A Buyer's Commute
Commuting Reality Check
The fact is commuting is not for everyone no matter how much more house your can get or the kids can have grass instead of concrete to play on its sometime not worth it. I've commuted for the last 15years to New York and as much as I hate it sometimes I'm still drawn to being out of the city. Commuting definitely is not for everyone because by the end of your day you are drained. I've seen what happens to people when they realize that the new home also comes with commuting and the big cost to commute. I've seen people within a year move back to the city or they find a baby stitter for the kids and live in the city during the week.
Commuter and The Realtor
There are many people that get so caught up in what the realtor is saying that they don't realize the realtor isn't saying anything about commuting. I sold real estate so I know they say very little if anything about commuting. They are there to sell you a house. Do you really think they care about your commute?
The perfect scenario of a home buyer. The couple gets up eary on a Saturday morning and pack the kids in the car for the 90 to 120 min drive to meet their realtor. The realtor meets them with a koolaid smile on her face and thoughts of hundred dollar bills in her mind. You ride around from house to house listening to descriptions of each house, community news and the big selling point for most married house hunters is the wonderful schools the area has.
Finally, you head back to the city with so many houses in your mind you don't remember which house was which.You get back to your neighborhood look around and before you can make it out the car you're dialing the realtor to buy your dream house.
You move in over the weekend and on Sunday morning you realize you have to go work the next day. You call the realtor and ask that important question that never entered your mind until now "How do I get to work from here?. This is where the reality of what you have done finally hits home. The cost of 2 monthly tickets is hundreds of dollars plus the fare for transportation once you get into the city. This is a big problem for most people because there is no budget for that big expense. The only thing you can do now is start calculating how to cut down expenses to accommodate this hefty transportation cost. The next awakening comes from not knowing a bus or train schedule. This can mean that if you have to be to work at 8am you have to get up at 4am to catch a 5am bus. What an awakening! The only good thing is one of your mother's is living with you so you don't have to worry about getting the kids ready for school.
When you get to the bus station there's lots of sleepy commuters like yourself waiting for the bus. When its ten minutes before bus departure you start to line up single file to load on the bus.Thank goodness its two of you so you don't have to sit next to someone that smells like garlic (I know some people take garlic for medical reasons) or just didn't bathe. The men can be the worst sitting companions because they like to spread their legs so women big or small get scrunched into the corner of their seat. You wouldn't believe this but there is always one person that had to have gone to bed at 6pm the night before because he/she wants to talk the entire ride to anyone sitting in the adjacent seat. When you get that person all you can do close your eyes and pretend to fall asleep as soon as they start. You'll know the person ahead of time because he/she is walking around the bus station trying to start a conversion that will last until the bus comes. There are situations on buses like arguments about putting seats to far back or sitting in someone's seat even though there are no assigned seats. This is your 90min trip in and going home is no bargain because then you have to deal with the traffic. There is usually traffic no matter what time you want to leave the city and this can add another 30 or 40mins to your trip.
You might be ok the first week but by the 3rd week you're thinking how did I get in this predicament. "Oh yeah better schools and better quality of life". The quality of life statement I have issue with because you're usually too tired to really enjoy that dream house or do anything but lay around the house when the weekend rolls around.. If you have kids there goes the laying around the house because they need some of your time.
It doesn't matter if you commute by train or bus they both can break down and have you sitting for hours. There are people that will say the train is better but what they don't say is that it may be a little better for $30.00 more than the bus. The next time you think about your dream house don't forget the commuting is apart of the dream.