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Is the neighborhood walkable? Here are Easy Ways to Tell

Is the neighborhood walkable? Here are Easy Ways to Tell

neighborhood walkable

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Is the neighborhood walkable?

If you enjoy a nice stroll down to the local coffee shop or bar and feel happiest when everything is on your doorstep you will want to know how walkable a neighborhood is before you buy a home there.

 

We have put together some of the easiest ways you can tell just how pedestrian-friendly an area is so before you sign on the line to buy or rent your home you know you can get around easily without getting back in your car.

 

Here are some of the main things to look for:

 

What are the locals saying?

When locals talk about their neighborhood they give plenty of clues about how walker-friendly it is.

Check out things like:

  • How easy is it to eat nearby? Can you walk to a restaurant or do you have to take the car?  What sort of choice is there?
  • Think about shopping locally – will you need transport to get that emergency supply of milk or can you just walk to the end of the street to a local grocery store?
  • What do people say about walking around? Are they happy to do so at night?
  • Look at the sidewalks – if they are in good condition and well lit this is a good sign that you are looking at a walkable neighborhood.
  • Do people often talk about taking the car? If so you may need to look elsewhere.

 

Look at commute times and transport links

One of the things that mark out an area as a walkable neighborhood is that you don’t need a car to live there.  If you live nice and close to local transit you are more likely to walk to where you need to go.  Take a look at your commute and route it using public transit.  How long will it take you to get to work on the bus or train?  How much walking do you need to do at each end of your journey?

Often people will include details of transit links and local amenities in their listings, if not, you can often get good information from a local Realtor.

 

Visit some local restaurants

 Have a look at some of the local places to eat, this will help you to see how many choices you have when it comes to eating out locally.  The more there are and the easier they are to reach on foot the more you are likely to meet other residents there and build good community connections.  If you book a table before you commit to buy you can use it as an opportunity to meet people and ask them what it is like to live in the area.

 

Do a virtual tour

Click onto Google Maps and check out the street view of any neighborhood which will give you a good idea about what the area is like.  You can click on various parts of the street to move around and do a virtual tour and decide if you would like to take the next step and visit in person.

The thing to remember here is that views on Google Maps are static and they won’t show you what the neighborhood is like at specific times.  If you want to get an idea of what a street is like at 11 pm on a Saturday the only way is to go there and find out.

 

Pay the area multiple visits

Once you have completed all your online research you will have narrowed your search down to one or two specific neighborhoods.  If this is the case make a few visits to each one.  Visits should be as varied as possible to take at different times of day, different days of the week, and so on.

What areas are nice to walk around?  Where are there cafes and shops open?  Is everything available at the times you will need them?  A street that looks quiet at 8 am on Sunday could be full of traffic at the same time on Monday – always do your due diligence.

 

During your visits take account of:

  • Sidewalks – these should be wide and accessible and you should feel safe when walking around.
  • Trees: Trees that are placed on the sidewalk provide much-needed shade and make the area nicer to look at and walk around.
  • Benches and other street furniture: Have a look to see if there are areas where people can sit, perhaps some picnic benches and places that look nice to sit for a while.  This is a good sign that people walk more here and that the city is keen on encouraging more walk-ability in local communities.
  • Crosswalks/Pedestrian signals: These are commonplace wherever you are but a walkable neighborhood ensures that they are accessible and well-marked to encourage people to use them.
  • Street lighting – people need to feel safe and seen when walking around. If there are no street lights people simply won’t use the sidewalks.
  • Use the Google Maps “near me” search – just check out a few places by routing yourself to a local coffee shop, restaurant, or community facility. Have a look around and think about how safe and enjoyable it is to walk in this area.

 

Once you have settled on a neighborhood, return several times and try out different walks at different times and on different days.  Be sure you like the look and feel of the area over a wider timescale. How pedestrian-friendly is it at night?  Do you feel safe?  Do you feel comfortable and enjoy walking around.  If you do, then you may have just found your new home.

 

For in-depth information ask a Realtor

Local Realtors provide a wealth of knowledge about their area and are a really good resource to help you narrow down your search.  Once you have decided on the neighborhood they can point you in the direction of homes that are within your budget and suitable for your needs, they can also help you access all the information regarding the amount of loan you could get and how to get pre-approved for a mortgage.

 

Go To Buyer’s Guide→ Seller’s Guide→ Mortgage Zone→

 

Mortgage Zone, Get Approved for a mortgage

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