Does Commute-Time Matter When Buying a House?

One of my favorite websites – Gizmodo – pointed out a new feature on Trulia that is really useful, if it’s accurate. It’s a map that shows commute times. You plunk the little marker down on a location and then move the cursor over other parts of the map and it shows how long the commute is.

Trulia Maps Show You the Fastest Way to Get Anywhere, Now [Maps].

So often buyers will say Commute time map from Cheverly via Truliathey want no more than, say, a 30 minute commute. In the DC area, that’s not as simple as drawing 15 mile circle around a house. Traffic is such that I might be able to get to Baltimore from Cheverly far faster than I can get to Silver Spring on a Friday afternoon. Give it a try – here I’ve dropped the pin on Cheverly, MD and dragged the slider to show up to a 60 minute commute.

Actually, I’m not sure you can get anywhere anymore on a Friday afternoon, especially if the weather is nice!

How does the map stack up with your commute-time? Do you find it accurate or does it paint too rosy a picture for our area?


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2 Responses to Does Commute-Time Matter When Buying a House?

  1. Love the concept. A little doubtful on the accuracy. Like you say, Friday afternoon is one thing. How about bad weather (rain! or snow!) or construction or crashes? Plus, to be honest, these color schemes get me all discombobulated.

    Plus, why does it say you can get to National Harbor in 30 minutes but not Annapolis (which would be a piece of cake, except on Friday night)? And it says you can get to Mitchellville in 3o and RT 3 in the same amount of time even though it’s another 5 miles down the road.

    Like most of what Trulia does (like it’s new valuation estimates), it’s a decent idea with half baked implementation.

    The bottom line for me is that while I love to be able to point to some tool that estimates commutes (like Google maps), I’m always a little leery of their accuracy. I guess you need one of those weight loss type disclaimers: “individual results may vary”.
    Ken Montville recently posted..Should You Buy A “Distressed” Property?

    • susanpruden says:

      I don’t mind the heat-map style – but I think you’re right – “your mileage may vary”. However, it’s a good starting place. I’ve also found WMATA’s site to be useful. You can put in an address (home, for example) and another (work, for example) and see a variety of routes using public transportation – and you have the added benefit of being able to put in the desired arrival time. I recently worked with a buyer who doesn’t drive and so the houses we looked at were scrutinized carefully using that site.

      And I agree completely about most of Trulia’s automated anything being half-baked.

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