Test the Commute

Think about this, there are two things honest people routinely lie about: their weight and their commute. If you ask them, they will shave a bit off each. In both cases, the deception is usually based not in a desire to deceive others but from a protective need to deceive themselves. Promise yourself you will look at the real facts of your prospective commute when you are deciding on neighborhoods. Never rely on a real estate agent’s sunny assurances about how long your commute will take after you move in.

Also be skeptical of your own sunny assumptions about the commute especially if you’ve done most of your house hunting on weekends, when traffic usually is light. Before you decide on a neighborhood you need to try out the real thing: a rush hour commute.

Go ahead and try it out. If at all possible, set your alarm early one morning and get yourself to the prospective neighborhood just before you would need to leave for work if you lived there. Park at the train station and get a ticket for the commuter special, take the express park-and-ride bus; or ease your car onto the highway.

Just be sure to give your real-life commute a test drive. One early morning will save many sleepless nights later, when you otherwise might lie awake wondering if you made a bad decision on a new home.