You may be focused on whether or not your new apartment has a dishwasher, outdoor space or bar nearby, but you’ll thank yourself later if you toss your new commute into the mix. While you may be looking in a neighborhood on the outskirts of an urban center because of its affordability, remember that may mean it will cost more to get to work. Follow these apartment hunting tips to find the perfect rental within the range of your desired commute time.
How Are You Going to Commute?
The way you plan on getting to work will play a major role in the neighborhood you choose. Do you want to walk, bike, take public transportation or drive?
Walk: Know that if you work in a dense urban area and want to walk to work, you’ll probably have to shell out a bit extra for this convenience. Or if you plan to strap on a helmet and cycle to the office, you will want to find an apartment with easy access to bike lanes. You can calculate your travel time and bike route on Google Maps.
Public Transportation: This is a popular option for urban dwellers, but you should make sure that you are not only close to a bus or train stop, but that you won’t have to transfer a bunch of times to get to work.
Drive: If you rely on your own vehicle to get across town, you may want to find a place near the highway or a major road. Traffic can be killer during rush hour, so plot out your new commute as efficiently as possible. If this is your plan, don’t forget about parking around your new place.
Bike: While you may be looking at an apartment during the summer and biking around town is on the brain, don’t forget to think about how travel times will change during the winter when it’s less feasible to cruise on two wheels.
Test It Out
The best way to figure out if you can handle the commute is by actually testing it. Pick a few different neighborhoods or blocks that you are focusing your search on, and commute to your office as you would each morning. Factor in the time difference of rush hour during your trial run.
Don’t forget to check bus and train schedules for the area, as some lines run more frequently than others. If you work nights, you won’t want to live off a stop that only has service until the early evening.
Use Online Tools
Websites like WalkScore can help you determine the best neighborhood to look for an apartment based on your commute. Whether you want to cruise down the street in your car, hop on a bus or train, or hoof it to the office on foot, this resource will give you the lowdown on where to hang your hat. WalkScore will also let you know what amenities, like coffee shops, grocery stores, bars and restaurants, are within walking distance of your new pad.