The other side of the fence

bnsf railroad by Gleannloch FarmsThe other day I was showing a home in the master planned community of Gleannloch Farms that seemed to be exactly what my buyers had been searching for.  The house was zoned to the elementary school they wanted their children to attend, it was in their price range, in great condition, and had the amenities and open floor plan we had been searching for.  We were all thrilled with the possibility that our search had ended and we had found the house they would call home for many years to come.

That is until we went out in the backyard and looked over the fence. Instead of a peaceful greenbelt existing on the other side of the fence, we found the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway, the nation’s second biggest freight railroad.  With the discovery of the train tracks, my buyers excitement about the house lessened.  On the other hand, their 3 year old son who is a huge Thomas the Train fan was ready to move in.

With the exception of my buyers son, all of us had concerns about the house’s location.  As a Spring Texas Realtor, I was concerned about the home’s future resale value.  Over the last couple of years, the other homes in the Gleannloch Farms subdivision were experiencing a small appreciation in value while this house’s value was decreasing.  Mrs. Buyer informed me she was a lite sleeper and was concerned the noise made by the train as it roared down the tracks would wake her.  A valid concern since the 1st floor master bedroom was at the back of the house and only about 50 feet from the train tracks.

We lingered in the house with the hope that a train would come by.  We wanted to find out for ourselves whether the noise would be too much to bear.  After a while and still no train it was time to leave.  My buyers were going to give the house and its train some serious thought overnight and call me in the morning.

In Spring Texas, we are not immune to trains.  In fact, in the late 1800s our town was named by railroad workers that were laying the tracks to the South during a harsh winter.  When the railroad workers reached our area it was spring and because of their excitement of the end of winter they named our area “Camp Spring”.  Later the “Camp” was dropped and our town became Spring Texas.

The next day, my buyers called me and they were still seriously considering the house but wanted to be in the house when a train went by.  The problem was BNSF is a freight railroad and freight railroads do not run on defined time schedules as do commuter trains.  Thus short of the sellers allowing them to stay in their house for a 24 hour period, we were not going to be able to resolve my buyers concern.

My buyers decided not to buy the house backing to the train tracks in Gleannloch Farms.  They reevaluated their needs for housing and decided to broaden their search to include 1 story homes and not just 2 story homes.  We found a 1 story home that met their needs and closed on it 2 weeks ago.  Finding the right Spring Texas home is not always easy and oftentime it requires buyers to make a series of trade-offs and to broaden their search parameters.

As for the house with the train on the other side of the fence, it is still on the market and has been reduced $10,000 in 65 days.  I am glad my buyers decided not to purchase the train house especially after a recent article appeared in the Houston Chronicle projecting train freight could triple by 2035.  The train noise that may be tolerable today may not be tomorrow with an increase in train traffic.

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