How many shared walls are there?
Is it on a top floor?
Are you near a main road/ how is the road noise?
Is there a bus stop nearby? Buses are loud!
Listen for obvious interior noise, is there an old or loud HVAC system?
Windows double-paned for sound proofing? *Most external noise can be significantly muffled by soundproofing your windows.
If you will have roommates, how thin are the walls? How echo-y is the space? *Checkout my post on how to soundproof your room if you have roommates.
Is there a corner unit available? *Look for apartments that are rear-facing and/or are on the top floor corner.
Who are the neighbors, are they college students? Is it a family? Take note for noise regulation/noise ordinances.
Common outside noisy locations to pay attention for:
-hospitals, police and fire stations (think sirens)
-religious institutions (crowds, traffic and church bells/calls to prayer, etc.)
-busy avenues (car horns, and trucks bouncing over manhole covers and potholes), -busy intersections (gridlock!)
-elementary schools (playground noise).
-trash dumpsters that will be emptied while you are trying to sleep
-construction project or large empty lot that may become a construction site
- Living next to the lobby, above the boiler room, beneath a roof deck or near a mechanical room, trash chute, elevator or elevator shaft will be noisy. Avoid these locations inside an apartment building.
- Visit the apartment or the neighborhood at different times of the day and at night so that you are able to get an idea of the noise level.
- Consider a prewar building, construction materials were thicker and are naturally more soundproof.
- When you are looking for an apartment, start by calling various locations and asking if they have a top floor unit available. Being on the top floor can reduce an immense amount of noises. And remember, advocate for yourself!