For many potential home buyers and home sellers, the walkability of a house’s neighborhood is vital. Potential buyers may want to ditch their cars and leave lengthy, hectic public transit commutes behind them.
No matter your real estate goals, Clever Partner Agents around the country know their neighborhoods inside and outside. They’ll be able to find you a home close to restaurants, parks, and venues. For home buyers, Partner Agents will help you seek out new neighborhoods based upon your walkability needs.
How Walk Scores Work
A walk score is a number between 0 and 100 that shows just how walkable that apartment, home, or neighborhood is in relation to area amenities. The scores breakdown in the following way:
- 0-24 — Car Dependent. This walk score usually denotes rural areas and far-flung suburbs. Residents who live in homes with this walk score will require a car or an extensive Uber budget to run simple errands.
- 25-49 — Mostly Car Dependent. Homes or apartments with this walk score are probably on the outskirts of major metropolitan areas. While they may be able to bike or walk to a public transit stop, most access to urban amenities will still require a car.
- 50-69 — Moderately Walkable. As residential properties reach the higher end of this segment, access is definitely achievable by bicycle. For those that are okay walking a few miles to the store, movies, restaurants, or work, this walk score could fit your lifestyle just fine.
- 70-89 — Mostly Walkable. Almost all errands can be accomplished on foot in an appropriate amount of time. Homes that earn this walk score are located within a mile of town.
- 90-100 — No Car Necessary. Think downtown Chicago, New York, or Boston. There are laundromats, markets, restaurants, and bars located on your very block. Doctor’s offices, a dry cleaner, and maybe even your office are well within walking distance. This walk score usually applies to huge metro areas or well planned mid-size towns.
Quick and Easy Walkability Calculations
In 2007, walkscore.com launched an easy-to-navigate site that provided walk scores for almost any zip code in the U.S. Users can simply visit their website and type in their potential future home address.
Walkscore.com also provides transit scores and bike scores, in case you prefer alternative methods to walking or driving.
Let’s look at Lincoln Park, Chicago. This neighborhood earns a walk score of 97, meaning residents here most likely don’t own cars and run a majority of errands on foot. Most probably visit entertainment venues and restaurants via their own two feet as well.
For comparison, take a look at Eugene, Oregon. This mid-size city offers plenty of amenities and a strong economy but has a walk score of only 45. Bike lovers may enjoy living in Eugene more than walkers, as the bike score reaches a whopping 76.
Benefits of High Walkability Scores
It’s no secret that owning a car can take make a huge dent in your monthly paycheck. Potential home buyers may desire a home with a high walk score because they’d like to ditch the car and save on gas, maintenance, and insurance.
Also keep in mind, when it comes to future resale, the higher the walk score, the higher the home value. Research shows that just one point of walk score increases the home’s value by $3,250. Not only will your body and mind thank you, so will your wallet.
Pitfalls of Walkability Scores
While walkscore.com does a great job of highlighting a neighborhood’s accessibility to amenities, restaurants, entertainment, and more, it fails to note safety, weather, and maintenance of pedestrian thoroughfares.
In an effort to supplement data from walkscore.com, the EPA created the National Walkability Index (NWI). This database also accounts for residential proximity to walkable places but color-codes walkability in an effort to show how close certain streets are from very walkable zones.
For example, walkscore.com may rate an area as less walkable, but that area could be adjacent to a very walkable segment of the city. NWI lets users see a more thorough picture of an entire city’s walkability.
Calculate Your Own Walkability Score
If walkability is of the utmost importance to you, it’s vital that you gather data from multiple points for a more holistic walk score.
Use the NWI and walkscore.com to gain a foundational understanding of a neighborhood’s walkability. If you haven’t already, take the time to stroll through the area, noting what types of retail and restaurants are within a few square miles.
For home buyers that prefer the freedom four wheels can offer, look for a neighborhood that sits somewhere in the middle. However, if you want to be free of all burdens associated with automobile ownership, a big city is your best bet.
A knowledgeable realtor will offer guidance and support throughout your real estate transaction. Clever Partner Agents are experts and know their localities in and out. Partner Agents are in the know about hot neighborhoods, new restaurants, infrastructure projects, and other considerations that could positively or negatively affect a home’s walk score.
For home buyers in qualifying states, Partner Agents offer a Home Buyer Rebate of $1,000 (or up to 1% for homes over $500,000) that puts money back in your pocket. Contact Clever today and speak with a local Partner Agent.