Home Buying in 95035>Question Details

Reddy, Home Buyer in 95136

Home value next to a train track? Does it affect the home price?

Asked by Reddy, 95136 Sun Sep 18, 2011

I looked at a town house near Great Mall in Milpitas. I really like the home but it is located next to a rail track. According to the current home owner and a neighbour it is a freight train that runs 4 to 6 times in the morning every day. According to them it is loud but not sure about virbation. Is it really going to affect the home price. If so how much price should be reduced from neighbour houses that are away from the tracks. It is not a VTA track.

Help the community by answering this question:


I've been in those units and have felt the vibration. It's subtle in the day-time, so I'm assuming it's more noticible in the evening. Yes, the proximity of the train tracks definitely affects the home price. The discount is roughly $20-$40K depending on the relative location of the unit by the sound wall and train track. This discount should already be factored into the current listing price.

The net effect of this price discount is to ensure the unit is priced appropriately, as already demonstrated by your own visit to the property. If the unit were not discounted relative to the other units in the community, neither you nor any other potential buyers would even consider visiting. Hence, when you buy such a unit, you're simply accepting the trade-off of some noise for a discount. In turn, you'll just have to pass on this same discount when you turn around and sell again. When the market appreciates again, you'll still enjoy a proportionate gain.
Web Reference: http://www.archershomes.com
3 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 18, 2011
For those folks who have taken such a staunch and determined stance against Reddy purchasing this home close to a RR track please indulge me for a moment if you will. I'm not trying to be argumentative or difficult but this person is reaching out to we professionals with a question that could impact one one of the most important decisions he will make for years to come.

Perhaps you should inform the folks that live 50 feet from the RR tracks along the Santa Barbara, Ventura, San Juan Capistrano, San Clemente and North San Diego Coastline that they made a bad investment and will be losing money on their multi-million dollar properties. Maybe you should even try to convince me that my beach casita which overlooks the RR tracks in Encinitas and which I listen to and watch everyday was a poor choice as well.

Additionally, we are in the throes of building a multi million dollar 5 star water front Hotel Resort that backs right up to the RR tracks, http://www.surferspointresort.com. The tracks are subterranean and will be less than 50 feet from the backside of the double insulated villas that we will be building.

We've had countless clients visit the site (Northwest corner of Coast Highway 101 and La Costa Ave, in Leucadia) and they never even heard the train as it went by. I actually had to point to the train as it was passing. Additionally, our neighbor on the other side of the tracks built a multi million dollar home about the same distance away from the tracks as our resort.

We asked him what he thought about the tracks and he echoed our sentiment. "I consider it a very charming amenity and actually enjoy it" Might you inform this very successful and sophisticated individual that he too made a big mistake? Different strokes for different folks.

Has anyone thought to ask Reddy any pertinent details i.e. quality of the neighborhood, condition and acoustics of the home, landscape (are there shrubs, berms, sound walls, etc? Is the home near a whistle stop where the sound of the whistle could possibly be an irritant?

It sure isn't with me. We built our beach casita in 06 (Diana St and Coast Highway 101) and have thoroughly enjoyed every day between listening to the sound of the waves crashing on the beach or the sound of the whistle and the roar of the train whisking by.

Now, having said all that, if the property that Reddy is contemplating is in a geographically undesirable location i.e. a low end or blighted urban part of a city or an economically or functionally obsolete part of a community that is not in the path of progress then I would advise him to do a little chin rubbing before pulling the trigger.

But I don't think it's our place to just throw up all the red flags and take such an adamant stance until we have all the facts and understand all the dynamics. Just my opinion. BTW please feel free to do a Google Earth on the locations and addresses I've provided and take a look see for yourself it just may surprise you.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 9, 2011
I don't believe it affects the home value, it just may reduce the number of interested people. I lived next to a train track for a time, after two nights, was used to it and after I moved, had to get used to not hearing the trains in the night.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 9, 2012
The condos near Great Mall is a good investment and the property value will appreciate in future. Even with the freight trains running over the last ten years, the properties closer to the line sold at the highest prices on a par with other properties in Milpitas and the rest of the Bay Area during 2005-2008. The 1012 sq.ft., two bedroom condos sold for $515k at its highest. You will see these prices back on the properties as soon as the real estate rebounds. The freight trains are being relocated to another area near Dixon Landing. Bart to Milpitas,San Jose and Berryessa is scheduled to run on those lines with a station in Montague close to Light Rail. BART is one of the quietest public transportation systems in the country. The article below tells you how property values appreciate when they are located closer to Train Stations.

Please check this link.

1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 6, 2012
Some folks along the North San Diego Coast i.e.Oceanside, Carlsbad, Leucadia, Encinitas, Cardiff, Solona Beach actually consider the RR as somewhat of an amenity. It adds to the charm and character of the area. I lived 50 feet from the RR track for 2&1/2 years when I was working as a general contractor in Simi Valley after the 1994 Northridge earthquake.

After the first week or so I never heard the trains go by and they to had several freight trains, Metro and Amtrack going by all day and night. I'm not arguing that it's not a take away on RE value. My point is that it shouldn't necessarily be a deal breaker if it's a property you really like.

Now having said that, if you have young children and there's easy access to the RR I think you would want to consider accordingly. But if it's just you and your significant other I certainly wouldn't let it be the reason to walk away from a deal that you really like.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 19, 2011
No question it will surpress the value. The closer to the tracks the worse.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 8, 2011
My advice, have nothing to do with this home. Find another. No Price you pay will make a difference. Resale will be most difficult!!! Steer clear.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 8, 2011
Dear Reddy,
Well yes actually, anything that might disturb the property owner is considered a nuisance. How much it will detract, depends upon the buyer. The buyers are the ones who actually set the price and place the value on a particular property. In other words, a property is only worth, what someone is willing to pay for it.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 8, 2011
Hi Reddy,

If you think you can sleep while trains are cruising through your home than it's no problem. However, not every one will like it and that is the key for the property value once you decide to sell.

Hope this help.
Web Reference: http://www.4reohomes.us
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 7, 2011
Hi Reddy:

While a home next to a train track definitely affects the price adversely, it is more important to
find out what is the comparable for neighborhood Properties and whether the Price Discount
has been factored in.

Also more importantly check how may units are foreclosing or have been served with a NOD.

Remember, down the road it becomes harder to sell, as a future buyer will likely have the same concerns.


It is interesting note that you are looking to move from Blossom Valley to Milpitas.


Good luck.
P Mistry
Web Reference: http://www.ruthandperry.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 1, 2011
No question it will affect the price of the home.

How much? That totally depends on the potential buyers. Some buyers will not even consider your home due to the proximity to the track. And thereby your buyer pool will be significantly reduced... and that will eventually costs you money as a seller.

Keep in mind, assuming that the current homeowner and the neighbour are correct and the train runs 4-6 times in the a.m., doesn't mean that's always going to be the schedule on that track. You could find, that the week after you've purchased, that the railroad decides to rededicate that track, and it will be having cross-country freight trains every hour on the hour throughout the entire day.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 19, 2011
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in 60201
True Story:

In the late 1960's my wife and I were looking to buy our first home (in Massachusetts) and were considering an old farmhouse that was located a few hundred yards from a rail line. My wife ans I agreed that we didn't want a rail line that close to our home and children. We had considered the noise but not what commercial rail lines carry. A couple of weeks later a train hauling tanks of chlorine gas derailed at that spot. No leakage but think what could have happened.

Moral? Think of what can happen in the area you are considering buying, then decide if you can live with the worst case scenario.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 19, 2011
Tf: Yes, generally, this will affect value.

Just some obvious questions to ponder:

Are you a light sleeper?

When do the 4-6 times start/stop and will this affect your sleep pattern?

How much will you be spending on prescriptions for sleep? ;-)

There are few ways to approach this situation:

1) Perform an objective review of sold homes that are right next to the tracks like the subject property versus those that are not.

2) Individually come up with a personal subjective opinion of what the discount needs to be to compensate you sufficiently for taking on the noise/vibration issue. Depending on the answers you mentally answered at the beginning of the post you might find the subjective answer more useful for making a decision. Of course, the Seller may not agree.

3) Do both of the above!

Best, Steve
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 19, 2011
Greetings Tf,

I agree with Tina. A good agent will have discussed the negative features of the home with the seller and priced it accordingly.

As a Buyer you will have to decide if the discounted value is enough for you. Understand that at resale time you will be faced with this same objection.

I am one of those crazy people that love the sound of a train. I don't know that I would love it disturbing my sleep. So verify with the rail system as to the times. Also, talk with neighbors, they'll give you the straight scoop.

All the best to you.
Web Reference: http://www.terrivellios.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 19, 2011

ABSOLUTELY.......proximity to railways, airports, landfills, freeways, industrial centers, etc. all have an impact on a home's value. Rest assures, that if you get a good buy on any property located in one of these areas that any future buyer will expect at least the same.

The best way to gauge the amount the property should be discounted is by closly evaluating the comps for recently sold property in the same area. This should provide you with a good basis for making an offer that can be backed up with accurate support information.

Remember the three most important features about a home:


Best wishes,

0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 19, 2011
I couldn't tell you how much, but if it's loud, it's not good. It will very likely effect resale value and it's not something you can change like paint, carpet or kitchen cabinets.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 18, 2011
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