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Midnight home buying

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#1 oldtimer

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Posted 14 April 2020 - 01:58 AM

When you were in the process of looking for a new home for whatever reason did you check candidates at night? Did you check the back yard lighting of the houses on each side of you? What about street lights? During he day did you also check out  how much sky you could see? Was your partner aware of you doing this? Were they OK with it?

 

When family issues forced me to move back to Chicagoland from the country my wife did not exactly approve of the house I found acceptable. Actually I really got lucky as my daughter had just bought a home in a small unincorporated subdivision in the middle of the northern suburbs and the home next door to her became available. With a golf course to my east, my daughter to the west , a tree line to my rear and no streetlights, direct light pollution was not a problem, I also have a nice view of the ecliptic. Yes it's a red zone but still enjoyable. 

 

Gary (old-timer)


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#2 DLuders

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Posted 14 April 2020 - 03:06 AM

No, when we were shopping for a house last summer, we were happy to get an adequate dwelling without any regard to nearby Light Pollution.  The housing market in the Spokane area was (at the time) the 3rd hottest in the nation, and choices were limited.  With the COVID-19 restrictions (prohibiting residential construction), the housing market is going to get tighter.  


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#3 Kendahl

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Posted 14 April 2020 - 02:44 PM

With the COVID-19 restrictions (prohibiting residential construction), the housing market is going to get tighter.  

We moved to eastern Arizona last fall and put our previous house on the market in November. I believe we were very lucky to unload it for a reasonable price in mid February before the pandemic interrupted everything. Right now, I don't see how realtors can show properties or, with people losing their jobs at least temporarily, how banks will provide mortgages. That said, if you are a buyer with cash, you should be able to get a very good price.



#4 ngc7319_20

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Posted 15 April 2020 - 08:11 AM

When you were in the process of looking for a new home for whatever reason did you check candidates at night? Did you check the back yard lighting of the houses on each side of you? What about street lights? During he day did you also check out  how much sky you could see? Was your partner aware of you doing this? Were they OK with it?

 

Haha... Funny you should ask.  I'd looked at houses for about a year doing the usual things -- real estate ads, realtor appointments, open-houses, etc.  Didn't find anything I liked.  One night I dropped off some optics at the main UPS which was pretty far out of town, and just for jollies decided to keep driving in the direction of darker skies. After about an hour of this nonsense I happened upon a wonderful spot that was pretty dark, and zero street lights, and lots of wide open spaces.  And around the corner was a house with a "for sale" sign in the yard.   I sat there and looked at the stars for a while.  I came back and saw the house next day, and bought it 3 days later.  Still living there 20+ years later.  Depends on your priorities I guess -- or maybe priorities you didn't know you had.  Yes partner was fine with it.


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#5 SonnyE

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Posted 15 April 2020 - 12:12 PM

Actually, I did. On the last two houses.

I did my walk about, looking, listening, evaluating for myself.

I knew more about my neighbors than they knew about me before we closed escrow.

I would just show up at odd hours, walk the streets for as far as I needed to.



#6 WoodyEnd

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Posted 15 April 2020 - 05:19 PM

According to Redfin data asking prices are dropping significantly. 



#7 DSOGabe

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Posted 17 April 2020 - 03:51 PM

Actually, I did. On the last two houses.

I did my walk about, looking, listening, evaluating for myself.

I knew more about my neighbors than they knew about me before we closed escrow.

I would just show up at odd hours, walk the streets for as far as I needed to.

Actually, that is something any home buyer should do. Visit the neighborhood in the mornings, evenings and weekends Avoid the nasty surprise of the next door heavy metal punk garage band that practices at 1 am or the guy with mower at 6 am on Saturdays.

As for checking out for dark sky conditions, I didn't do that with my current house but will do that when I retire and move to a quiet small town.


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#8 vsteblina

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Posted 18 April 2020 - 06:44 PM

Yep, always.

 

Every house I bought was done with a midnight inspection.  Most were small towns and rural so it wasn’t much of an issue.

 

HOWEVER, I did make an offer on a house with a streetlight directly in front of the home.  The offer was contingent on the streetlight being removed prior to acceptance of the offer.

 

It was in a private subdivision, and I was told to buy the house and they would talk afterwards with me on removing the streetlight.  Thanks, but no thanks was my reply.  The streetlight goes or you can go find another buyer.

 

I think the house sat on the market for over six months after my offer.  It was a “corporate” transfer house so I am not sure what happened after my offer.  My realtor knew my requirements and she passed it on to the homeowners association.  

 

I think they thought I was bluffing about the light.  So it was a lesson learned by those folks that were burning money holding an empty house.


Edited by vsteblina, 18 April 2020 - 06:45 PM.

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#9 FirstSight

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Posted 28 April 2020 - 10:00 AM

In daytime, one big "tell" about your prospective neighbors is whether exterior lights are still on at noon or 2pm.  That's a clear sign that at best, they are habitually inattentive to the light / energy footprint of their house, or that they're afraid they'll forget to turn them on if they don't leave them on. Since your initial view of prospective houses is likely in daytime, this will help you initially winnow the prospects that might be worth a night-time cruise-by to check more closely for neighbors' night-time lighting habits.



#10 bogg

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Posted 29 April 2020 - 10:03 PM

Looked around for lights on all of the houses that we considered when we were buying.  Most realtors didn't understand our requirements. They kept showing us houses along the lake, (which I didn't want) and after mentioning the dark skys sent us to a house with a streetlight in the front yard and a streetlight at the back of the yard.  The neighbours house faced toward the backyard and it was mostly windows.  I don't think he could have picked a worse house to show us.  We moved on to another realtor after that.



#11 SonnyE

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Posted 30 April 2020 - 07:36 AM

Actually, that is something any home buyer should do. Visit the neighborhood in the mornings, evenings and weekends Avoid the nasty surprise of the next door heavy metal punk garage band that practices at 1 am or the guy with mower at 6 am on Saturdays.

As for checking out for dark sky conditions, I didn't do that with my current house but will do that when I retire and move to a quiet small town.

Common Sense.

Which isn't very common anymore. wink.gif

 

Good luck on your move!  waytogo.gif



#12 Mike G.

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Posted 30 April 2020 - 09:02 AM

I definitely did that before buying the lot for the house I built in 2006 (still there).  since then, the city has installed LED streetlights which my neighbors conveniently complained about and had the city install some light blocks on the lantern (apparently shining directly into their bedroom) and they also installed an 8' privacy fence so that when I am out on my deck I can't see into their windows.  I'm very fortunate to have neighbors like that.  so my back yard is pretty much as dark as it was when we bought the lot.  however, the 17 trees we planted are getting pretty tall and obscuring some of my view.  I topped the worst offender last year and it was a sore point with my wife for a good while.  probably next year there will be another confrontation over 3 or 4 more trees...



#13 chrysalis

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Posted 30 April 2020 - 11:58 AM

Yes, my wife is very loving and understanding about the needs of the hobby of astronomy. When we moved to CT, we moved about 30 miles from my work so I could be in a yellow-green zone with NO street lights and far from light pollution. The realtor even kidded me that he had learned a new phrase: "horribly wooded lot", because most people want a "nicely wooded lot" up there! Same thing happened in the move from CT to GA - look for low LP and no street lights. This time I was less than 15 miles from work, again in a yellow-green zone but which had NO light pollution to the south AND open horizon there. I recall one night sitting in the living room and I happened to notice a very bright star out the front door window, very low in the sky...it was Canopus for goodness sake!!!


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#14 Zi Mishkal

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Posted 04 May 2020 - 07:00 AM

We just moved and while it was something we considered, it was about halfway down the list of items. Fortunately, we found a home in our are which fulfilled our needs and wasn't too awful.. or so we thought. 

As it turns out, my sweet, elderly next door neighbors have dawn-to-dusk floodlights which are placed just so that they pour into both our front yard and our back. It's amazing. If they'd hired contractors and a surveyor they couldn't have done a better job than they did strictly by chance. 

I've had a few conversations with them and they're hesitant to change. My next move is to offer to pay for the replacement fixtures. The area is supposed to illuminate the small path alongside their home - but honestly, it's like using fire hose to wash a single wine glass. 



#15 bunyon

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Posted 04 May 2020 - 03:17 PM

I did. Several visits at odd times as described above. One thing I really liked about my (now) house was that the driveway was relatively dark. Not great but usable for a quick view. I knew we weren't moving to a truly dark place so that helped sell me on it.

 

Of course, I didn't look closely enough. There is a streetlight that illuminates my driveway nicely that was burned out when we bought. They "fixed" it about six months after we moved in. Which goes to the point that all that property around you belongs to someone else and can, and will, change hands. I used to have no neighbors with houselights. Now they all have them. 



#16 Mike G.

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Posted 04 May 2020 - 05:26 PM

when we moved into our house, there was a large empty field behind it with a tree line behind that - perfect for backyard observing!  shortly after building a deck with a pier, we discovered that the developer had plans filed with the city to put a parallel street behind our property so that an additional 30 houses could be built with the empty fields becoming backyards.  I immediately set about planting 13 fast growing pines and 22 arbor vitaes.  13 years later, I still have an empty field behind my house but the trees are so tall I had to top one last summer to keep my southern view decent.  the plans are still on file with the city, but with the 2008 recession, and then the current situation, I'm not expecting that to change in the near future.  if it does however, I'm ready.



#17 VinceV

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Posted 11 May 2020 - 09:07 AM

When we had our house built in 1992, the surrounding area was primarily farmland. The sky was so beautiful that the clarity of the night sky after any rainfall allowed clear views of the Milky Way. We knew that wouldn't last, but 28 years later, and a higher Bortle level and I'm still looking up from the same location. We've gone from a temporary (driveway and backyard) to a permanent observing platform (dome on top of the garage). We talk about retiring in a few years and relocating to another part of the country. When that time comes around, the dark sky goal will be a priority (again).



#18 jcj380

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Posted 11 May 2020 - 05:34 PM

Staying in the suburbs meant being in a red / pink zone no matter what.  I did check how much sky I could see and in what direction along with streetlight placement.

 

People here are are usually inclined to call the police if somebody is walking around their house at night, so nighttime recon was done by car (admittedly less than ideal).



#19 PXR-5

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Posted 11 May 2020 - 07:45 PM

We looked at this place at night 22 years ago. It was real dark.
Still isn't too bad.

TILL SATURDAY NIGHT WHEN THE GUY ACROSS THE FIELD PUT UP A YARD LIGHT DIRECTLY UNDER THE MILKY WAY!!

Sorry for shouting :(

#20 Sketcher

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Posted 22 May 2020 - 10:26 PM

No midnight home buying for me.

 

We bought an undeveloped piece of land that was more or less in the middle of nowhere.  There were no neighbors, no lights, no buildings, no well (for water), no septic tank, no drain-field, and not even any electricity -- no utility poles, and no power lines; no land-line for a telephone, and not even any cell-phone reception or Internet.  At least that was the situation when we first bought the land.

 

I did set up a telescope and do some observing there (here) before purchasing -- not that there was really any need.  It was a Bortle-1 location by today's standards, absolutely pristine, no "light domes" in any direction; and it has remained nearly the same through today -- some 40 years or so later smile.gif

 

I've observed the Horse-head Nebula with an unfiltered 5-inch telescope, Pluto with a 4-inch, etc. etc. all from this one piece of land.

 

Before building, I decided first where the observatory would be located.  Everything else was of lesser importance and was positioned with the observatory and astronomy taken into consideration.

 

As mentioned in another thread, the county I live in is larger than some U.S. states and so far has yet to have its first confirmed Covid-19 case -- another "benefit?" living away from .all the more populated areas.

 

Imagine that, an old geezer who's been living under a dark sky for most of his life.  How time flies when one's having fun!

 

M31 32 110  1 inch aperture 5 Dec 2018 20x Sketcher   text 1

 

But no, I've never done any midnight home buying. smile.gif



#21 TX4812

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Posted 28 May 2020 - 06:05 PM

Before we bought our lot to build our new house, we drove around the subdivision (no streetlights allowed, dark-sky lighting requirements in the HOA guidelines) after dark and the sky looked pretty good.  Exterior lighting on the houses was subdued and no direct glare was seen.

After completing our new house and moving in, we have fairly dark skies but the first of about a dozen model homes planned for a nearby street has been built, and it looks like this all night (picture taken from our driveway).  I plan to obtain one of CCD-Freak's skyboxes so I am not looking at this while observing.

 

Model Home 05282020.jpg


Edited by TX4812, 28 May 2020 - 06:06 PM.



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