Author Topic: Live near work or live near opportunities?  (Read 1855 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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  • Location: Austin TX
Live near work or live near opportunities?
« on: July 01, 2018, 11:18:46 AM »
I'm about to buy a house, and I thought I had decided on location, until a coworker mentioned something that gave me pause. So now I want to ask you fine folks what you'd do, given my situation.

Currently I live in $biggerCity and work in $smallerCity. It's a reverse highway commute, so traffic isn't bad, but it's so far away it takes a half hour each way regardless. About 50 miles RT.

The plan was to buy a house on the outskirts of $biggerCity, near the highway so I'd have a straight shot 22-minute commute to $smallerCity. The thinking was it'd be real easy to get to my current job, while keeping options open for other jobs in that area (lots of tech company presence). Basically the best of both worlds. In $smallerCity I'm not sure I could find another job doing what I do, paying what it does, but in $biggerCity I could probably find one paying even more if I wanted.

But I mentioned all this to a coworker and she said "$biggerCity has changed so much over the past 10 years, it's impossible to know what it will look like even 2 years from now. I would just buy a house near work for now, and if you get another job elsewhere, sell it and buy another near that job. You never know where the future jobs are going to be, so I wouldn't even factor that into my planning."

Which is true, but there are lots of transactions costs involved in buying and selling a house, which I'm not keen on shelling out for every couple years if I were to job hop. Honestly I'd rather settle on a location, then restrict myself to jobs only in that area.

"Just rent!" you say. Which I could, and am doing now, but frankly I'm tired of it. The life I want includes doing DIY work around the house and wrenching on cars in the garage. Stuff I can't really do with a rental. I'm not super concerned that I might come out behind buying vs renting, but at the same time I don't want to waste the maximum amount, ya know?

As for numbers, there's maybe a $30k price difference between the two cities, with $smallerCity at about $170-200k for a house that needs some work but is still livable and $biggerCity at $200-230k. Or I could buy a teardown in the heart of $smallerCity that would be under $160k and be a 2 mile bike ride to work. (Basically any house in $smallerCity would be a <3 mile bike ride to work.)

But, if I leave my job, which I expect I'll do eventually, I'll likely have a commute from hell going into $biggerCity, which I really Do Not Want. And if it's anything like this job, which was contract-to-hire for 6 months, I wouldn't want to move for at least the first 6 months either.

One final factor to consider is I plan to rent out spare rooms, and I suspect rentability is higher in $biggerCity. Then again, there is a university in $smallerCity and a surprising lack of rooms for rent, so maybe not.

Thanks for reading my novel.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Live near work or live near opportunities?
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2018, 12:36:34 PM »
I would go with your original plan for your original reasons.


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: Live near work or live near opportunities?
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2018, 02:55:24 PM »
I would stick with your original plan.

I lived and worked in smallercity.  When I realized I wasn't happy with my job, there was absolutely nothing local, and the commute into bigcity would be truly awful.  So I moved to suburb on the outskirts of big city and had a reverse commute like you did for 6 months.  Then I found a job in bigcity.  I would never have been able to make the commute from smallcity to my new job.  I'd have gotten halfway there, turned around and gone home to sulk.