According to 2013 Census data over 75% of American workers are driving to work and nearly 11 Million Americans spend over an hour driving to work each way. With that in mind, aspiring homeowners should consider the additional cost of gas and automobile maintenance into their plans. Opting for a smaller home closer to work may pay huge dividends over time while appreciating as Central Texas traffic congestion continues.
How to Evaluate Your Drivetime Before Buying.
1. The first thing you should consider is mapping your drive online.
Using tools like Google Maps you are able to input your daily commute and then adjust the leave time to match up with your work schedule to get a close estimation of your daily drive. Tools like Google Maps will also give you alternative routes that you may not have considered. After that, I recommend actually taking a test run of your drive so you can factor that into your home buying decision.
2. Consider how this will affect your time outside of work.
With so many of us in Central Texas driving for more than an hour each way you should factor in whether spending an extra two hours a day is worth that extra bedroom or swimming pool. One thing that you should discuss with your employer is the possibility of flexible scheduling. In Austin, there is a dramatic reduction of traffic if you are leaving the house at 9 instead of 8:30 or heading to the office earlier than the typical rush.
3. Plan for the Future
You should also consider some of the major life events that you anticipate happening while you reside in your potential new home. If you are planning on getting married and starting a family you may not have the option of living in a cozy bungalow on the east side. Alternatively, if you are going to retire soon you may be looking forward to downsizing and moving closer to the city to be close to the things you love.
4. Factor in All Costs of Driving
We have already evaluated the time and work life aspects of driving your car but what about the impact commuting has on your wallet? In 2017 the current rate for wear and tear costs is 53.5 cents per mile for business miles driven. If you are driving 30 miles per day for work 200 days a year you are looking at around $3210 per year in Gasoline and regular maintenance on your vehicle. Obviously, moving much closer can make this number nearly negligible or open up possibilities for public transportation.
5. Consider other options during rush hour
Another option for a lot of Austinites is planning to complete other tasks during your commute. Whether you are hitting the gym each night for an hour or knocking out your grocery shopping there are plenty of ways to simply pass the time if sitting in traffic isn't your cup of tea.