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Commuting and the Home Buying Decision

There are a variety of considerations when purchasing a home and one that is becoming increasingly important is the commute time and distance to and from work. Whether you are taking your personal vehicle, riding public transit, or carpooling with neighbors, a commute can have a significant impact on your quality of life. 

The past few years have impacted work and home life patterns significantly. From businesses transitioning to work from home settings and back again as well as the way prices at the fuel pump are impacting how far people are willing to drive to work, today it is important to understand how a commute can influence the home buying decision. Below are three factors to keep in mind.

Home Values Based on Location

Military-affiliated families choose home locations for a variety of reasons. For some families, it involves being in the best school districts, for some it’s proximity to the assigned military installation, and for some it is ease and availability of places like shopping, restaurants, and community activities that help to foster a great quality of life.

When researching homes carefully look at how home values differ within a particular city. By partnering with a local real estate professional, you can get a firmer grasp on which areas offer you the most bang for your buck, according to your priorities and needs. They may also be able to give you some insight on local news of planned road construction on major roadways or city planning or zoning issues that could impact your decision.

In most cases, there will be trade-offs when purchasing a home. It’s best to determine if price, location, commute time, or size tops your list. For example, maybe you are okay with a longer commute because you are in a more desirable location. Or maybe you are willing to drive further to work in order to get a larger home with more neighborhood amenities.  

What Will It Cost You? 

Once you have determined your main priorities with your location of choice, it is crucial to determine the costs associated with this decision. When adding in a commute, some costs to consider are the driving distance and traffic and how that might impact your daily rhythms. 

Consider the time costs. How early will you need to leave home? How late will traffic put you returning in the evenings? If you have an hour-long commute each way to and from work five days per week, that is a total of ten hours weekly that you are trading for time with family or enjoying personal activities. 

Consider the financial costs. Will an extra-long commute eat into your fuel budget? Will you have more frequent maintenance or repair issues to address? On the flip side, is there a way to reduce or eliminate costs? Is public transit cheaper? Could you form a commuter group or ride sharing schedule with nearby neighbors going in the same direction? 

When a Commute Isn’t All Bad

Sometimes a commute simply cannot be avoided. Instead of staying frustrated at the long drive or extra operating expenses that add up, change your mindset and embrace the commute as an opportunity. 

You can see it as a chance to decompress between work and home or vice versa. Use the time to catch up on your favorite podcast, audiobook, or if you’re not the one driving, read a book, work a puzzle, catch up on social media, clear out your inbox, or use the time to respond to personal text messages. 

Finally, use the commute to embrace the chance to get to know the ins and outs of your area roadways. There’s no better way to get a geographical grasp on the new area where you are living than to drive, explore various routes, and see how the community is interconnected. 

Whether your home buying decision leads to avoiding or embracing a commute to work, know that it isn’t all bad.