4 Ways to Know if You’re Buying a House in a Walkable Neighborhood

Do you like to stroll to a cafe for breakfast, or maybe walk around the corner to your yoga class? Here are four strategies for finding out how pedestrian-friendly a neighborhood is before you buy it.

1. See what the locals have to say

It’s a good idea to talk with your potential neighbors to see what they have to say about the neighborhood. Some things to ask about: whether or not it’s convenient to walk to restaurants and grocery stores; if there are any sidewalks; if streets are well-lit and people feel safe walking alone at night; and whether a car is needed.

2. Scope out the commute

A truly walkable neighborhood is one where you can get in and out of the area without a car. The closer you live to a bus or train, the more likely you are to walk. Map the route to your workplace in public transit mode. How long is the walk to the bus or train? How long is the ride? You also can go back to the locals to ask what their commute is like.

3. Check out local dining spots

If you want to find out how easy it is to grab a quick bite to eat, check out how many restaurants are within walking distance. Keep in mind that the more restaurants there are nearby, the more your neighbors are likely to be out and about as well.

4. Visit the neighborhood at different times

You’ll want to be sure and check out the area on evenings and weekends, and also in the middle of a weekday, to see if the cafes and shops you’d walk to are open and active during the times you’d use them and whether the routes you’d take are pleasant and accessible at those times.

Some things to be on the lookout for include wide, accessible sidewalks; benches where you can sit and rest, if needed; crosswalks and pedestrian signals at intersections; and street lights.