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If you’ve found a house that is large enough for your family, has the amenities you want, is in an area with a vibrant community and great schools, and fits your budget, you’re probably eager to sign a purchase contract. Before you do, however, you need to make sure the commute would be manageable. The best way to find out is to make the drive at rush hour.

Why It’s Important to Take a Ride at Rush Hour
A commute may seem relatively short in theory, but traffic and construction can dramatically increase the amount of travel time. Rushing out the door in the morning, then getting stuck in gridlock and worrying that you might not make it to work on time, can be stressful, especially if it happens day in and day out. Even if you make it on time, arriving at work stressed out is not a good way to start the day. You’ll be able to focus better and get more done if you arrive at work relaxed.

Not knowing if you’ll be able to pick up your kids from after-school activities on time, make dinner and relax can be a source of frustration for the entire family. The more time you spend on the road, the less time you’ll have to spend talking to your family, playing with your kids, helping them with homework, exercising and pursuing your hobbies. Over time, not being able to do the things you want to do because you spend so much time sitting in traffic can take a significant toll.

Stress can have wide-ranging impacts on both mental and physical health. It can lead to high blood pressure, obesity and chronic health problems and can affect your relationships with your boss, your colleagues and your family.

Stop-and-go traffic can put a lot more wear and tear on a vehicle than traveling at a consistent speed and can reduce fuel economy. That means more maintenance and repair bills and more money for gas.

Consider Both the House and the Commute
If you’ve found a house that has all the features you want, but you would have a long commute to work, ask yourself if it would be worth it in the long run. Different people have different amounts of tolerance for traffic. Some welcome the opportunity to listen to music, a podcast or an audio book, but most people get frustrated, and even angry to some degree.

Even if buying your dream house would only increase your commute by 10 minutes in the morning and evening compared to your current commute, the effects could add up. Be realistic about how a stressful commute could affect you if you had to deal with it every day, especially if you have or plan to have kids. Spending hours each week stuck in gridlock could impact all of you.