I sold a home to a relatively young family with 2 little kids. The location of the house, the layout and the interior finishes were exactly what they were looking for – a great match. 

About 2 weeks after they moved I happened to bump into this particular buyer at a wedding between mutual friends. She looked terrible, had bags under her eyes and was walking like she was half drunk. I was concerned so I went up to her and asked if everything was ok? She said “No, everything is not ok.” “I’m sorry to hear, what happened?”  I asked. I was expecting her to say that one of her children was sick and she and her husband were worried. 

Instead, she responded that  every night both she and her husband get into bed, all gets very quiet in the house and then it begins….a creak in the wall, a rustle in the ceiling, a low whistling sound…

“What’s that sound?” she asked her husband. On the 1st night, she wasn’t sure if he said it as a joke or maybe it was the first thing that popped into his head…but those 4 words came out of his mouth. “Maybe it’s a mouse?” She told me that she hasn’t slept since.

As a realtor my involvement in home sales is mostly during the daytime and early evening hours when there is noise coming from all about, ie, conversations between customers, a laundry machine on the second floor or a landscaper across the street. I am never in a house when the day is truly over and everyone has gone to sleep. I’m referring to that time of day right before you close your eyes when nothing is moving in the home and you start to hear noises… noises of a ticking clock, noises of loud kitchen appliances, noises that a home just makes. Every house “owns” its own unique sounds. 

I think anyone who has moved into a new house can relate. There is that unfamiliar period of time when everything is still so new and fresh (like not knowing which light switch controls what.) You discover the way the sun shines into each room, the way a certain tree looks outside a window that you didn’t notice before.  And, of course, the sounds that every house is bound to make especially at night when even the faintest of noises may reveal themselves. 

Though I’m sure there has been a mouse or two in some of our local homes, I knew that the sounds in question that my young buyer was describing were not the sounds of mice.   

After confirming that she had already had an exterminator check this out only to find no evidence of mice, I advised her to call the home inspector who was already familiar with this house. Mike would have a better chance of clarifying the source of the noise. Sure enough he went into the master bedroom and waited and waited until the sound occurred. “That is the wood contracting in between the walls” he declared. He explained that the heating pipes running to the radiator heated up the wood in the walls which made them expand. When the heat went off and the pipes cooled the wood began losing its heat and would slowly contract to make the faintest popping sounds that you would hear sitting up in your bed at night with no other sounds around to hide them. 

Eventually we all become accustomed to the sounds of our homes, and if we are happy in them, the little noises we hear only endear us to them more (like a snoring husband).


Nechama Polak is the Broker of Record and Owner of V and N Group LLC. V & N Realty is located at 1401 Palisade Ave in Teaneck, NJ. Feel free to email Nechama at nechamapolak@gmail.com or call 201.826.8809.