Commute time is a major factor in the purchase decision of many homebuyers — and Re/Max Regional Services has just added a new CommuteTime feature in the MAXview HomeSearch app to align desired commute distance with home searches.

This new feature, powered by INRIX Drive Time, allows consumers to set the maximum commute time from up to three locations for any time of day. Homebuyers will know in advance how long a commute they will have before they buy a home. Last year, Re/Max began rolling out the same INRIX tool on its website.

The concept of commute time has been around a long time. Enterprising homebuyers used Google Maps to calculate routes and travel time before search portals added such features. Trulia and both have commute time features in their searches, as do some brokerages, such as Windermere.

While using Google Maps is still a perfectly acceptable option, portals and brokers are increasingly bringing in some version of commute time calculations. Even associations are adding the feature; the Houston Association of Realtors added the INRIX Drive Time feature to earlier this year.

The topic of commute time varies in importance from market to market. When working with clients in my market, a major metropolitan area, commute time often comes up in property budget discussions.

An extra five or 10 minutes of commute time could save the buyer significant money by shifting from an expensive town to one priced lower. The buyer can then decide if the savings are worth the extra commute over the duration of their ownership. Having that information in advance helps homebuyers make smarter choices with fewer surprises.

Bryan Robertson is the co-founder and managing broker of Catarra Real Estate.

Email Bryan Robertson.

This story has been updated to reflect that the master franchise region, Re/Max Regional Services, was the entity adding the CommuteTime feature.

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