If your property hasn’t already got it, upgrade to double (or triple) glazing. Not only will this reduce noise pollution, but it’ll improve thermal insulation too. What’s more, changing the windows is one of those things buyers love because it’s a big job.
- Similarly, if you’re wanting to reduce traffic noise, consider planting a hedge at your property boundary. Something dense like juniper, laurel, or privet will not only block some noise, but also offer more privacy in your property and yard.
- If you’re changing any flooring as part of your plan to increase value, don’t cut corners on the underlay. While many buyers might replace carpet, fewer will look to replace hardwood floor, especially if it’s good quality. An effective underlay will improve your energy rating, which can add value.
- Installing composite, rather than hollow doors will again improve soundproofing in your home, but also improve thermal insulation. This is one of the riskier options because not many people will be able to tell the difference, but they might be interested once the realtor tells them.
- Don’t underestimate the draw a peaceful property can have for people. Sure, it might not add direct value to your home, but it can definitely make it sell faster.
Is soundproofing a good investment?
Based on what I said above, you might be wondering whether soundproofing is even a good investment for your property. However, it’s worth remembering that financial return has never, and will never be, the main goal of soundproofing. If you’re looking for good financial return, consider trying the stock market.
The thing about soundproofing is that, to do it properly, you’ll end up spending a lot of money. But if you’re doing it properly then you’ve likely got good reason to. For example, if you’re building a home theater or a recording studio.
I definitely consider soundproofing to be a good investment, but not necessarily a financial one. The primary aim of soundproofing, when it comes down to it, is to improve your quality of living. This could mean drowning out traffic noise or improving acoustics in your lounge. Either way, it means making you more comfortable in your home.
For this reason, always look at soundproofing as a non-financial investment that will last on a long-term basis. After all, you can’t expect any financial return, so stay away from options that might need replacing after a few years because these will gradually get more expensive over time.
However, don’t let thinking about it this way put you off. If you feel that soundproofing is a useful addition to your property while you live there, then go ahead with your soundproofing project. You’ll find the difference it makes to be well worth the money you spend.
Which is better, permanent or temporary soundproofing?
You might be thinking to yourself whether it’s worth soundproofing your property if it’s only going to end up as wasted money. For this reason, you might be considering more temporary options for soundproofing, rather than spending time and money on something you’ll have to leave behind when you move.
There are a few things worth considering if you’re trying to weigh up whether permanent or temporary soundproofing is the best idea for you. Some of these things include:
- How long do you plan on staying at this property? If the answer is less than a year, then I probably wouldn’t bother. If it’s less than 5 years, go ahead and make any changes you want. 5 years is a long time if you’ve got noisy neighbors.
- Why do you want a soundproof space? If it’s to cut out noise pollution from a road or neighbors, then it’s probably worth it regardless of how long you’ll be living in this property. That said, if it’s only a short time, consider more temporary options such as window boxes.
- How much of the property are you soundproofing? If it’s only a single room, then it shouldn’t take too long regardless of what you’re doing to it. However, if you’re soundproofing several rooms and have plans to move in the future, it might not be worth the money you’ll spend.
- What’s your budget, and how will you be impacted by losing this money? By losing, I mean investing in soundproofing and not seeing again. If you’ve got plenty of money, then it won’t really be an issue, but if you’re having to save up for your soundproofing project, then maybe don’t bother if you’re planning to move in the next year or two.
When I say temporary soundproofing solutions, I mean simple things like hanging heavy drapes on the wall or building sound blocking boxes for your windows. These options are inexpensive and generally aren’t that practical, unless you’re on a very tight budget.
Permanent options would include anything that involves structural changes, such as decoupling a wall, or anything that involves a reasonable amount of DIY. A good example of this would be adding mass to the walls, as this’ll usually involve building frames or panels and fixing them to the wall.
It’s fair to say that not many of us plan ahead when it comes to moving house, unless you have a fixed-term job or a contract on your current rental property. If you own your home, or have a mortgage, you probably don’t have plans to move on any time soon.
Of course, adding property value isn’t always related to moving house in the near future. All of us look for ways to improve our property’s value, and this is completely reasonable. However, you still need to find a balance between you enjoying the property while you live in it and your potential returns when you do want to move out.
If you’re a homeowner and you’re considering soundproofing, then I’d say go ahead. After all, you can find much better ways to add value to your property, and you can save these for when you’re thinking about moving. A brand new bathroom in 5 years time will be much more tempting to potential buyers than a brand new bathroom for you now that’ll be 5 years old by the time they see it.
Some final thoughts
While soundproofing is unlikely to add value to a home, this will realistically vary between properties. It’s always worth asking the person appraising your house whether it has any impact, as your setting might make a difference. Either way, don’t soundproof for resale value, do it for the benefits it has on your quality of life.