We’ve all heard that real estate is all about “location, location, location,” and properties in more desirable locations typically come with a higher price tag than similar properties that aren’t in a hot neighborhood.
Yet the overall cost of living for choosing one location over another might be negligible when you factor in the commuting costs that are required—gas, vehicle maintenance, insurance—if you purchase a home that is significantly further from your workplace. If your mortgage is $200 less per month, but you’re spending an extra $200 in commuting costs, are you really saving money?
Commuting costs aren’t just about the disposable income left in your bank account, either. It can even affect how much money you can borrow. If you’re a long-distance commuter, a loan officer may factor your travel costs into your debt-to-income ratio.
Aside from how commuting affects your purchasing power or disposable income, there’s also the question of how it affects your quality of life—no one wants to spend hours a week just getting to and from work.
The real estate market varies greatly from location to location, so the best way to get a complete picture of your purchasing power—and all the factors that go into your home budget—is to speak to a trusted real estate professional.