Frustrated by High Home Prices? Here’s an Underused Solution if You Work From Home…

Frustrated by High Home Prices? Here’s an Underused Solution if You Work From Home…

  • Heather Smith
  • 09/7/23

If you’ve been hoping to buy a home, you’re probably well aware that prices (and competition) for places to live have both been steep for quite some time in many areas. And even though mortgage rates have risen in the past year, a drastic drop in either of those two things doesn’t seem to be happening anytime soon, if ever.

It’s made many potential homebuyers so frustrated that they take a break from looking, or give up hope entirely and just stay in their current home, or continue to rent, which isn’t a picnic either! Rental prices and competition for apartments and single family house rentals is often more fierce than for houses to buy.

But if you work from home, you may have options and an edge that other buyers don’t have, and other remote workers have overlooked.

Why Pay for Location if It Doesn’t Matter as Much to You?

You’ve probably heard the old adage that the three most important things that determine the value of real estate are:

  1. Location
  2. Location
  3. Location

That saying is no joke. Location plays a huge part in how much a house is worth. But the real reason location can make a property worth more money boils down to the simple economic factor of supply and demand. Demand is often higher in areas that are closer to where people work. People don’t want to spend any more time or money on commuting than they have to, so they’re willing to pay a premium to live in an area that’s close to major major roads or public transportation that’ll get them into work in the least amount of time.

But, according to this CNN article, more remote workers are starting to take advantage of the fact that they don’t have to commute, and are willing to move to more affordable areas.

While there have always been people who work from home, the pandemic put almost everyone in that position for a while. Although some people had to return to the office, many have found themselves more than happy to work from home, and employers who are willing to let them.

Yet even though there are a lot of people working from home, they often overlook the opportunity they have to find a more affordable place to live, and continue to focus on trying to buy a home in areas that are highly sought after due to their location, when they don’t absolutely need to.

If you don’t need to leave your house in order to get to work, it gives you a lot of advantages other homebuyers who need to commute don’t have, so why not take advantage of that?

Advantages of Moving to a Less Commuter-Friendly Area

Areas that are closer to where many people work and have better commutes are often seen as more “desirable” places to live in the eyes of many buyers, whether they commute or not. But that might be based more upon the reputation and demand for houses in the area, than from an objective perspective. Just because “everyone” thinks an area is better or more desirable, doesn’t mean areas that are further away don’t have advantages.

Check out this list of potential advantages you could have by moving to a less commuter-friendly area:

  • You could get more house for the same (or less) money.
  • You could get a bigger property.
  • You could get a nicer house with more amenities.
  • You might be able to find new construction, or build your own home from the ground up in areas that are less developed than the highly populated commuter areas.
  • You might not have as much competition from other buyers.

If It’s Appealing to You, Here Are Some Tips for Making Your Move

When you stop to think about it, the list of advantages can easily outweigh paying a higher price tag for a house in a commuter-friendly area. If you’d like to take advantage of the advantages, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Consider checking with your current employer to make sure they’re planning on allowing you to work from home for the foreseeable future.
  • If you’re worried about not being able to work from home at your current job for a long time, consider whether you can easily find another remote job in your field to replace it.
  • Do take into consideration how long of a commute you’d have to make if you had to find a job that required you to commute into the office eventually.
  • You don’t necessarily have to look at homes really far away from commuter-friendly areas. Start looking as close as possible to where you’ve been considering living, and look incrementally further away.
  • If you’re more adventurous, make a bold move and buy a home wherever you’ve always dreamed of living, even if it’s nowhere near where you work. Although, you should factor in some travel time and costs if your employer requires you to come in for occasional meetings or events.
  • If you’re moving outside of an area that your real estate agent can help you, ask him or her to network with other agents in their network to come up with some ideas for where you could move to, and refer you to an agent to help you in those areas.

The Takeaway:

If you’ve been hoping to buy a home, but have been frustrated by the price of houses, you might want to consider looking outside of the areas you’ve been searching in, if you work from home. Remote workers don’t need to pay a premium to live in an area that is commuter-friendly, and can open up their search to lower priced areas and potentially find a nicer, bigger house than they could afford in an area people flock to in order to be closer to work.

Work With Heather

For most families, choosing a new home is the biggest financial decision they will ever make. There are many complicated decisions involved in choosing a home. As one of the top real estate professionals in the local market, I'll negotiate the best prices and terms for you and answer all of your questions as they arise.