Before you finalize your list of new home must-haves, be sure you consider your commute time and travel costs. If you plan to buy a home in Saint Joseph, Michigan and work here too, it shouldn't be much of an issue. When the census documented local workers' travel time, they calculated an average 14.7 minute commute time. That's far less than the national average.
Our real estate agents understand the attraction of moving your family to a small town or suburb. Smaller communities have a lot to offer, but before you make a move, consider the pros and cons of an extended daily commute.
The Pros of Commuting
- School Districts
For parents, relocation is often about choosing the best schools. If your city school district doesn't meet your standards, you may have to pay for a private school education. When you choose a home in the suburbs, you can find the district that you deem best. It may cost more in taxes, but your child's quality education will be free.
- Suburban Homes
Homes closer to the city are convenient for those who work in the city. That convenience often means higher home prices. Suburban and rural home buyers have more home-buying choices at a range of prices. Of course, you'll have to do the numbers to determine whether or not commuting costs negate your savings.
- More Room for the Kids
If you're buying a house for your family, your commuting calculations should consider your children as well. As you move closer to or farther away from the city, you'll change your kids' lifestyle. Suburban and rural children have more access to large play areas, parks, less pollution, and more trees. It might be worth the commute to give them these benefits.
The Cons of Commuting
- Increased Auto Expenses
In the suburbs and rural areas, driving is often your only transportation alternative. That means fluctuating gas prices and more car care and maintenance.
- Public Transportation Costs
If you have access to public transportation, you must consider the monthly costs. A recent Business Insider report of 11 cities found one-way rail and subway commuter fares ranging from $1.25 in Houston to $10 for BART in the Bay Area.
- Higher Insurance Rates
Your driving distance can affect your insurance premiums because driving distance determines a portion of your insurance rate. Your chances of an auto accident increase as you commute longer distances.
- Delayed Arrivals
You can plan your commute down to the minute and still arrive late to your destination. Google maps will give you an approximate travel time from point A to point B. They can't tell you about traffic delays, construction zones or other frustrating commuter nightmares that will slow you down.
- Big Cities / Big Traffic
Your daily commute may be a challenge if you live in the suburbs and work in a metro area. You may need extra time to wind down from your commute each day.
If you need help assessing how your commute might influence your home-buying choices, we can help. Contact Cressy & Everett Real Estate when you're buying or selling a home in the Michiana real estate area.