Location, Location, Transportation

February 5, 2010

You’ve heard it a million times, the mantra of real estate: location, location, location. But exactly what makes one location superior to another? There are many factors involved, and the answer varies by individual, so you should put some serious thought into what it means to you. One thing to consider when evaluating potential homes is transportation — where you regularly need to go and how you like to get there.

By foot — What walkable conveniences does a given neighborhood offer? This may not seem like a big deal if you’re used to getting in your car for all your errands, but there’s a lot to be said for being able to walk to the corner store to pick up a gallon of milk or to the cafe down the street to meet friends for breakfast. Also, recent research has found that walkability can have a big impact on your home’s value.

By car — If you do most of your getting around by car, you need to look at more than just distance on a map: it’s vital to consider travel routes and traffic. What may seem a quick jaunt “as the crow flies” can be a major ordeal when you factor in things like one-way streets, intersections where you can’t turn left and rush hour traffic. I suggest that you take all potential neighborhoods for a test drive — literally. Go there at 8 a.m. and try driving to work to see how long it takes. Do the same thing in reverse at the end of the day to sample the evening commute.

By MBTA — I’m the first to admit that the T has its shortcomings, but we’re very fortunate here to have access to one of the few legitimate public transportation systems in the US. Going back to my earlier point, though, distance isn’t everything… home A may be farther from your office than home B on a map, but if it’s on a direct bus route, it may be an easier commute. Taking some time now to investigate the MBTA travel options for various neighborhoods can save you a lot of time later.

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