It is not only common to do, but is also a very good practice to put values that may need to change into a properties file. This creates a central location to modify values. Especially for the configuration a system based on the installation location, etc. Having the properties file inside the .war is very inconvenient when you want to change it as it causes you to recompile your code, even if it hasn't changed. I was on a project that was able to pull the property file out of the .war and put it in the JBoss AS conf directory. The application could still access it. Unfortunately the project I am on now uses WebLogic. After lots of google searching and asking a few co-workers if they new how to do it, I did find the answer.
Simply place the properties file in $WEBLOGICHOME/user_projects/domains/mydomain where mydomain is the name of he domain your app uses.
Works great and now I can change properties all day long without recompiling.