Flight Path Disclosures?

Asked by Barry Lincoln, San Antonio, TX Wed Jun 2, 2010

I was a first time home buyer, rushed into buying a home and didn't realize it was in a flight path. I live off about 2 miles inside 1604 off of bulverde. Is it typical for your realtor to diclose whether your home is directly under a flight path. We didn't even discuss it once when going through comparables, negotiating a price for the house, nor did the appraiser put that in his report. Shouldn't this be disclosed to warn the buyer and doesn't this obviously make the home harder to sell? I am so screwed, If I don't get used to this noise, I'm going to shoot myself, foreclose or perhaps try putting in soundproofing windows which I doubt will work.

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L. E. Green…, , 78732
Sun Jun 20, 2010
I'd like to know who doesn't live in some kind of a flight path in San Antonio. I mean I really am curious if anyone escapes the noise. Every place I ever lived here was in a flight plan at some time of the year or the month.
Those of us who grew up in San Antonio, with all the military bases with airstrips, we really don't notice the planes most of the time, Even when we have to pause a conversation... it can be done totally as an unconscious habit.

We used to hold up a piece of bread at the dinner table in case the pilots were hungry when they flew over when I was little (50 yrs ago) and were right in line with one of the military runways.

Some houses may only have a noise problem at the end of the month when the military pilots are getting their hours in, or a graduation of the latest batch of trainees is coming up.
0 votes
Joe, Home Buyer, Brooklyn, NY
Sun Jun 20, 2010
Barry,

I feel for you, man. Since we have to travel by plane to SAT and have been in the home search mode for a while, we have our list of "do not wants." Right at the top of this is "plane flight path." We thought hard about it, did the reserarch and identified the problem areas. On one trip, we asked a sales agent in a really nice subdivision off Cadillac Dr. about overhead noise. She looked puzzled and said "no, none." So we hung outside the gate for a short while (like 3-5 minute) and suddenly realized we couldn't hold a conversation, opened the windows, looked up and *bang* there was a plane headed into SAT airport. Crossed that one off the list. We now hang in the yard/lawn a few minutes to make sure that noise isn't an issue, and there have been some real "buzzers" on some properties off main roads too. We've settled on areas away from the flight path.

You'd think we're used to noise coming from NYC - we are (somewhat) but would like the "peace and quiet" aspect of life. Selective noise control (when we want it). My suggestion is that you may want to check out relisting your home if you can't live with the noise or do the improvements to insulate to your satisfaction. Your yard will never be quiet. Better to cut your losses, than go nuts. Good luck.
0 votes
ApartmentReb…, , San Antonio, TX
Fri Jun 4, 2010
I visit grandmas house which is about 50 yards away from the train tracks....which we can see. You bought a house near an airport which you did not see. I hope Barry you will get used to the airplanes because I am sure you got some pretty property out there. give it some time and you will be okay.
0 votes
Dan Chase, Home Buyer, Texas City, TX
Thu Jun 3, 2010
I live over 10 miles from the airport. When the wind shifts and the places fly over they can drown out anything I am listening to. Been here a long time and I still do not like it.

It should be disclosed. Maybe it is not legally required. Maybe ethically (according to protocol) it is not required. However, anyone not knowing about it should be told.

For the future if you move consider my blog about things to ask when buying any property. I just updated it including airport flight path, high power wires, cellphone towers, highways and cemeteries. Those are all negatives. You have to ask about these things. Ask in writing, get replies in writing, then you have some leverage.
http://www.trulia.com/blog/dan_chase/2009/11/questions_i_wou…
0 votes
I have another one you can add to the list especially since It never crossed my mind that the tornado siren would be exactly in our subdivision! Monthly test checks like clock work.
Flag Wed Mar 15, 2017
Barry Lincoln, Home Buyer, San Antonio, TX
Thu Jun 3, 2010
Yup, I've already looked into qualifying for that program, spoke to someone at the aviation dept and It appears I don't. Some people have it far worse as I'm not even that close to airport. As far as me seeing other homes that have been treated, I've had a terrible experience with my realtor and I don't plan on talking to him again.
0 votes
Doc & Ellen…, Agent, San Antonio, TX
Thu Jun 3, 2010
Hi, Barry,

San Antonio International Airport is getting busier every day. Because of the increasing noise, the FAA has a multi-part Noise Abatement program. Part of it actually pays to soundproof homes. Details can be found here:

http://www.sanantonio.gov/aviation/info_noise_faq.asp

The program may be expanded, so if your home is not eligible now, it may be in the near future. So, don't do violence to yourself, and check to see if the FAA might pay for your soundproofing. Some of the techniques work better than others, and perhaps your REALTOR will show you some homes that have been treated so you can see the difference before you spend any money.
0 votes
Barry Lincoln, Home Buyer, San Antonio, TX
Thu Jun 3, 2010
Yeah, I've talked to neighbors they don't seem to care about it anymore. It's pretty scary actually. In the meantime, I will continue to suffer from buyers remorse.

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/2514557/images/Google_Maps-20100525-…
0 votes
Scott Godzyk, Agent, Manchester, NH
Thu Jun 3, 2010
With most listings teh seller fills out a seller information property report. That would have a spot to disclose this information. However if teh former owner lived there for a very long ime, they may be immune to the noise and not think it was a problem. As far as teh agent they may not have known about a direct flight path, if you are near an airport then it should be apparant when you are there if the planes are flying over.

From history though, you dont have to be near an airport to be in a flight path, around here you can be 5 miles north or south or our airport and be uin teh flight path where the "house shaking" fed ex or ups jets fly over at 5am or midnight where you would never expect to hear planes.

You would have to prove they deliberately withheld information from you. If you asked and they lied they would be liable. In the mean time check out new windows, attic insulation or a window air conditioner onlow that drowns outy the roar.

good luck with working things out, i was in the same position once.
Web Reference:  http://www.ScottSellsNH.com
0 votes
Don Tepper, Agent, Burke, VA
Thu Jun 3, 2010
I don't think your Realtor had to "disclose" that you were under a flight path. The airport wasn't hidden. Same as if your home backed up to a major Interstate. Or a house directly under high-power lines. It's there; you can see that it's there; and you make your choice.

As for the appraiser: The appraiser used comps--comparable properties--to determine the value of your home. In all likelihood, comparable properties are ones close by, also underneath the flight path. So while the value of your property might be affected by the flight path, so are the values of the comparables. It would have been relevant to mention and adjust the price accordingly if yours were under the flight path but the comparables weren't.

Having said that, I understand your situation and your concern. And, yes, it may make your home more difficult to sell. But while the flight path may lower your resale value, it also meant that you were able to buy the home for less than you'd have spent for a similar home a few miles away.

There are ways to reduce the sound somewhat.

And you probably will get used to the sound. Quick story: My wife grew up in a medium-sized town, with her home maybe 1/4 mile from the airport. There weren't big jets, but there were a lot of smaller planes flying in and out--vacationers, business, etc. The first night I was at the house, it sounded as if we were right at the end of the runway. And we almost were. I commented on it, and she said she didn't even notice the sound.

Interestingly, her brother and sister-in-law recently bought a nice home in the same state, different town. We were going up to visit them, and I pulled the location up on MapQuest. Their nice home--on a lake on one side--was literally at the end of a runway. There was the house, maybe a 25 yard driveway, a two lane road, and the end of the runway right across the road. Now, the airport wasn't as busy as the house my wife and her brother had grown up in, but still . . . They didn't notice the planes at all.

Hope that helps.
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