It's true that location matters when it comes to buying a home. A top location can offer a great school district, great amenities, convenient access to shopping, and a low crime rate. However, your commute time to work is another important factor to consider when looking for Mansfield homes for sale. It can be tempting to ignore a long commute if it would mean foregoing what is an otherwise perfect home. But will the time and cost of a long commute be worth it?
The average American commutes for approximately 25.4 minutes each way. But those in larger metropolitan areas are subject to an extremely long commute of up to 1.5 hours each way. Extreme commuters spend at least 15 hours a week on the road without getting paid for it. As the time adds up, so do your travel expenses, especially gas and car maintenance. In most cases, the savings realized by purchasing a home in a suburban area result in a higher cost overall. Adding a distant commute to your housing expenses can exceed 30% of your gross monthly income.
Also, a commute longer than one-hour each way may elevate your stress levels. While you can't put a dollar amount to your stress, your preparedness for a long commute depends on how easily you get frustrated behind the wheel, especially considering that you might be spending several hours a week stuck in traffic. With this in mind, commuting longer than one hour each will progressively interfere with both your personal and professional lives.
When it comes to deciding where to buy your next home, you're choosing more than a roof over your head. You're also considering the neighborhood, your lifestyle, amenities, and a commute to work or school—all of which can significantly influence your quality of life and bank balance. Selecting the right location is important for your wellbeing and family development. In essence, the goal is to find a place with cultures and values that match yours.
Say you find a house that matches up with your must-have checklist and in a suburb with everything you want: a big yard, outdoor parks, easy access to restaurants and shopping, a farmer's market, and just the right population density. But buying that house means putting up with a one-hour commute driving one way. That means that you'll be spending about 2 hours a day and 10 hours a week in your car.
Now, say you find another home with a 30-minute commute one-way. However, the house is much smaller and located on a busy city street. In such situations, what matters most becomes the main point of a trade-off: a great home in a quiet neighborhood, or a low cost of commuting.
When deciding where to buy a home, you need to know where to draw the line and make a tradeoff. With the two examples above, purchasing the first home would mean spending up to 10 hours on the road a week, but you'd have a home that matches your lifestyle. With the second home, however, you might not get more of what you want, but the short commute would give you back 5 hours a week. That would be more time to be with your family or pursue your interests.
If you're not ready to give up your ideal home, but you also don't want to deal with a longer commute, you may want to consider splitting the difference. This could mean choosing another home with a moderate commute and some of the most important things you want.