NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Apartment hunters may focus on the look and feel of a place, but one of the biggest red flags when looking for a new place to live is the commute time, a factor that is often most difficult to get a sense of until you start living there, especially if you’re new to the area. Now, one site is trying to make it easier for apartment hunters to search for rooms based on the commute.

WalkScore, a real estate website, debuted two new features this month that filter apartment results based on the time it takes to commute to one's place of work and calculates the estimated monthly cost of your trek back and forth.

To take advantage of the first feature, all users need to do is enter in the address of the workplace or school they commute to along with their preferred means of traveling and the maximum amount of time they are willing to commute, and WalkScore will create a customized map highlighting apartment listings that fall into your ideal commute zone. Each apartment also includes a score rating the quality of the commute from 1-100 based on your criteria.

In this way, users will have the option to pinpoint the most convenient apartments and then begin the process of figuring out which are the most affordable and have the best amenities, rather than falling in love with an apartment listing only to realize later how inconvenient its location really is.

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WalkScore’s second new feature takes this one step further and actually calculates the monthly cost of commuting from any apartment by car, based on a formula from the AAA that estimates the average cost per mile driven to be 69 cents. Factoring this in should give apartment hunters a more accurate sense of the real cost of a particular rental.

Living a little farther away might save you some money each month, but the longer commute will chip away at these savings and when you consider the added value of living in a convenient location, it might just make more sense to spend the extra money now so you can save time and energy later.

If you do end up living somewhere with a long commute, take heart: there are plenty of ways you can make the best of it. Check out MainStreet’s roundup of eight tricks to make your commute less stressful and more rewarding.

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