Don't Forget the Commute: How Drive Times, Public Transit, and Traffic Congestion Affect a Home Purchase

Will Public Transportation, Drive Times, and Road Access Matter When Buying a Home? Where a home is located impacts many factors, especially how easy it is to commute. When looking at potential homes, buyers should take some time to sit down with navigational apps to see how easy it is to get from place to place from the home they are interested in purchasing. These factors can affect everything from the value of a home to how happy someone will be living there.

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a licensed real estate professional before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

Long Commutes Can Make Lenders Look Twice

Many people consider buying homes far out in rural areas to get more property for their money or enjoy the peace and quiet. However, if the commute from the home to the workplace is too long, some lenders may become concerned. If the home a buyer is looking at is too far from the buyer's workplace, lenders may worry that the buyer is acquiring an investment property instead of an owner-occupied home. Investment properties are riskier for lenders, so they either try to avoid them or attach additional requirements.

It is not unusual for a buyer taking on a long commute to have to bring additional documentation to the lender. This may involve a note from the applicant's human resources department confirming their work address. It could also involve a borrower demonstrating that they work from home at least part of the week to reduce the commute.

Public Transit Increases Home Values

Even buyers who are not interested in public transportation themselves should look at nearby access. The reason is that this can increase the value of a home by anywhere from 4 to 24 percent, according to recent research. If a buyer finds a home in an area where public transportation options are expanding, this can help increase the value quite a bit over time.

Additionally, living near public transportation can keep costs down. Transportation costs in a community with good, accessible public transit services are significantly lower than in other areas. By some estimates, homeowners who take advantage of public transportation can save between $2,500 and $4,400 a year.

Homes Near Loud, Congested, or Dangerous Roads Negatively Impact Value

It certainly can be challenging to get a good night’s sleep or enjoy the serenity of the backyard with a noisy highway or highly trafficked road nearby.

Not only is the noise cumbersome, but lots of cars increase the risks of unfortunate accidents. Those with pets or young children may have additional concerns about allowing their youngsters out to play in the front yard or to ride their bikes in the streets.

Both kids and animals can get loose unexpectedly and could be hit by a moving vehicle in the blink of an eye. These factors can hinder buyers’ interest, and the home may get a lower price than expected if placed near a loud or dangerous roadway.

Homes with Shorter Commutes Are Easier to Sell

A home close to major roads can make it a more desirable location later on when the buyer is ready to sell. In a recent survey, around 16 percent of respondents said that a short commute was their number one concern when looking at neighborhoods to buy a home.

Even if the current buyer doesn't plan to commute on major highways, they can be convenient for a wide range of buyers. Plus, it can be hard to predict what the future holds. A buyer may find their workplace changing locations, or they may change jobs altogether. Access to nearby major roads increases the chances of keeping a simple commute. Many neighborhoods are now designed to give residents easy access to major roads without them having to experience noise and traffic.

There are, of course, many reasons for buyers to choose one specific home. Understanding how the home's location will affect borrowing and everyday life can help buyers choose the right home for their needs. A home purchase is a decision that affects not just the present but the future as well. Examining aspects like transit, commutes, and road access can help home buyers ensure that the house remains a good choice.

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a licensed real estate professional before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

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