Choosing a Home by Commute Time in Northern VA

There are so many wonderful reasons and benefits to living in Northern Virginia, though that comes along with one major challenge – traffic. The Washington DC area infamously has some of the most gridlocked highways in the country. That reality makes it crucial to understand what your daily commute time might be like to and from your desired home location. The length of your commute can have a HUGE effect on your quality of life and enjoyment of where you’ve decided to live.

As such, it’s a critical data point to consider when searching for a Northern Virginia home. What’s the longest you’re willing to commute to and from your office location? What time of day do you need to arrive at your office? What time of day to you plan to leave your office to head home? How long is the commute at those times? How can I know this information before searching for and purchasing a home?

Luckily there are ways – some easier and more convenient than others.

One method is to use Google Maps and use the Directions feature to enter both theprospective home address and the office address, and let Google calculate the current drive time. Google provides an option to alter the departure or desired arrive time, and then provides estimated times (sometimes ranges of time) for how long the commute will take at that time of day. The key challenge here is that this must be done for one departure/arrival address combo at a time, and Google Maps doesn’t make suggestions for other locations that could offer a similar commute time to the desired address.

Another option is to use a real estate map drawing feature – such as the one on – to search for all available homes in an area of your choosing that has a generally known commute time to your office. The key challenge here is that you must know from other sources (perhaps anecdotally, perhaps from personal experience, perhaps of Google-type search, etc.) what the expected commuting time is from that general area. And you’d have to separately research expected commuting times at different times of day if you wanted to "experiment" with time of day options for your commute.

The third method overcomes the challenges of the above two options, and is both easy and intuitive from the standpoint of a home buyer. When you work with the Equity Rise Real Estate Team, we provide you online access to a commuting time tool via our local MLS (BrightMLS). Using this tool, you simply provide a destination address to commute to, your preferred maximum time length of commute, and the time of day for your commute. Using known commute times, the system will automatically draw a boundary map of all homes for sale that would offer your preferred commute time at your expected time of day to be commuting. Easy, quick, and effective at providing you with this critical information for any home purchase in the Northern Virginia area!