When looking to buy a home in a new area, one of the things most people will be considering is their expected commuting times for work. However, depending on the area, home prices often increase as you get closer to many business hubs, and you will want to balance the amount you are paying for your home, with the amount of time you spend commuting. Here are a few tips for finding a home which will help you feel satisfied in both areas.

First, look at your commutes. Most families will have more than one commute which will need to be made on a regular basis. Anyone in the home who works will need to regularly make that commute, but also pay attention to things like schools. If you have young children ( or expect to) of school age, they will need to make that trip 5 times a week for most of the year. Even if you are not the one driving the, a long commute can suck time out of their day. Figure out all of the places you will need to visit regularly (schools, work, etc), and then look for areas which will be somewhat equidistant from all, or at least close to most. Generally speaking, its best to try to plan for commutes lasting less than half an hour.

Then, look at homes in areas which are positioned conveniently for your obligations. Now is when you can start looking specifically for things which are important to you. Do you want to save as much as you can on the house? You might need to be open to being further away, or living in a less attractive neighborhood. Are you looking for a family friendly area, or one with specific other characteristics? You might be paying a bit more.

In the end, you will have to make decisions that will be best for your specific situations. My overall advice is to keep in mind all of the commutes which will need to be made, and to make this an important part of the purchasing process. Many people will add minutes onto their commute without really thinking about the impact that this will have. Over the course of a year, a 5 minute increase in commute time to work could lead to about 50 hours extra on the road. That’s more than two full days, just driving!