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Great Home or Great Commute? How to Weigh Your Options When Buying a Home

Great_home_or_great_commute_.jpgIt’s no secret that commute time and traffic have both become major factors for home buyers. If you’re weighing your options and deciding where to live, consider that the two main costs associated with commuting include the cost of fuel and wear and tear on your vehicle.

Commute Solutions provides an easy-to-use cost calculator that allows you to calculate your average monthly spend on commuting, and also allows you to calculate estimates based on areas you’re looking in.

Once you have a dollar amount for your monthly commute, you can look at whether or not that amount is greater or smaller than the difference in estimated mortgage payments, as well as potential property value increases of a particular area.

It may be that while one home is closer to work and offers a shorter commute, the difference in the price of a home a little farther out is greater than the cost of commuting.

However, the decision may not always be an economic one!

None of these calculations take into account the time spent in the car or the potential stress of commuting long distances.

This brings us to another consideration: quality of life. Let’s say your commute will be between 30 minutes and one hour each way, each day. This would add up to an entire work day each week spent commuting. A shorter commute from a slightly higher priced home might be the better option for someone who doesn’t have the extra time to spend in a vehicle.



Considering purchasing a larger home at the cost of a longer commute begins to look a little different when all of the factors are added into the equation. There is actually a name for this, it’s called the “Commuter’s Paradox”.

The paradox is that, although one would expect that people balance the cost and hassle of commuting against benefits of other things like a larger or nice home slightly farther away, it just doesn’t happen.

Research has shown time and again that, on average, people who have long regular commutes experience lower levels of happiness than those who have shorter commutes. Commute time is one of the factors that has the biggest impact on day-to-day levels of happiness. For this reason, it’s important to be sensitive to those aspects and not to approach this situation strictly from a numbers point of view. You will likely have an emotional response tied to the prospect of increasing your commute, even if it means you will have a larger, nicer home.

An good real estate agent will listen to you, understand your unique situation and your needs, and will clearly lay out your options and help you understand them. There is no ‘right’ answer, and the factors involved are entirely personal.

If you’re thinking of moving and want to better understand your options, schedule a free, no-obligation with one of our neighborhood specialists by calling (734)845-9700 or filling out the form below.

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For immediate assistance, call us at 734-845-9700 or email Andy Piper at

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