Scouring the columns of Craiglist you might discover, that yes, rental prices just aint what they used to be. But no matter where you’re located, finding the right place to live is as daunting as buying a car. There are so many factors to consider — traffic, crime, proximity to loved ones, and prices — that your judgment can be easily sideswiped by a shifty landlord. Moving is undoubtedly a pain in the culo. But on the journey to finding the perfect neighborhood there’s one score that you definitely won’t want to be without.
Almost a Walker’s Paradise
You might have read the nightmarish situation I was going through trying to keep my old apartment. I fought hard, and here’s why: for the price I was paying to live in downtown San Jose, I had a Starbucks, Trader Joe’s, Safeway, Target, Costco, Santana Row, Valley Fair Mall, Petco, Burger King, Walgreens, Longs, YMCA, 7 parks, 5 bars, San Jose Library, Happy Donuts, Pasta Pomadora, L&L Hawaiian BBQ, Red Brick Pizza, Chili’s, Jamba Juice, and a zillion things more all within about a 3 mile radius of my apartment. What more (besides affordable rent prices) could you want?
It took me 2 months of driving back and forth to find that neighborhood, but all of that could have been avoided had I known about walk scores, the namesake of the website that has become one of my preferred tools in ranking communities — whether for real estate investments, considering where I might want to live, or for checking to see if my friends live in certifiable hell holes before I visit. (it works trust me)
What is a walk score?
Basically a walk score is a ranking of your proximity to local amenities (within a 1-mile radius), the higher your walk score, the more convenient and desirable a neighborhood is to renters and homeowners. Take a look at the following score break down:
- 90 – 100 = Walkers’ Paradise: Most errands can be accomplished on foot and many people get by without owning a car.
- 70 – 90 = Very Walkable: It’s possible to get by without owning a car.
- 50 – 70 = Some Walkable Locations: Some stores and amenities are within walking distance, but many everyday trips still require a bike, public transportation, or car.
- 25 – 50 = Not Walkable: Only a few destinations are within easy walking range. For most errands, driving or public transportation is a must.
- 0 – 25 = Driving Only: Virtually no neighborhood destinations within walking range. You can walk from your house to your car!
My neighborhood had a walkscore of 85! and well the one I live in now has a measly 57. How depressing…
Ah well, at least I’m a hella of a lot closer to work!
Anyway, determining your walk score can help you save some of the hassle of finding a preferable place to live by narrowing down your choices. Of course, the only real way to tell if you’re going to like it or not is to see it for yourself. (Remember Renting is a Sin, only do it if you have to!)
What’s Your Walk Score? Find out here and let me know!
Yan at Probargainhunter.com says he wish he had known about it back when he was moving. You’re not the only one, guy!