Coming home should be a relief, not an additional stress
in your life. No one particularly likes to commute. Who wants to waste hours on
the road when you could be spending that time with your family or relaxing? That
is what makes commute time so important when choosing your home. It is a major
factor in metropolitan areas. Figure out if your new home is going to be nearby
or light years away from your workplace. How much time will you spend in traffic?
Your commute will not only affect getting to work, but time spent locally performing
errands. Do you really want traffic jams cutting into your daily life?
The actual commute time between your prospective new home
and your job needs to be measured both in miles and traffic congestion you'll
encounter. You should investigate the commute time (coming & going) during
peak rush hour. In urban areas, closer-in homes are typically priced higher, while
prices in the outer suburbs and rural areas are generally lower.
trade-off for a longer commute is a larger home for your dollar but more stress
getting to and from work. Everyone's different. A larger home may be more important
to you. Drive the commute then determine what is more acceptable to you a large
home and commute or a smaller home and commute. Only you can decide.
Access to public transportation can make a
longer commute easier to swallow. Check out the home's proximity to bus and train
lines, and find out if they're safe, reliable and generally on time. This is obviously
important if any member of your household doesn't drive. Don't forget to look
at your prospective home's proximity to the other necessities, too, such as grocery
stores, gas stations, or pharmacies.
How far do you have to drive to pick
up a half-gallon of milk? How close are you to medical and fire and police services?
If you have or plan to have children, will they be attending public or private
schools? You'll need to consider distances from primary or secondary schools,
and how long a bus ride is okay for your children. If bus transportation is not
available, can you handle driving your kids to school each day?
The quality of local schools will be a factor in your investment,
even if you don't have children. Why? Because a strong school system enhances
an area's overall property
values. Family buyers are always looking for good schools for their children.
Don't dismiss this factor because you don't have children. It will affect your
Apart from the school's general reputation, other factors
to consider are overcrowding and teacher-to-student ratios which some say directly
affect quality of education. Look at the school's standardized test scores compared
to both statewide and national averages. Contact the local PTA and talk to parents
who really know the school system. Ask yourself if you really would want your
children to attend these schools.
affects your peace of mind or quality of life more than your safety and security.
Crime, or even the perception of crime, does more to sap a neighborhood's vitality
and property values than any other factor. Keep in mind that most homebuyers only visit homes
during the day, forgetting that a neighborhood can change radically at night.
Take a drive during the evening around the neighborhood. You might notice a seedy
curbside hangout or a nightclub with drinkers spilling out onto neighborhood streets,
things you might otherwise miss during the day.
The National Association
of Realtors tracks the crime rates in over 500 cities. The National Crime Prevention
Council also maintains statistics for localities compared against national averages.
These facts are all available on their web sites. Check them out. You can even
call the local police department for statistics on a particular street or in a
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