Railroad Tracks :/

scrappykatAugust 11, 2014

Hello Again,

So I've pretty much given up on the foreclosure waterfront property that I've posted about before but I 've found another one that could work :)

Smaller, very dated home but really nice lot and a lot of frontage on a river---great water and views.

The main problem with this one is that there are railroad tracks right in front of the house :/ Apparently trains go by up to twice a day, and at night sometimes, but can't blow the whistle between 7pm-7am.

I personally don't think I'd mind a train, but I need to think about resale down the road-----how much of a problem could this be?

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I personally don't think I'd mind a train, but I need to think about resale down the road-----how much of a problem could this be?

Huge resale problem.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 6:39PM
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What kind of train - freight or commuter?

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 6:50PM
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Do it if the price is right, but know that when you resale you will be limited to buyers who do not mind a train. Which will eliminate most people. I would not buy a house next to train tracks.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 6:50PM
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If it is *right next to* train tracks as you say, it is a HUGE resale problem (and I would be surprised if you won't mind it, frankly). Trains are loud and rumbly, even without a horn. Maybe go camp out one night in a nearby driveway or side road. Everything can shake.

If the track is removed from the house by a dirt birm or hillside, different story.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 7:22PM
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I would try hard to avoid train tracks. You never know when in the future the amount of use could jump. And even the whistle rule can change. Someone gets hit while wandering the tracks, and soon enough trains are required to blow their whistle in that location.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 9:57PM
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I would definitely pass up on a house near a train. Even though it may only have passing trains twice a day, you never know how many times in the future it might happen. Plus, I think it would suck for resale. Personally, I would never even look at a house near a train. Dangerous since we have kids, and probably be annoying. Reminds me of the house from Honey Boo Boo :P

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 11:14PM
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Ugh---I *knew* you all were going to say that ;) It is a train that takes logs to a paper mill about 6 miles away.

I'm not sure what price I'd need to pay to make this worthwhile, as there's not really enough waterfront around for comparables-----the house itself isn't problem free either----needs a roof, new appliances and the tile bathtub surround is a wreck, plus the basement flooded 8 yrs ago and there's a sagging beam across the inside front of the house---ugh

Guess I will keep looking---ty for your input---its truly apreciated!!

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 7:27AM
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Sophie Wheeler

Up your budget to get out of the pig in a poke options. You don't get something for nothing.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 7:53AM
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HUGE RESALE PROBLEM. About 50 years ago I had a boyfriend who lived so close to tracks that the whole house vibrated every time a train went by.

I would never consider a house close to train tracks, airport or expressway. Even if you get used to the noise, the carbon (soot) is a real problem. Walls, windows and treatments are affected and it sure can't be too healthy.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 3:27PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

Reminds me of when we were young, and we all bought our first houses. We went to dinner at one of our friends, and were sitting at the table when the table began to shake. They smiled and said it's just the train..........

Took them a long time to sell. We didn't have a train near us, and we listed our house, went to dinner, came back and it was sold. It was a hot market at that time, but that train didn't help them sell one bit.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 4:00PM
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The railroad tracks are one thing; then, there is the paper mill.

There's a paper mill about 60-70 miles from my town.
The smell from it is quite like rotten eggs.
When it's very windy and blowing this direction, the odor HERE is bad.

I wouldn't want to live 6 miles from a paper mill.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 8:05PM
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I'm 1/3 to 1/2 a mile from a lightly used RR track and under certain conditions, it sounds like it's going right up the street by the house, and down my hallway.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 9:25PM
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Another angle you could take is this ---
1- Since the house and the tracks are already existing, the house should have already taken a hit for it's proximity to the tracks, which, you in turn will have to pass along the same discount to the next buyer of the home, but it's not money lost since you never paid it initially, right? To me that sounds like more house for less money, which sounds like a bargain.
2 - Those who have lived in a place close to tracks (myself x2) will tell you that while the first two weeks they noticed, and/or woke up each time the train went by, it quickly became white noise and not at all noticed by the people who lived there. I lived in a dorm with tracks right outside the window (no air conditioning so windows were open fall and spring), and I didn't sleep for two weeks but after that time I really didn't notice the trains at all. Same thing happened again with the rental we bought - tenants said the same thing. I had been working at the house right after we bought it (a few weeks into the reno) and a guy come to give me an estimate on some work and he said something about the train without saying the word "train" and I had no idea what he was talking about -- then realized that the train must have been going by and he was commenting on the sound -- it gets to the point that you do not notice it at all. While it's good to know upfront that you may be facing a slower sale down the road due to a smaller pool of buyers, there are plenty of people who wouldn't be put off, especially in light of the discounted price as compared to equivalent homes. In the city being near the train station (about as noisy as you can get) actually drives the price of property up not down.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 8:27AM
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Lots to think about! And, yes Kris_ma, the few people I've talked to that have actually lived by a train said you get used to it and don't even notice it anymore.

I LOVE trains and train tracks (I'm weird lol) so I wouldn't mind in the least. My sig. other has lived in a house that backed up to this particular train route (closer to the paper mill) and said he never noticed after a while, was able to sleep thru it, etc.

Also, there is no soot to be seen so don't think thats an issue (the home has cream color carpeting that looked pristine)

The papermill isn't an issue----I live closer to it now and have never smelled anything.

I did a little sleuthing and discovered the house 2 doors down sold for $150K in May 2014. That house had one and a half baths but was smaller---also looked to need no major work inside but don't know about the roof)

I offered the owner (its a FSBO) $130,000 today and will see what he says----a comparable house not by railroad tracks would be at least $175K if not more, so I'm thinking this is a fair offer (also taking into account the roof, bathroom tile work etc.)

I will let you know what happens :) Thanks again for all the input, I truly appreciate it!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 8:53AM
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I love trains, too. The neighbor across the street from our rental house told us that she waits up each year (late at night, like 2:00 am) to watch the Barnum and Bailey circus trains go past -- I guess they're all lit up with neon lights and everything.

Good luck with your offer, it sounds like a great place and a really good deal!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 10:21AM
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Trainspotting from your back porch, what could be better? Good luck, I expect that you'll quickly get used to and come to enjoy the trains. There's no hit per se to resale, because you'll just be passing on a discount you got on purchase. Unless the mill closes and there are no more trains, then there's a potential upside.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 11:45AM
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I too lived in a house so close to the tracks that the knick knacks rattled on the shelves in my bedroom. I was totally oblivious. Not really a house I would buy for myself as an adult, but I didn't know any better at the time. Best childhood ever growing up there.

Years after I moved out (but my parents still lived there) a train derailed. Had it fallen off the tracks the opposite way it did, my house would have taken a direct hit.

That said, that house has been sold and resold many times over the decades since I lived there. Always fairly priced for its location. I never saw it sit vacant.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 1:05PM
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Scrappy if it really doesn't bother you then I hope you get the house you bid on. :) The plus is that the train does not blow the whistle during the night but if that changes you might think differently. I have lived in two suburbs with the trains a few miles away and the whistle still bothers me after 24 years. My daughter on the other hand loves the sound of the whistle.

Do you plan to kayak on the river of fish? Rivers are beautiful.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 2:24PM
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I haven't heard anything yet---getting anxious! I plan to keep this house until I die---will live there full time for the next 15 yrs (my small mortgage will be a 15 yr loan), at which point, my sig. other can retire. We then plan to spend winter's somewhere warm and summers here.

We are big paddle boarders so want the water (its the Wisconsin River---so big, open stretch of water---slow current etc) for that, plus fishing, possibly kayaking.....and all the wildlife you see----it's just a lifestyle i want---peaceful (except for the train lol)

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 2:30PM
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We are moving away from a train next to the Columbia River. Though our house was a few miles away, there were paths around the river on which we loved to go walk or ride bikes. Whenever the train would go by, the river would get not ripples, but waves! Something to think about if you're storing your boat(s) in the river.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 7:19AM
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As it happens, I live next to train tracks. I don't even notice them in the Winter and Fall. In the summer when I open the windows they can be a bit annoying. My friends are irritated when they come over to my house to watch a movie.

Second guessing resale value is a fool's game. It's basically a way realtors get people who would be happy with a modest home to bid up the overpriced houses everyone else wants. The tracks will reduce the resale value...but they should reduce the initial cost you pay as well, so it should balance out. If anyone ever decides to use those tracks for a commuter rail or rail trail it could dramatically increase the value.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2014 at 12:28AM
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Edlincoln wrote:
" It's basically a way realtors get people who would be happy with a modest home to bid up the overpriced houses everyone else wants."

Ed, you mind explaining your point? I would love to learn this technique of forcing buyers to pay more for a property than it is worth. It would go well with my listing presentation to be able to let the seller know that I can sell the home for more than it is worth.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2014 at 5:07AM
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Any time there is something the general public wants that you don't, it is a huge opportunity for a bargain. Supply and demand...the best way to get a bargain is to demand something that others DON'T demand. But if you focus too much on "resale value" then you end up looking for houses that have things you don't need or really want because "others want it and it will increase the resale value". Last time I looked for a place I specifically said I wanted to avoid open floor plans (I hate them) and didn't care about the kitchen (I don't cook much). Confused the heck out of the realtor, who kept trying to persuade me high end kitchens increase resale value.

Half the time the things people say "increase resale value" are current fads that may change 10 years from now. A house that has what the current trends demand will often seem overpriced when the trends change.

One thing some people will tell you is "buy the most house you can afford". This is truly terrible advice...if it's the most house you can afford, it's more house then you can afford if you lose your job or have a medical problem or any other setback. Life happens...you should plan for disaster.

This post was edited by edlincoln on Thu, Sep 4, 14 at 9:50

    Bookmark   September 4, 2014 at 9:45AM
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