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Old 12-29-2010, 08:08 PM
 
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My fiance and I are looking to buy our first home. Where we live currently, he can get to work in 20-40 minutes even in bad weather/traffic...and me 5 minutes to my job of course! We are looking for a city with a better school district and just overall don't plan to stay in our current city which is a suburb that borders Detroit. We value quality of life/leisure and don't want to DRIVE ALL DAY EVERY DAY! I have coworkers who live in very good areas, but it can take them over an hour to and from work each day. Is wanting a commute that's 40 minutes tops unrealistic? If you want a "nicer" area, you have to keep driving further and further? Do you have a commute that you regret? Or perhaps you have a longer commute, but your house/area is worth it? please advise!
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Old 12-30-2010, 06:41 AM
 
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Personally, I hate driving. I had a great job where I had to drive 45 minutes there and an hour and a half home each day (traffic differences) and it was really draining. I was a big ball of stress by the time I got home. I stuck it out for a few years, but switched jobs as soon as something decent opened up closer to home where it's only 20 minutes.

But, the reasons you listed for wanting to move (better neighborhood and schools) are sound and may be more important in the long run. How set are you on staying in the same job? Could you make the move, stay in the job for the time being, but start looking for something closer to your new neighborhood?
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Old 12-30-2010, 01:18 PM
 
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Thanks for giving your real life experience.... I haven't talked with anyone whose over 30 minute commute doesn't bother them...and I hate driving also; so I'm sure it will bother me! He is with a major utility company here and has been there for 10 years...he will be there to stay. Me on the other hand, I am more likely to change careers. I think there are some places that may border Detroit, but aren't affected too much by that. If we remain looking in those places, that will give a 25 minute drive. We're prepared for 45 minutes in inclement weather... but we don't want to start off with a 40 minute commute...that means double that in traffic...just like you said.
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Old 12-30-2010, 02:18 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss On The Move View Post
Thanks for giving your real life experience.... I haven't talked with anyone whose over 30 minute commute doesn't bother them...and I hate driving also; so I'm sure it will bother me! He is with a major utility company here and has been there for 10 years...he will be there to stay. Me on the other hand, I am more likely to change careers. I think there are some places that may border Detroit, but aren't affected too much by that. If we remain looking in those places, that will give a 25 minute drive. We're prepared for 45 minutes in inclement weather... but we don't want to start off with a 40 minute commute...that means double that in traffic...just like you said.
You probably do have to make some trade-offs, but I'd err on the side of the shorter commute for lots of reasons:

1. It's safer.
2. It's cheaper.
3. You'll be happier not having to spend so much time in your car.
4. Count on gas prices to continue going up. All the cheap oil has been drilled.
5. Most people underestimate how unhappy they will be driving in traffic. It starts out as tolerable, but gets worse over time. From what you've said, it doesn't sound like you're the exception to this.

I have to admit my own biases. I live in a car-centric area but live and work in a downtown where I am able to walk 1 block to work every day from my studio apartment. I LOVE IT! Now, I am single & don't have kids, so schools are not an issue for me. But I can't tell you how much it adds to my quality of life to be able to live within walking distance of work, the grocery store, movie theaters, the library, restaurants, an outdoor pool, etc.

The less time you spend in traffic, and the less dependent you are on your car, the better.

Last edited by mysticaltyger; 12-30-2010 at 02:36 PM..
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Old 12-30-2010, 02:23 PM
 
Location: Beautiful Rhode Island
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$5 a gal gasoline is being predicted by 2012.
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Old 12-30-2010, 02:37 PM
 
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Hollytree and Mysticaltyger, thanks for your response. That is something to consider, gas prices!!! If you have an 8 hour job plus 2 hours on the road roundtrip, that's really 10 hours...minus your gas costs....so how much is your REAL salary when you look at it that way. There are many books about this...about getting out of the rat race to improve quality of life/free time. And doing a cost analysis of your job, house, etc.
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Old 12-30-2010, 02:49 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss On The Move View Post
Hollytree and Mysticaltyger, thanks for your response. That is something to consider, gas prices!!! If you have an 8 hour job plus 2 hours on the road roundtrip, that's really 10 hours...minus your gas costs....so how much is your REAL salary when you look at it that way. There are many books about this...about getting out of the rat race to improve quality of life/free time. And doing a cost analysis of your job, house, etc.
Oh, and a long commute is also more wear and tear on your car, which means you have to replace your car more often...and that likely costs more than gas (even if gas does end up going to $5 a gallon).

It sounds like your thinking is on the right track with this. The hard part is finding a nice place to live that's reasonably close to work for both of you. The fact that mass transit s*cks in most places and that everything is designed with the assumption you'll be driving your car for every trip makes it difficult to pull off a car lite or car free lifestyle in most places...but it's worth the effort.
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Old 12-30-2010, 04:23 PM
 
5,019 posts, read 12,738,933 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss On The Move View Post
Hollytree and Mysticaltyger, thanks for your response. That is something to consider, gas prices!!! If you have an 8 hour job plus 2 hours on the road roundtrip, that's really 10 hours...minus your gas costs....so how much is your REAL salary when you look at it that way. There are many books about this...about getting out of the rat race to improve quality of life/free time. And doing a cost analysis of your job, house, etc.
I agree that you are on the right track. I'm often shocked that more people don't "do the math".

You mentioned school districts....do you have kids???

A few things to consider:

Not ~all~ schools in any given district may be "bad" (or "good" for that matter). Do your research.

Schools (and neighborhoods) can change over time. For better OR for worse. If you are thinking ahead to "future children", buying ~solely~ based on school-district may come back to bite you. Especially as you move into the outer-ring suburbs (in some parts of the country these areas already starting to see a gradual decline). On the other hand, if you buy in a gentrifying area and wait ten years to have children, the neighborhood schools may see a renaissance.

When factoring all the commuting costs, and then subtracting them if you decide for the shorter commute, ask youself "could we afford private school with the savings? "

Most of all, remember that the best predictor of student achievement is parental involvement. If mom and dad both work 1+ hour away and never make it back to school to volunteer, for class plays and events, or in time to help with homework before bedtime, then living in a super-dooper school district may end up being a wash.

Good luck and best wishes!
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Old 12-30-2010, 05:28 PM
 
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I personally would regret a longer commute- any more than 20 minutes is too long for me! I have time to go home, exercise, cook a leisurely dinner, read, relax! Much better than being in stressful traffic behind a wheel. I too hate to drive.

Hopefully you can find a win-win situation. There are lots of nice neighborhood enclaves. Good luck!
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Old 12-30-2010, 05:54 PM
 
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I hate driving too, and anything over 20 minutes is too much for me. Plus I drive a POS car that I would like to keep until it explodes, therefore, I don't want to drive a ton of miles everyday.

The cost of gas and wear/tear, as well as time are negative aspects of commuting. It really depends on you. I would regret it.
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