chicago-condos & Chicago Homes & Condominium Chicago Administrator on 16 Nov 2006 12:31 am

Chicago Condo Buyers: Ensure You Buy the Best

Many condo buyers are subject to the allure of the luxury living of upscale condominiums.  However, many people fail to ask the appropriate questions especially during pre-sale time.  Whether it’s a new construction condos, condo conversions or hotel condos, Chicagoans must always inquire about certain aspects that pertain to the building structure of what could be their next new home.

Developers, the NAHB - National Association of Home Builders, and the NAR - National Association of Realtors all track complaints issued by condo owners and all list noise as one of the top three typical complaints of Chicago condo owners.  There are many codes in place that regulate the minimum STC level for condominium construction.

What is STC?  STC in building terms is sound transmission class and this is the level at which sound travels through different mediums.  Building codes today have improved, however STC ratings for condo buildings in Chicago have been known to range from 30 to 65.  In terms of sound reduction, an STC of 20 lets relatively all sound pass through, so you’re very likely to hear, interpret, and be annoyed by your neighbors.  A standard in place now is an STC of 30, which reduces sound greatly, however, you’re still very likely to know what your neighbors favortie band or television show is because these types of high decibal sounds still creap through.

If you’re looking to purchase a condo in Chicago, be sure to ask what the STC rating of the walls you will share with your neighbors will be, as this could make or break your condo buying experience.

Condo conversion units typically don’t have the best STC rating as they were previously apartments and since they weren’t initially intended for long-term use the cost of developing highy condensed and insulated walls for purposes of sound reduction is neither economical nor a priority.

In Chicago new construction condos are very likely to have excellent STC ratings as the codes in Chicagoland have improved, but also, the developers have targeted Chicago’s downtown for many of their major developments and noise reduction in metropolitan locations is a must.  But be sure to inquire during pre-sales to ensure you get what you pay for.

Chicago hotel condos offer a unique trait in that they build the condo units with the same resilience and fortitude as they do the hotel units.  Very seldom will you find a hotel condo that has been built or is in the making, that isn’t constructed for mass sound reduction.  Why?  Well hotel developers know that luxury is key and ensuring the customers satisfaction is #1.  Since this is the case, hotel condos encompass the same standards as the hotel and so far, all the hotel condos in Chicago already have a predetermined following.  Would you expect to stay at the Hilton and hear all the hustle and bustle of the wedding reception being held in the banquet hall below?  Not at all….if so, why would you stay at the Hilton.

Question before you purchase any condominium unit as you never want to regret selecting the wrong Chicago home.  If you do have problems with noise, don’t forget that this is why you have a home owners association in place whenever you purchase your new condo.  The fees may seem hefty, however, the association is there to assist you in any qualms you may have with the building and your living environment.

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