Quality of Life in 92691>Question Details

Sherbear, Renter in Laguna Hills, CA

Close to work, or 30 to 40 min commute to a town you love?

Asked by Sherbear, Laguna Hills, CA Fri Apr 15, 2011

Hubby and I are looking to buy a condo in South Orange County, (we're renting at the moment in Mission Viejo) but we're torn... there's a nice community just 10 minutes away where he wouldn't even have to take the freeway, but we're also very much drawn to the areas further down the 5 closer to SJC. This is where we spend most of our time on the weekends, bike riding, the "character", the air and cooler temps etc. but we know the traffic will take us longer (the actual distance where we're looking is 15-20 miles from his office)
Does anyone have any feedback from yourself or your clients on whether it's worth it to drive the extra miles?
As far as buying in Mission Viejo or Laguna Niguel, I figure once we're as far as Crown Valley, we might as well go a bit further.
Thank you for any advice! :-)

Help the community by answering this question:


Hi Sherbear, it seems to me that you have two possible problems. If your Hubby is already familiar with traffic at the El Toro "Y", coming from further South isn't going to change that - only make it seem longer.

You mentioned that one community avoids the freeway altogether, but you prefer areas a tad further South. The other problem or solution is whether you can take either toll road, to avoid the freeway, but as you know - you have to pay tolls. MY experience with those is that they save a corresponding amount in both time and gas money, so to me, the toll-roads are a "wash", vs. the freeway.

Others, including you, may not be comfortable rationalizing the toll-roads, in such a manner.

So, that's it, either tolls roads, the 5/405, or whether you can navigate surface streets - any faster than the other two. You probably should try driving the proposed route, a couple of different ways, to gauge their eventual suitability, or acceptability.

By the way, make sure that the agent you select has familiarity with the areas you're considering. Many agents on Trulia answer questions and deliberately mislead you, saying things like "I cover all of Orange County", and they really haven't a clue about the area you're interested in. Look on the agent's profiles to see the actual cities they typically serve.

Good luck in sorting out your possible solutions
Web Reference: http://BobPhillips.net
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 15, 2011
I think its worth a little extra drive each day to live where you want.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 12, 2012
My office is in Newport and we live in Ladera Ranch and have done so for 7 years. Well worth it if you love it.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 29, 2011
Hi Sherbear,

From personal experience, the extra 15-20 miles will actually give Hubby time in the morning to plan his day at the office and time to unwind while driving home.

Two thirds of your time is spent at home. Home is where the heart is and there's no place like home. Most of the time, going the extra miles in life, is usually worth it!

Good Luck Sherbear and Hubby!
Web Reference: http://carolyngroner.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Apr 16, 2011
Thank you for so many terrific answers!
We have found that from my husband's office to the furthest we're willing to commute is 20 miles. That would take us to the SJC/Dana border.
We did look out in the inland empire a few weeks back, and the prices of the homes there boggles the mind, but we also know we're not willing to drive that far.
BTW, I didn't include specifics or numbers which is why I posted under quality of life rather than the home buying section.
Thanks again for a lot of good feedback... either way, like most things in life, there's usually a trade off for the choices we make. :-)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Apr 16, 2011
Sherbear...Your question is certainly open to a lot of interpretation, but it would certainly help to know some specifics..like what is your rent today, what is your income, how safe are your jobs for the next 5 years?
In this NEW economy, numbers speak louder than dreams.

David Cooper! Las Vegas Foreclosure Investor in Bank Owned REO's with Cash Flow +1-7024997037
not a real estate agent
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Apr 16, 2011
Before my husband and I bought in Ladera Ranch, we pondered the same question. In the end community, safety, school district and resale value won out. I was working in Santa Ana at the time only to relocate 4 months after we bought, here in Ladera Ranch. You never know where your job will take you, but home will always be home. If you love that area and home you can leave the work behind at the end of the day and hopefully weekends, and enjoy the area you enjoy to live and play in. Make a list of pros and cons and weigh them out. Gas prices go up and down, lets hope we can see a down soon ~ I truly belive finding a great investment and an area you love would weigh out a drive. Most professions work 8 hours a day, leaving the other 16 hours, minus commute and errands, to enjoy our surroundings, and don't forget the two 24 hour days on the weekends. Now is the best time to invest in your future with Real Estate, make a choice you won't regret.
Amy Sims
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Apr 16, 2011
With gas prices going up that may be more of a consideration to go further south. I find as many of my clients do, that the ocean side of the 5 is usually cooler. There are many very nice places in Laguna Niguel that are close to hiking and biking trails around the Moulton/ Goldern Lantern/Crown Valley Area. There are places in Aliso Viejo that are down toward the end of El Toro with a section that is still Laguna Beach that has good walking trails and bike trails. Let me know if there is any thing more I can share with you about these areas that I know very well. Jeanne Allen email jallen4homes@yahoo.com cell: 949-322-9661.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 15, 2011
Hi Sherbear.
Really, such a personal matter of taste. A few questions to ask yourself...do you have children that would make getting them before or after school more difficult with a longer commute? Would the price of gas going up be prohibitive to your budget on a longer commute? How long will you be at those jobs and if you were to leave is there one you could get closer to the more preferred community? And finally, what's your personal tollerance for traffic and commute time. Is getting home at 6p a problem compared to 530p?
Best of luck...one of those questions I'm sure you wish you had a crystal ball for...

0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 15, 2011

Buying property nearly always involves "trade offs" that can complicate the decision process.Our recommendation is to view your decision not only from the distance & commute perspective but to truly evaluat the entire event.

Making a list of pro's & con's can help clarify things for you and bring you closer to your real priorities and the right decision. Creating lists of what your new home must have, what you would like it to have but can to without, and what you absolutely don't want the home to have.

On the surface, you may feel there is no reason to be doing this because your main concern is the commute. This may be the case but the process often takes people away from their other needs that should always be kept in mind during an important process.

Good luck,

0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 15, 2011
You know the old saying "Home is Where the Heart is". If you live in a place you love, everything else is doable. If you live only for convenience, your house becomes four walls, a prison. Let your heart guide you to your new home and you will find happiness you never dreamed possible. I speak from experience. Dare to Dream.

Shel-lee Davis, QSC®
Certified Distressed Property Expert – CDPE®
Short Sale & Foreclosure Resource – SFR®
Certified HAFA Specialist – CHS®
SSG Pro®
Your Real Estate Consultant for Life
RE/MAX Palos Verdes Realty
424-2HELP12 (424-243-5712)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 15, 2011
Personally, if you truly like the areas further down the 5, I would lean towards buying there. Your happiness is what counts most, and if that area is your "ideal area", then I would look there. Plus, the commute to work is not "too" bad, in the scheme of things.

Please visit my website at HighcrestRE.com. You can search for homes directly on the MLS on my site. I also have many tips for buyers, home buyer myths, mortgage calculator, market conditions, etc. I'm here to help, and I'd be happy to sit down with you for a no-hassle consultation. I've been a South O.C. Realtor and Broker for many years, and I'm very easy to work with. My credentials and testimonials can also be found on my website.

Thanks so much, and all the best!
Web Reference: http://www.HighcrestRE.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 15, 2011
Hi Sherbear,
You really do need to make this decision for yourself. If you spend most o fyour time further south then I think you already have your answer as to where you should buy!
I can tell you that I have many clients that work in Orange county which I have sold homes to in Corona, as they were able to get a much nicer home there for their money. Not one of them has said they are unhappy with their decision because of the commute. It adds about 25 minutes to their drive. I think I would choose loving my home over an extra 20-30 minutes on the road. But that is me! I hope it is ok for me to say this on this site but I would also pray about it a bit!
Best of luck to you,
Connie Bramble
Prudential CA Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 15, 2011
In my opinion there are pluses to both. On the one hand you spend the majority of your week working and with gas prices the way they are, it's very nice and convenient to spend the 5 days a week closer to work. This way it makes planning and your mornings quite a bit easier as well.

However, some people like that drive to "come down" from there day. It's one day to wind down before actually getting home and truly enjoying your relaxation time.

Maybe there is something 1/2 way in between both worlds? That way you will only be 15 minutes on either side.

Best of luck and if you need help with anything else, feel free to call or email!

Michelle Talley
Dawson Ford Garbee & Co., Realtors
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 15, 2011
This is a great question and one that definitely requires some consideration. I have done long commutes, longer than 40 minutes, and not only did it wear on me and my family life, but I began to resent my house because it tied me to a place so far from work.
On the other hand, I've lived places that I didn't love, and was never truly satisfied with where I lived because the place I really felt drawn to was not where I chose to buy. So you have pros and cons on both sides of this.
My best advice to you would be to consider what is going to cause you the greatest stress as well as the greatest joy. Is a 40-minute commute each way (nearly an hour and a half on the road 5 days a week, equaling more than six hours of commute time being added to each work week and taking that time away from loved ones) going to be offset and counter-balanced by living in a place you LOVE, rather than a place you LIKE? You don't want to buy something you won't be happy with, but you also don't want to sacrifice your quality of life for a house. I wish you the best and hope that all of this consideration brings you clarity about what to do!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 15, 2011
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