How Location Factors Into Buying a Home

Why Commute Matters: About Drive Time When Buying a HomeIt's important for home buyers to shop for more than just the right size, number of bedrooms, and home features. Home location makes a big difference. Where a house is located in a neighborhood, how long someone's commute will be, and how much access someone will have to other services are also important factors that buyers should take into consideration. The following factors should be examined when people shop for a new home.

Why Commute Matters

The average one-way commute is about 26 minutes one way, or about 4.3 hours per week. Every year, the average person spends the equivalent of 9 days commuting. Longer commutes mean more time spent on the road away from home. The impact of a long commute can be poor physical and mental health, and lower quality of life.

How to Gauge Commute

Gauging a commute can be a challenge for home buyers. It's easy for them to look at a map and estimate the amount of time it would take to reach a workplace from a particular home, but so many factors can impact the length of a commute that many people are unprepared for their drive time after buying their home.

Factors that can impact a commute include:

  • Traffic patterns. Traffic patterns can vary throughout the day, with rush-hour commutes being much longer than a commute that happens during the day.
  • Weather. Weather patterns can affect commute at times of year when snow and ice make an impact on the roads, especially in mountainous areas.
  • Road conditions. Conditions like winding roads and low speed limits can make a short drive seem much longer than it really is, by limiting how quickly the car can drive from one place to another.

The easiest way to gauge commute is for the potential buyer to drive from the house to work, then back, at least a few times at the time of day when the home buyer would be most likely driving to work. Making the drive multiple times over the course of several days can give the home buyer a good idea of their drive time if they were to purchase that house.

The Importance of Public Transportation

One of the ways that many homeowners are able to lessen the impact of a long commute is to purchase a home near public transportation. While this doesn't necessarily make a commute shorter, public transportation can make the commute seem less important. Time spent on a bus can be time spent dozing, reading, or engaging in a hobby. Home buyers who feel like they need to buy a home far from their workplace should consider purchasing a home close to a bus line.

Other Ways to Reduce Commute

There are other ways to keep a commute to a minimum! Taking surface roads in favor of freeways, driving through lesser-known routes, and taking creative routes to get to work are all ways that homeowners are able to reduce their commute in urban areas. Home buyers who would like to purchase a home in an area where traffic patterns can be heavy should consider this as a possibility.

Location Also Affects Home Value

Homes that are closer to areas of business and workplaces tend to be worth more money. Buying a home that is far from centers of business can save money, but can also lead to lower home values overall.

For home buyers who are looking for that sweet spot between a good commute and an affordable home, it's important to work with a good real estate professional. A good real estate agent can help the home buyer purchase a home that is affordable and in a good location.

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