Living farther out from the city center can sometimes mean buying a bigger or newer home for less money. But when it comes to factoring in commuting costs to work -- from gas to parking fees or public transportation passes -- how much are you really saving? Calculating that answer just might be a little bit easier with the aid of a new app created by a real estate agent after his own homebuying experience in New Jersey.
"Homebuyers are finding surprising value, as places they thought were not affordable become more affordable once their commute costs are factored in," Krishna Malyala, founder of the tripTLC app told AOL Real Estate in an interview.
TripTLC estimates individualized commuting costs using several variables, including make and model of car, real-time gas prices, and tolls and parking costs, according to its website.
"Mortgages alone only account for half the cost of owning a home. We are solving for the rest of it," says Malyala (pictured left), adding that the product has had more than a hundred initial users to date but has received more interest since launching the beta version earlier this month.
"Our patent pending TLC (true lifestyle cost) search engine takes into account over 31 unique lifestyle factors," he said, including basing the results on marital status.
Access to the app is not free. Plans are available starting at $9.99 per month after a 7-day free trial. But Malyala is targeting real estate agents, who can then provide the information and a version of the app to prospective homebuyers at no charge.
"We've heard from [agents] that this is 'better than another magnet' by providing more relevant info based on their [clients] lifestyle," said Malyala. "They are excited to share this product and build stronger client relationships, at open houses for example."
Malyala, a Keller Williams agent and former vice president of technology at Citigroup, teamed up with Ravi Sreekakula, a former marketing director for Hawaiian Airlines, to co-found the company after he moved from Hawaii to New Jersey and couldn't find a real estate agent who was able to tell him how much it would cost him to commute from potential new homes to his workplace, reported Inman News.
He points to a recent report by the Center for Housing Policy that shows that rising transportation and utility costs are affecting more of the bottom line and affordability for middle America. "Ultimately, we want to help solve for this by providing more transparency and a more holistic approach when searching for a new home that's based on your lifestyle," he said. The bottomline: "Add a little TLC to your home search."
More homebuying tips:
How Real Estate Agents' Website Could Give Homebuyers a Jump on Lisitings
Best Deal on a Home? It Could Be the One You're Renting
Where Real Estate Agents Bid for Your Business
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