I’m sure many of you have noticed the walkability ratings that are often given when a house is listed for sale. You may be wondering why all this is important and if it truly is something that could make one house stand out from the others. Survey says, the answer is yes, it can be a very attractive feature of a home and can make your listing shine. It’s something that I’ve started including in my rental listings and I think many other landlords and property managers are following suit. The Walkability score is based on the distance the home or multi-family unit is in relation to; restaurants, parks, libraries, shopping centers, schools, etc.

It’s a growing trend for people, particularly the millennial generation, and young families. In a  survey released last year by the National Association of Realtors, it was found that the square footage of the house is important to both homeowners and renters, BUT most were willing to compromise on the size of the home to be in a nice neighborhood and reduce the commute to work.  The report indicates that an ideal neighborhood would include houses, shops, schools, and business. The demand for walkability is obviously increasing and so if your rental property happens to have a high walkability score then why wouldn’t you want to showcase this very desirable feature.

When you consider the advantages of living in a walkable neighborhood it makes a lot of sense why this feature is so important to our society and why homes in walkable neighborhoods have higher rents and lower vacancies.

1. It’s convenient

You don’t have to go far to enjoy your favorite meal or take the kids to the park. No more getting stuck in traffic or having to search for parking. The commute to work could be reduced.

2. It’s better for the Environment

With the green initiative and awareness on the rise “green” modes of transportation have become increasingly popular. Minimizing pollutants is something I think just about everyone can agree is a good thing to do when possible.

3. It Represents Cost Savings

Less; trips to the gas station, wear and tear, and vehicle maintenance represents big savings.

4. Closer knit communities

Being out and about with your fellow neighbors creates a sense of belonging and kinship among each other which is something that is lost when there is no interaction.

5. Health Considerations

Last but certainly not least: walking, riding, blading, skating, or whatever mode of transportation you choose is very much needed exercise. Most jobs are sedentary and many others don’t get your heart rate up enough to give that cardiovascular response that will strengthen your heart and improve health. Going for a walk has been shown to reduce stress and release feel good endorphins. Walking burns calories and can help keep weight at a healthy level. Mobility, endurance, and strength can be increased or maintained giving you more energy throughout the day. I could go on and on about this particular topic but I do think I’ve hit the main points and this is a blog about walkability and rental properties and not about health and fitness so I’ll leave it at that.

You may be asking yourself, how do I know what my walkability rating is?  You can go to a website called Walk Score it’s an online tool that helps determine a home’s walkability. Once you type in your address you will be given a score, the higher the score the more walkable the neighborhood.  You will even be provided with information about restaurants, schools, shops, parks and other attractions that can help you highlight the positive attributes of your property. Providing this information to prospective tenants will help you fill vacancies faster, decrease vacancies and increase market rent values.