When you're buying a house, many intangible factors come into play. Is it in a safe neighborhood? How is the school system? Does it have a great view? Our REALTORS® find that for many people, job commute is one of the top criteria for evaluating homes.
Today's job landscape has gone beyond the traditional nine-to-five workday, so commute time isn't such a cut-and-dried issue. Here are some expert tips for putting job commute in perspective when choosing a home to buy.
- How Far Is "Too Far?"
According to the Census Bureau, the average commuter travels just over 25 minutes each way, which is the equivalent of adding an extra half-day to your work week. Times are even higher in congested metropolitan areas. If you're considering a certain home, take a test run of your potential commute under actual traffic conditions so you have an accurate picture.
- Hidden Costs of Commuting
Obviously, longer commutes will affect your finances through costs of maintaining a car, which include wear and tear as well as gas, oil and other specific charges. If you choose a home further away from work because it's more affordable, higher commuting costs can actually nullify the savings.
- Commuting and Your Health
Commuting is largely unproductive time. As a result, people often find themselves becoming frustrated or dwelling on problems and other unpleasant topics. Scientific studies indicate people with longer commutes are more susceptible to high blood pressure, muscle and joint pain, stress, anxiety and lower levels of life satisfaction in general. On the other hand, commute time can be a benefit if you enjoy listening to audiobooks, podcasts or other forms of passive entertainment.
- Availability of Public Transportation
Longer commutes can be more palatable if you have ready access to public transportation. In addition to saving on vehicle expenses, you can put the travel time to good use working, reading or even catching up on sleep.
- Consider Your Lifestyle
Single adults and people with more active lifestyles may be willing to accept a longer commute because they're spending less time at home. Married couples and people with kids usually don't want to sacrifice precious family time to hours spent on the road.
- Can Commute Time Affect Your Mortgage?
Owner-occupied homes are considered the least risky scenario for mortgages. If your one-way commute is longer than one hour, a lender may suspect you're purchasing the home as a secondary residence or investment property, both of which carry greater risk and higher rates. Be prepared to answer questions and provide documentation supporting your purpose.
- Creative Job Structure
Telecommuting is a trend that continues to grow. The New York Times cites recent Gallup poll findings that 43 percent of Americans spend at least some time working remotely. More companies are also offering options such as flex-time that allow workers to commute during non-peak hours.
Whether you're buying or selling a home on Long Island, our experienced REALTORS® have the know-how to help you find the solution you're looking for. Contact us at Coach REALTORS® today and get started.