I suggest you talk to some of the neighbors near the homes you like, and also make a point to go down during rush hour and spend time, in your car, walking the neighborhood, or even in the backyard of a home you are considering. Hang out inside for a while when the trains are frequent, and see how affected you are. You must make your peace with this before you buy, because you can't change this fact after. i would say you should also factor how long you plan to stay in the home.
Dual pane windows do seem to do a good job of blocking the sound inside a home, so check this out when you see the property. If the windows are not dual pane, you probably want to get an estimate for the future.
As it turns out when I purchased a home it was not only near a BART station but also right next to the freeway. Talk about a double whammy on the noise factor! However, after installing dual pane windows, the noise was drastically decreased and I found that I almost missed the constant hum of the freeway and occasional BART train! So, in the end, everything is relative. If you love the house and its in your price range, I wouldn't let a little public transit noise scare you away. Unless you are a really light sleeper, you should be ok.
Best of luck to you!
Itâ€™s hard to find a home in Oakland that isnâ€™t close to something that would be considered less than optimal â€“ there are numerous power lines, schools, fire stations, hospitals, railroad tracks, busy roads, freeways, expressways, the airport, two stadiums, the port â€¦
Having said that, keep in mind that all of the homes surrounding all of these issues are occupied.
Speaking specifically of BART, there are thousands of homes in the Bay Area as a whole across from, beside or backing up to railroad tracks, BART, CalTrain or something similar. Including some VERY expensive homes. They are all occupied â€“ mostly by very happy homeowners who donâ€™t notice the trains after the second week or so.
Having said that, some people tell me right up front that they donâ€™t want me to show them a house near railroad tracks. Or the freeway. Or near high tension wires. Or on a busy street. Or with a pool. You get the idea.
Resale IS affected in the eyes of some, but not all. And Iâ€™ve even had some families tell me that their kids LOVED watching the trains go by from their bedroom window.
The general rule of thumb is this:
You pay less for these homes when you buy and you get less when you sell, so it is generally a wash. In fact, you can often get a larger and nicer home for less if you are willing to put up with the issue at hand. And if the market is on fire when you sell (such as 2005), and inventory is scarce, your home could conceivably be in the middle of the MacArthur Maze and still sell for top dollar. Inversely, if the market is dead and there is tons of inventory, homes near â€œdistractionsâ€ will be harder to sell than those on a quiet cul-de-sac.
As mentioned below, there is also a difference between living by straight tracks, elevated tracks, curved tracks or near stations where the trains blow their horns. Same thing applies to Amtrak and other trains â€“ itâ€™s one thing to have a train rumble by; itâ€™s another to hear the blast when it approaches a crossing.
And speaking of noise and neighborhood nuisances â€¦ I live in a nice neighborhood by a quiet, serene lake where the ambient noise of lake birds serenades us all day long â€¦ but a grunge band just moved into a garage across the street â€¦ and when they fire up and start practicing â€¦
Iâ€™d rather live by railroad tracks any day.
I live two blocks away from the BART tracks in Albany and just had a train come by as I was writing this post. With the window closed I could barely hear it, with the window open I could see how it would bother some. While the trains aren't quiet, as John stated, you get used to the noise and often don't notice.
A friend of mine used to live directly under the track and while visiting I often forgot that this was the case. It depends on how sensitive you are to the noise.
The article referenced below mentions noise levels in decibels while riding the train, however, it may help you get closer to the answer you're looking for.
I hope this helps and feel free to contact me should you have any other questions.
From my experience, I used to live close a to the bart and at first it was noisy but a few months after I stopped hearing the noise I guess you get used to it. When I show properties to buyers and they see that the property is close to the bart a lot of times they want to keep looking. Having the bart to close can affect the value of the property in my opinion.
Curves in the tracks can make more noise than straight runs.
With the windows open in a warm, still night sound travels much farther. (We don't generally have AC here)
Homestly, you get used to it. The worst part is being too near a station due to the train horn, parking and traffic