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What would you do?? Commute vs House size

  • 13-12-2022 4:44pm
    Registered Users Posts: 220 ✭✭

    Have gone AIP - and looking at 2 houses one is where I am currently living (15 minutes from work and family) but house is very small / small garden.

    The other option is 50 minutes away from work / family straight road commute - House is twice the size and also much much bigger back garden.

    Wife , Very big dog(55kg) and a baby on the way.

    Smaller house is 10 minute walk from schools etc.. Bigger house is 10 minute drive from schools.

    Parents are retired and have cars for help with baby etc.

    We have been renting a small place for 5 years and have really been longing for more space but where we are currently (south Dublin) its unaffordable for us to go any bigger.

    Also the bigger house is roughly 80K less.

    Anyone make a similar move or thoughts on such?



  • Registered Users Posts: 9,205 ✭✭✭markpb

    Personally I would pick the shorter commute every day. It will make a big difference when the baby arrives because you’ll be a) tired anyway and b) around longer each day to help. This matters more and more as the child gets older and needs to be chauffeured places.

    Likewise, having a house close to school means that you have non-driving options when they’re younger and they’ll be able to walk, scoot or cycle to school by themselves when they’re 9+. This gives you back a lot more time and means you’re less reliant on after-school care or grandparents.

    The smaller house will drive you crazy, especially with all the crap that children seem to need. However, having just gone through an extension that brought us from 900 sq ft to 1,600 sq ft, I can assure you that children will manage to fill all the space you can find for them!

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,063 ✭✭✭DataDude

    We went through something similar over the last while with almost exactly the same parameters. Blackrock or Greystones. For me it came down to how many days commuting.

    When we first bought the bigger house in Wicklow I was commuting 3/4 days. I was kicking myself for my decision and thought we’d end up selling. I since changed jobs and am commuting 1/2 days. I’m now delighted with our choice.

    5 days in office = no brainer, location

    1days = no brainer, bigger house.

    The grey area is the in between and will depend on you as an individual and your wider circumstances.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,661 ✭✭✭whippet

    I made that decision about 10 years ago and didn't regret it.

    Moved from a small 3-bed semi in the greater Dublin area - about 30 min commute to work to a much bigger house about 1h15mins commute. No regrets. both secondary and primary schools are within a 5 minute drive - primary school within walking / cycling range (but roads are poxy). Big garden ideal with three dogs.

  • Administrators Posts: 53,058 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭awec

    A 50 minute drive to your house will likely mean your family won't want to visit too often, but this is not necessarily a bad thing!

  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,887 Mod ✭✭✭✭shesty

    Normally I'd go on the side of the shorter commute hands down.But I also have 3 kids, and I know the space kids need/take up both inside and outside a house.

    I think the grey area, as previously mentioned, is the number of days the commute will be done, whether your wife is doing the same commute, whether you can stagger start and finish times to drop off/pick up at childcare.And I wouldn't assume grandparents will do all the childcare, if you have a second child quite soon, you'll find grandparents may be a little less able/willing.I also would not necessarily view schools within easy distance as a decisive factor - we had a school within easy walking distance of our old house, but chose a school a 5min drive away as it was a better one.

    If you have some views of how those factors might play out, it may help your decision making.

    Edited to add - very big dog and baby - will you have space to separate the two in the smaller house? Would you be able to let a baby/toddler out back in a smaller garden safely without the dirt of a dog?If you make the garden the dog's domain, you will have to bring a toddler out to parks etc for a run every day (you have no idea how much small kids need outings for a run every day! )....all these things will count

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  • Registered Users Posts: 26,913 ✭✭✭✭GreeBo

    Is the commute area somewhere where your kids are likely to want to grow up or will you be a taxi service for them until they get a car?

    I would spend as much as you can in the area you want, you can always do up a house, you cant move it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 165 ✭✭JCN12

    Ohh, tricky one.

    Is the long commute possible without a car?

    I would advocate for a plan b in case motoring is not feasible in the long term.

  • Registered Users Posts: 852 ✭✭✭SnowyMuckish

    €80000 cheaper is a big draw too.

    I commute 50 minutes each way per day factoring traffic. It doesn’t bother me too much because I finish at a reasonable hour that allows for family time when I get home.

    So a question that might affect the commute would be what are your working hours like? Would you be home at a reasonable time to see your child/ have dinner/ spend quality time together before their bedtime?might be something to influence the decision?

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,912 ✭✭✭3DataModem

    You'll initially be happy with the smaller place, but in a few years you'll be wishing you chose the larger place. Been down this road, had to move 4 years ago to get the space. Wish I'd done it sooner. Babies become toddlers then kids then people.

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,137 ✭✭✭✭fits

    50 minutes each way daily is a lot of time in the car. Maybe you could get smaller house and get a bigger house in same area in a few years time when you can afford it.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 361 ✭✭babacool

    I would pick a longer commute over a short walk any day if it means I get a bigger house and garden which will also equate to a more relaxing and recovering lifestyle on day offs.

    it also adds the following benefits with regards to work:

    1. no one can ask you to “quickly” come to work to help out. If they can wait 1hr for you to show up it isn’t urgent!
    2. knowing it will take you an hour to get home you will more likely finish on time and get out on time. With a 10min walk you may be more “oh, ok I’ll stay a bit longer. It doesn’t take me long to get home anyways”. And that little bit longer might be a couple of hours at some point.

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,137 ✭✭✭✭fits

    If you can walk to work and school running one car rather than two is another factor.

  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,887 Mod ✭✭✭✭shesty

    Same here you see, so I'd lean to the bigger aswell.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,243 ✭✭✭Juwwi

    Is the 50 minute journey timed at peak traffic times , I'd definitely be doing a few practice runs at times you'd be traveling , traffic just seems to be getting worse and worse .

    The €80k saving in the mortgage you'll likely spend in Apple green is also something else to remember .

    Edit , where is the commute coming from and where is work ? I'm just thinking double the size and 80k less it is possibly a good distance out from Dublin ,will you have to use the m50 ?.

    From experience of doing a similar commute for 13 years it's tough , it's fine in the summer when traffic is lighter and the weather is better but winter months are horrible ,you'll also miss out on alot of family / friends nights out as it's a pain to get home at night .

  • Registered Users Posts: 220 ✭✭Rx713B

    All really good points - thanks for everyone's input. Its nice to get an outside opinion to help with this decision.

    To give more information the commute will be n11, I start work at 9 and finish at 6 Monday to Thursday - Friday off then Saturday 10 - 4 (Carrick mines) so no need to head into town coming from Arklow direction. Unfortunately no option of WFH.

    Have done the commute a few times and it is worse leaving at 7.30am than 6 / 6.30 am - I normally do a CrossFit class on my lunch so it would benefit me more to catch the 7am CrossFit and finishing 30 minutes earlier.

    So what I was thinking was out the door around 6.10am and then the earlier finishing time of 5.30pm has me home around 6.30ish.

    Saturday is grand.

    I have a company car so fuel isn't an issue.

    My wife will be working from home Monday to Friday (bar maternity leave) 1 year.

    It really has us perplexed as we really could do with the space but being local has definitely got an advantage in help from parents etc

  • Registered Users Posts: 220 ✭✭Rx713B

    This is something we have really been thinking - and having been in somewhere for so long that we are on top of one another when home we just long for being able to have the space

  • Registered Users Posts: 220 ✭✭Rx713B

  • Registered Users Posts: 220 ✭✭Rx713B

    5 days commute for me - 0 for wife.

    In the small house would be difficult to keep dog and baby apart but not impossible - in the bigger house dog would be able to have his own run in garden leaving garden for kid etc. In smaller house this would not be an option.

  • Registered Users Posts: 26,913 ✭✭✭✭GreeBo

    Ballpark, 50 mins each way is 100 mins a day, or 500mins a week or 2000mins a month or 24000mins a year.

    Are you happy to spend 50 waking days a year driving when you could be doing something else?

    What would you give for 50 extra vacation days?

  • Registered Users Posts: 220 ✭✭Rx713B

    Thanks for that.

    We are definitely leaning that way I have done a similar commute years ago and never really bothered me but also had 0 responsibilities at that time.

    Either way we go we have decided that whatever decision we make will be the right one for our circumstances and go feet first.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 220 ✭✭Rx713B

    Very very true - it works out about 35 mins extra above the current commute. Its one of those things from the outside the big house looks a no brainer but as very well put by yourself , its how would it feel in the long term - mental exhaustion etc.

  • Registered Users Posts: 26,913 ✭✭✭✭GreeBo

    Plus, depending on your circumstances, you don't want to be rushing home to pickup/dropoff kids.

    If the arse falls out of the housing market (which it might!) would you rather be stuck in the smaller, closer house of the one thats further out?

    I have a good few friends who went for the cheaper, further out option (Naas, Rush, Celbridge) and they all still talk of how they would want to move back closer.

    Problem is that even though they could afford it now, their kids lives are setup in these areas, so its much harder to up sticks and move.

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,726 ✭✭✭✭breezy1985

    Is there any difference in public transport options between the 2 ?

    Becomes important when the kids get older and more independent and also when you get too old to drive.

    Also what does bigger and smaller house mean ?

  • Registered Users Posts: 246 ✭✭donnaille

    The maths is some distance off, but it's a very valid consideration.

  • Registered Users Posts: 787 ✭✭✭Alias G

    Location trumps size for me. It is a pleasure cycling, walking or scooting with the kids to school and all of their activities, and not getting frustrated sitting in lines of traffic. I have saved a fortune in motoring costs and the car gets taken out as little as once in two weeks at some points. You may well be in a position to trade up to a larger house in time as well.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,661 ✭✭✭whippet

    The other thing to consider is if the commute will be for ever. When I moved 10 years ago I was commuting 5 days a week - about 6 years ago that changed to 2-3 days a week and now I am totally flexible as to when I commute - don't need to go to the office unless I want to or need to.. The kids are that little bit older so the pressures are less at home and I actually enjoy the couple of days a week in the office. I am an early bird anyway so I don't mind hitting the road between 6 or 6:30 in the morning and leaving the office at 3:30 or so - doing a couple of calls in the car and then being home in time for all the after school activities.

  • Registered Users Posts: 26,913 ✭✭✭✭GreeBo

    I dont think its that far off to be honest, its not going to drop to 5 days for example, it might go to 45 with holidays etc, but likewise there will be many times when the commute takes 90mins due to some accident etc. The longer the commute the more chance of it taking longer.

  • Administrators Posts: 53,058 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭awec

    I commute on the N11 too, unfortunately for the past few months the traffic is basically back to pre-pandemic levels.

    Personally, leaving at 6am and not getting home until 6:30pm would be too much, that's 12 hours away every day (more on bad traffic days). This might be fine for you, though I think it'd be difficult when you have a young child, especially for your wife who will be at home.

    When your child goes to school / creche, your wife will have to do all the drop-offs and pickups too, just something to bear in mind.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,273 ✭✭✭The Spider

    Tricky made this decision about 10 years ago, but different circumstances, neither of us were from Dublin and had first kid on the way, moved out to a much much bigger house still on the M11 but close to town, and relatives. One thing I will say don’t let a job dictate where you’re going to go, I thought about job etc, but I’m into my 5th job now since moving some have been great, some haven’t but now work fully remote, that’s worth its weight in gold.

    Space for family all the way, you can change jobs etc, and you probably will as you go on.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 27,753 ✭✭✭✭AndrewJRenko

    Running a smaller house with a walking commute will leave the planet in a much better place for your kids than the larger house with two cars and one long commute.