It’s time to walk the talk

Herald Sun - Property - - OPINION -

WHAT ex­actly is within easy walk­ing dis­tance? Has some­one checked, and what level of fit­ness and mo­bil­ity did the said tester have?

This rather am­bigu­ous real es­tate term can of­fer a con­fused mes­sage im­ply­ing all man­ner of things to a wide ar­ray of peo­ple.

What is an easy walk? To me, an easy walk is 10 to 15 min­utes on a dry, slightly cloudy, mild day where no hills are in­volved. To my 10-year-old, it is no fur­ther than the end of the drive.

To those gym/fit­ness types, a quick and easy walk will be sev­eral hours, can in­clude many se­ri­ous in­clines, steps and the weather con­di­tions are ir­rel­e­vant.

I feel it’s time to es­tab­lish some bench­marks so when this term is used in real es­tate we all understand what you — the buyer — should be ex­pect­ing.

I sug­gest the way to cal­cu­late this will be to con­sider how far an av­er­age adult takes to walk a kilo­me­tre.

There ap­pears to be a con­sen­sus of opin­ion on the in­ter­net that the typ­i­cal speed is 5km/h.

How­ever, is walk­ing for an hour that easy?

It might be on a Sun­day morn­ing, car­ry­ing noth­ing more than a bot­tle of wa­ter. But when car­ry­ing chil­dren, shop­ping or adding a bus or train com­mute, an hour can be too long.

So to set a bench­mark, I be­lieve it could be agreed that 10 min­utes, or about 800 to 850m, would be a very easy walk for most, even when car­ry­ing loads, tack­ling in­clines, or just tot­ter­ing home with a hot cof­fee and a news­pa­per.

The 20-minute du­ra­tion is still pretty easy cov­er­ing about 1.6km. But how about the 2.5km, 30-minute walk?

I would ar­gue that when try­ing to carry a big shop, catch a train or find the near­est bus stop, this could be a bit too far.

In con­clu­sion, my in-depth anal­y­sis, backed up by the years I’ve been walk­ing, shows that the zero to 20-minute pe­riod can of­fi­cially be noted un­der the head­ing easy. The 20-30 minute trip is push­ing that term and over that, forget it.

You might won­der why I’m so in­tent on es­tab­lish­ing th­ese ground­break­ing bench­marks?

I be­lieve for many buy­ers, the ap­peal of an easy walk to ameni­ties and pub­lic trans­port can really make the dif­fer­ence.

For sell­ers, this can mean an ex­tra few dol­lars for your home.

I only ever live in, or in­vest for that mat­ter, in prop­er­ties with lo­ca­tions in that easy walk cat­e­gory.

The qual­ity and range of what is close enough to be able to ac­cess on foot de­pends on your lo­ca­tion type, that is, ur­ban, sub­ur­ban or the coun­try town for ex­am­ple.

The in­ter­est­ing el­e­ment to this is your sub­urb will dic­tate the qual­ity and type of ameni­ties close at hand.

For sub­ur­ban ar­eas, just hav­ing a park, a cor­ner shop, or, even bet­ter, a cof­fee shop, will really add buyer ap­peal.

If you add pub­lic trans­port plus a wider range of shops and eater­ies, you could find the ap­peal and maybe the value of the home com­pa­ra­bly higher to homes placed more on the fringes of the same sub­urb.

Per­haps your sub­urb has a train sta­tion, a sought-af­ter school and th­ese ameni­ties are all un­der 1.6km from your front door, which alone could really up­grade your home’s mar­ket ap­peal.

Ur­ban lo­ca­tion buy­ers will ex­pect more and the fur­ther away your property is from the hub of ameni­ties and trans­port, the lower your sale value.

Even in our coun­try towns, it can be pos­si­ble to at least have the school, a bus stop and maybe a park within an easy walk.

So next time you read this real es­tate term, just quan­tify the fig­ures against my deeply sci­en­tific, heav­ily re­searched easy walk bench­mark and if it’s more than 20 min­utes, in­form the agent of their er­ror — you can quote my ar­ti­cle.

If it’s found to be more than 30 min­utes to any­thing and was de­scribed as an easy walk, wait un­til it is the very peak of sum­mer then sug­gest the agent test the walk them­selves — ob­vi­ously in their dark, shiny suit and tie around mid­day to be sure the term easy walk is jus­ti­fi­able.

An­drew Win­ter hosts

on the Life­style chan­nel

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