Buying in the Suburbs: How Far Should You Commute?

Verani Realty

Making the move to another community can require a longer drive to work. Are you up for it? Commuting can be the worst part of any job, so it is something to consider when you are searching for a new home in the suburbs of New England.

The national average, one-way daily commute is 25.5 minutes. Opinions vary about how long a comfortable commute to work is, so it is important to consider your personal tolerance for driving, public transportation options, and how long the trip will take during peak traffic hours.

Before you set your heart on a specific community, ask yourself:

  • What is my commute time now?
  • How do I feel during that commute? Can I tolerate more time spent on the road or on the train?
  • Is living in this new area important enough to me (and /or my family) to make a longer commute worth it?

Pros and Cons When Buying in the Suburbs

For example, say your job is in Manchester and you are looking to buy in the Seacoast Region of New Hampshire. A 35- minute commute without traffic is okay, but the trip might be longer during rush hour, snow storms, and any road construction projects.

Challenging considerations include:

  • You'll put more wear and tear on your car if your drive time increases substantially.
  • Your car will require more gas and more oil changes
  • Depending on where you buy, highway tolls might be a part of your drive.
  • You may also find it harder to be social with your coworkers if you live far away. Is there a happy hour culture at your workplace? Are you going to miss that?

If you have been searching for a home outside of more densely populated areas, you probably realize that many people live there and work in other areas of the state, or even throughout New England. Commuting is common, and the region is filled with people who feel it is worth it to commute – even if it means an hour on the train every morning or sitting in a little traffic.

Positive considerations include:

  • If you prefer small-town school environments and smaller classroom sizes for your children, those qualities might be found in a town that is a distance away from where you work.
  • Sometimes a commute can provide quiet, constructive planning time. You can use it to think things through about a job project, rehearse for an upcoming speech at a meeting, or listen to music that puts you in the right frame of mind for work.
  • If you have Bluetooth capabilities, you can listen to voicemail and return a few calls during your commute. Time isn’t necessarily wasted.
  • The community within a small suburb or town is typically “close-knit:” people get to know each other faster. You may find it more comfortable to take part in local social activities with your neighbors.
  • Depending on the type of vehicle you drive, expenses caused by more time on the road might be marginal.

Only you can decide if a certain commute to work is too long for you to put up with – or totally worth it if you are living in that special neighborhood you dream about. Just remember to weigh in all the pros and cons of your decision before you buy.

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