Homes and walkability

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December 14, 2011


One factor some home buyers look for, particularly in cities, is walkability. The Wall Street Journal notes that walkability is closely tied to a home's location and the culture of the surrounding area.

Walkability can allow residents to spend less time worrying about traffic 
congestion and make regular outings, such as shopping trips, much more convenient.

Walkability for buyers

When buying a home, the best way to get a sense for the walkability may be to test it out in person. This can also coincide with efforts to understand the neighborhood in general, learn local transportation and commuting routes and systems and develop a complete sense of the exterior of a potential new home.

Buyers may sometimes focus so much on homes themselves that they forget to look hard enough at the neighborhood. Experts note this can mislead them, particularly since the neighborhood is beyond their control, whereas a home can always be renovated and altered after purchase if necessary.

By taking the time to walk around a home's exterior and surrounding area, as well as the interior, prospective homebuyers can learn what their future neighbors would be like, how busy traffic is and whether common errands, such as grocery shopping, can be performed quickly or would require planning and scheduling.

Walkability for sellers

When selling a home, walkability could be an important point in the property's favor. Prospective buyers who have not had the opportunity to experience a community firsthand may not be able to easily judge how convenient it is to walk from a home to other destinations.

While some buyers will not consider it as important, it may be effective to 
advertise a homes's walkability to others. They may wish to know that it takes only minutes to reach certain shopping destinations, restaurants, public transportation or other areas of the town or city. Aside from the convenience of being able to walk to destinations, homeowners may also be able to save on transportation costs and live a healthier lifestyle.

Homes in these neighborhoods may retain value better than their peers in less walkable communities, according to MSN Real Estate, so homebuyers who plan ahead might be pleased at that prospect as well.