Should a Long Commute Be a Deal Breaker?
If you’re shopping for a home, you probably have a long list of things that are important to you, such as the size and layout of the house, the neighborhood, quality schools and affordable taxes. If you find a house that has everything you want, but it would mean having a long commute, you may have to decide if all of the things you love about the house outweigh the hassle of the commute. There is no easy answer—you need to think about your particular circumstances, your priorities and how you handle stress to make the right decision.
If you find your dream house 30 minutes from where you work, the commute may be inconvenient but manageable. If the commute would be 45 minutes to an hour, that could make a big difference. It would mean getting up earlier and getting home later in the evening.
If you need to get your kids ready for school, cook dinner and help them with their homework, what seems like a small increase in your commute time could have a significant impact. Feeling rushed in the morning could make you feel stressed out before you even get to work. Getting home later and not having any time to unwind before starting dinner could leave you feeling overwhelmed.
Sitting in traffic can be stressful for many people. Worrying about being late for work or not getting home on time could create anxiety that could affect your weight, blood pressure and other aspects of your health.
You also need to consider the economic cost of having a long commute. Every mile you drive means money spent on gas and wear and tear on your car. These costs can add up over the course of the year. Think about how much it would cost to commute to work and ask yourself if you love the house so much that the commuting costs would be worth it.
Explore Your Options
Many employers allow their staff to telecommute one or more days a week. If that’s an option for you, it could make a big difference in your decision on where to live. A long commute a few days a week might be manageable if you know that you can work from home and have no commute on other days.
Weigh the Pros and Cons
If you’ve found your dream house, you may be so eager to buy it that you overlook some important factors that could stress you out and affect your health and quality of life. If buying a particular house means having a long commute, ask yourself how it would affect you and your family. You might find a way to make it manageable, or you might decide that it makes more sense to look for a house closer to work.