Commuting: What to Consider when Apartment Hunting

Commuting to work is one of the top things people consider when looking for an apartment. A long commute adds stress to your life. You sit in traffic, you use a substantial amount of gas, and you have far less free time than you would with a shorter commute. Moving closer to work makes life so much easier, but make sure you take all factors into account when apartment shopping based on your commute.

A move for shorter commuting

Switching neighborhoods to make your commuting time more tolerable is a great call. However, in order to ensure that you aren't adding a different kind of stress, you need to ask yourself a few questions.

  • Is the new neighborhood safe?

Look into the crime rates in the neighborhood you are considering. You don't want to jeopardize your safety for a shorter commute; it's simply not worth it.

  • What’s the cost-benefit analysis?

Do a cost benefit analysis to see what your long commute is costing you. You want to look at the full cost of additional mileage on your car, including general wear and tear, depreciation, the cost of more frequent oil changes and repairs AND the cost of gas. Be realistic when figuring your gas costs, by learning the mileage your car gets. Talk to your accountant, if needed, about the wear and tear factor.

  • What’s the cost effectiveness of the move?

Once you know what your commute to work actually costs (and what it might cost in a new neighborhood), you can compare that to rent prices. See what the rent prices are in the neighborhood you’re considering. Even if a place has higher rent, you may still be coming up on top because your car expenses would be so much less.


The commuting drive-time test

Online maps are one way to get a general idea of your drive time. But these don’t take traffic into account. You want to make sure your shorter commute will actually save time. A new neighborhood may make your commute a few miles shorter, but if you’re not saving any time because you’re stuck in traffic day in and day out, it's a wash. Give your commute a try from your new neighborhood. How is rush hour traffic? Are you still saving time even during peak driving times?

Many folks like proximity to a freeway when considering a new neighborhood. But back roads may get you to work faster. When you’re doing your drive tests, see if there is a route for you to avoid the major freeways. This could save you time and sanity.

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The benefits of a shorter commute

There are so many benefits to having a shorter commute: less stress, since you won't be spending nearly as much time on the road in traffic; less money, in gas and car upkeep; time, as you’ll have more time to yourself each day. There are many perks to cutting down your commuting time.


After a long hard day at work, the last thing you want to do is deal with traffic and a long trip home. Traffic is stressful and can be dangerous as well. Why not take one less stressor out of your life? A shorter trip home will not only impact your sanity but your pocket book too.