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A Shorter Commute or a Larger House: Which Is Better?

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Where you live can determine your quality of life and happiness. Living in a house a stone’s throw away from your workplace can save you time and effort, which can be used to invest in more worthwhile hobbies and activities. Meanwhile, a larger house has enough space for whatever you want to do, ranging from a cozy entertainment room with a large screen television to a lush and growing garden surrounded by an aluminum fence panel. Sadly, the combination of a big affordable house within walking distance to one’s office can only be possible in dreams.

People are constantly faced with the dilemma of choosing between a shorter commute but a smaller house and a longer travel time but a spacious home. Both options have their own advantages and disadvantages. No decision will be perfect, as the two situations are not ideal. You can only take into account what is best suited to one’s lifestyle. Here are the pros and cons to consider:

The shorter commute

Traffic congestion is the bane of every highly urbanized city. The worsening gridlocks cost an average American commuter at least 54 extra hours annually, with the number increasing to 83 hours if you work in one of the major cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco. Health can also suffer due to the chronic stress and prolonged sitting position caused by being stuck on the road for hours on end. It is no wonder then that most people would daydream of living close to their workplace, where all the travel you need is a short walk. At the same time as saving your sanity, you are also protecting the environment by lessening your carbon footprint and your contribution to pollution.

On the other hand, homes located in the middle of business districts or within city limits tend to be cramped condominium units with high price tags. For every minute you save, you lose valuable square meters and personal space. Areas within the home need to be multipurpose or shared with another person to afford the rising rental costs. You’ll also get the short end of the stick when your office mates know you live near the office, finding yourself being volunteered or guilt-tripped to stay longer to finish work. They’ll say that you don’t have to contend with being stuck on the road like them.

The bigger space

large home

Having a large home, especially if you’re building a family, can give you the space you need to pursue hobbies, rewind after a long day, and appreciate the nearby spots of nature. Feelings of claustrophobia and cabin fever are unknown to you because you can designate rooms for one specific purpose instead of being creative on maximizing limited areas. That is a need for families that live together because they can have their own place while sharing some common areas. The cost of living is also cheaper in the suburbs compared to large cities, with greater access to affordable education and communities.

The long drive between the house and the office will take out most of your time and headspace. You have to be creative on how to deal with the traffic nightmare and not succumb to the ensuing stress. More time is also needed to sort out home emergencies, forcing you to take a leave from the office for simple errands like overseeing the fixing of a broken water pipe.

Choosing between a shorter commute and a bigger house will not be an easy task. It is up to the aspiring homeowners to decide which areas are non-negotiable or subject to compromise.

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