House hunting can be a fun and exciting time. For someone who suffers from Misophonia, it can be downright terrifying! Looking for a perfect home is not as easy as it sounds. First, you prepare your wish list, and prioritize your “must haves.” Luckily, with the internet and realtor websites, you can shop online and weed out many homes. The dreaded day will come when you need to go “shopping” and look at these homes in person! When you suffer from Misophonia, you must prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
My husband was relocated to a town over 6 hours from our home, and we were given one month to move out of state. In our case, we did not have the luxury of time on our side.
Ideally, we wanted to build our home, to make sure we had all of the things on our wish list. One major item was specifically designed for me, something we would most likely not find in a pre-existing home, a soundproofed room! My own personal space on the opposite side of the house, possibly a room over the garage that I could go to and just “be” without hearing the tv blaring or my daughter giggling incessantly on her phone. Building a home takes a minimum of 6 months based on the provision that the weather cooperates. Clearly, building a home was not in our immediate future. Sure, we could have opted to live somewhere temporarily while the home was being built, but frankly, I did not want to have to move twice.
After countless hours on realtor websites, we were able to narrow our list down to properties that we were really interested in viewing. Next, we had to schedule showings. Breathe… I was not looking forward to this part. I made sure that our realtor was aware that I had Misophonia. I know! You are probably thinking, why would she do that? She is not going to understand Misophonia! Granted, I put it in the simplest of terms, that I have an extreme aversion to sound that will evoke an immediate fight or flight, and the results would not be good for anyone if I were triggered. With that in mind, our family took our own car and followed the realtor from property to property instead of the traditional ride-along.
It’s actually kind of funny to think about things a normal person would look for in a home. Most people look at the foundation, the mechanicals, neighbors, etc. As a Misophonia sufferer, I am looking at a home for possible triggers, which definitely helped narrow our list down even further.
House #1- This was a nice house but the homes were pretty close to each other. It was literally about a block away from the high school, a plus on one hand, since my daughter is a freshman, but on the other hand, there would be school bells, football games, etc. Reject!
House #2- This was a house I absolutely fell in love with online. As we pulled up to the home, neighbors are not super close, bonus! It is the last house on the block in what would most likely end up being a cul de sac and it backed up to farmland. New house construction sounds? Kill me now! However, the new builds would probably be years down the road as the end of the block was still working farmland, as in harvesting equipment. I am pretty positive that farm equipment would be loud and trigger me. Reject!
House #3- The first thing I see on his block is there are several homes on the block with basketball nets in the driveway! No need to even look at the house, thank you, the last thing I need to hear is bouncing basketballs from multiple houses all summer long.
House #4- Too close to the airport, keep going.
House #5- Another property that I really loved online. There was an issue with the lockbox, and it kept beeping as my realtor tried to retrieve the key. Not good, panic was setting in as tears start welling up in my eyes then suddenly PINCH! What the heck? A wasp just stung me on the back of the neck. Sorry, but I think I am taking that as a sign. Yes, it was without a doubt a sign, we did go inside and the floors were squeaky! Three strikes! Moving on.
House #5- My realtor points out there is a busy street nearby, “you may have a lot of traffic sounds.” Guess we will rule that one out too! At least she was mindful and taking the fact that noise factors were a serious deal-breaker for us.
Our realtor offered to buy us lunch. Gasp! Thank you for the offer, but we really need to be heading home. (I cannot eat in restaurants, but I did not want to go through that whole explanation, sometimes less is more).
I was very fortunate on my house hunting day, none of the homeowners were home and about half the houses we looked at were new construction. We did manage to find a home that satisfied almost everything on my want list, my husband not so much, but he is hardly ever home, anyway! Although it does not have a sound-proof room, it does have a full basement which offers the potential to make the whole level sound-proofed when we finish it.
When you are house-hunting, you are shopping for a permanent home, so it is very important to find not only a place that you love but a place where you can feel safe. This is a long term commitment, so it is pretty critical to make sure this is the right house or apartment for you. Granted, we cannot avoid all triggers but in this case, you are in total control, you know your triggers. Some things to keep in mind when house or apartment shopping are to be aware of any possible triggers and make sure that your realtor is aware of your condition. In our case, we were completely unfamiliar with the area and because our agent knew about my condition, she was able to point out potential triggers. Remember, a house or apartment is not just an address, it is your safe HOME and your home should be a place that you feel safe.Want to learn more? Join a Workshop with Dr. Jennifer Brout or Duke CMER at Misophonia Education.