Relocating to the Washington, DC Metro Area? Keep the Commute in Mind!

Buying a home in Maryland, Virginia or Washington DC? Factor in Traffic

Victoria Henderson, Associate Broker & Vice President with Buyer's Edge

Don't be left hanging... Understand your commute when buying a home.

Don't be left hanging... Understand your commute when buying a home.

There are countless benefits to living in the greater Washington DC area. However, this blog is not about the lovely museums, restaurants and chic neighborhoods. Instead, I am sharing my twenty + years experience as a traffic reporter on local radio stations. When it comes to getting around this town I have seen and talked about it all! So if you are relocating to the area, with BRAC, the federal government or private businesses, consider the traffic patterns. Your daily commute is as important as the neighborhood and the home you plan to purchase in the Washington DC area.

I66, I95 and 395, I 270 are major roadways feeding into the Capital Beltway and eventually downtown Washington DC. Secondary roads splinter off these highways with neighborhoods sprawling for several miles. Drivers sit in their cars several hours a day during the morning and afternoon rush hours. According to a survey done by insurance company Allstate, the U.S. city with the worst drivers is Washington D.C. This is Washington's third consecutive year with this record. Other cities joining Washington on the worst list include Baltimore, Los Angeles. Another survey, released by Texas A&M University, finds commuters in the D.C. area waste the second most amount of time sitting in their cars. Los Angeles has the longest commute in the country. So now you know what you are up against, here’s what you can do to make it work for you.

Let’s start with your daily commute. Will you be driving I66 or I95 and 395 in Virginia? Take note that the rush hour begins before 6 am and barring any unusual accidents, should be winding down by 915 to 930 am. Go to to see how the roadways look before you head out the door. Traffic land has cameras positioned at most major intersections in the greater Washington DC area with live updates every few seconds. If you are already in the car, remember the phrase, “traffic on the eights”. This is the slogan used by the radio news station WTOP which is 103.5 on your FM dial. The WTOP website also offers live camera coverage of area roads. There is also information about route and speed information. This is where you will find out how fast people are actually driving on area roads. In Maryland, I270 stretches from historic Frederick to Germantown, Gaithersburg and Rockville before ending at the Capital Beltway. The traffic on I270 can begin to get heavy and slow as early as 545am starting in Germantown and again as you approach Rockville. In short, if you are driving in rush hour traffic in the greater Washington DC area, get familiar with the roads and find out if you can tele-commute or drive during off peak times. This will help to balance your day and create more harmony in your life, at work and at home.

And by all means, call or email me with your questions. I work with my husband Marshall who has been with the Buyer’s Edge for ten years as an exclusive buyer’s agent. Find out what we do and how we can work for you. Remember, as exclusive buyer’s agents, we only represent home buyers. Advocates for you in your search for the right home at the right price and in the right neighborhood for you!