If your commute to work takes 25 minutes, congratulations – you’re average, according to a 2009 study by the United States Census Bureau. Commuting to work is a very real part of American life for lots of people, yet seldom considered when they’re shopping for a new home.
Sure, it’s easy to get distracted by an amazing kitchen or a sexy backyard, but this is your opportunity to possibly cut the time it takes you to get to and from work. We’ve put together a few things you may want to consider as you choose your new neighborhood. The Seattle area one of the highest rates of ‘Mega-Commuters.’ These are people that commute 90+ minutes & 50+ miles one way to work. Even drivers with just a 30-minute commute can expect 89 hours of delays each year. Also, noteworthy is that Seattle’s rush hour evening commute is now the 2nd worst in the nation. It’s no secret that Seattle’s traffic has gotten bad, so keep this in mind when finding your dream home and thinking about commuting in Seattle.
Consider this – Commuting in Seattle
We think it’s a safe bet that not many homebuyers are seeking to increase their commute time to work. The more time we spend on the road, the less time we have to enjoy home and family. Keep in mind as you shop for your new neighborhood that gas prices aren’t as likely to decrease as they are to increase so the longer your commute, the higher your monthly gasoline expenses will be, not to mention the wear and tear on your car. There are a lot of hidden expenses to a longer commute. If you have children and require babysitters or daycare, what is the added cost of you getting home later every day to pick them up? Even more valuable is your time, what would you rather be doing with your time than sitting in traffic for hours a day?
If you really want to know how long it will take you to get to work from a particular neighborhood, make the actual commute before committing to the purchase. This is a big decision and you want to make sure it’s not something you’re going to regret a year later.
Road conditions, freeways and highways – Commuting in Seattle
A freeway through a region actually has a positive impact on home values in the area, according to a study commissioned by the Arizona Department of Transportation. The study also found that homes adjacent to freeways are worth less than those further away. When deciding between neighborhoods, the home in a community with a freeway may hold its value better than the one in a freeway-less area, provided the home isn’t directly adjacent to the freeway. It’s important to have a home with good access to getting around the various neighborhoods and more but you don’t want to hear the noise of the highway from your home either.
Especially if you plan on buying in a rural area, be mindful that weather events may impede your commute.
If you don’t drive – Commuting in Seattle
If you utilize public transportation for your commute, the location of your home becomes an even more important factor. The proximity to the bus line, trains and other modes of public transportation should be considered carefully so you don’t end up with an even more horrendous commute. Luckily the buses, bike routes, light rail and more make commuting in Seattle much easier without a car these days.
Chuck the commute – Commuting in Seattle
Working from home provides the ideal commute. There’s just nothing that compares to that short trek down the hallway to the home office. If your employer offers a telecommute option, consider taking advantage of it, at least on a part-time basis. There’s a lot to consider when hunting for a house and location because it has a direct impact on your quality of life, is one of the most important considerations.
Wondering what else you should consider before buying in or moving to Seattle? View our Pros & Cons of living in Seattle.
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Dave Hanson Home Team – Commuting in Seattle