‘EASY WALK’ OPENS THE GAIT TO AMBIGUITY
What exactly is “within easy walking distance”? Has someone checked and what was the level of fitness of said tester?
This rather ambiguous real estate term can offer a rather confused message. 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 without requesting some form of wheeled transport.
I feel it is time to establish some benchmarks so when this term is used in real estate we all understand what you, as a 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. According to that interweb thing there appears to be a consensus of opinion that the typical speed is 5kph.
However, is walking for an hour that easy? Carrying children, shopping or adding that time to a bus or train commute to work, in these situations, makes hour too long.
So to set a benchmark I believe it could be agreed that 10 minutes – that is about 800m – would be a very easy walk for most, even when carrying loads. The 20-minute duration is still pretty easy covering about 1600m. But how about the 2.5km, 30-minute walk? Is that easy? I would argue when trying to catch a train or find the nearest bus stop, this could be a bit too far.
In conclusion from my in-depth analysis, the zero- to 20-minute period can officially be noted under the heading “easy”. The 20- to 30-minute trip is pushing it. And over that, well, forget it.
I believe for many purchasers the appeal of an “easy walk” to amenities and public transport can really make the difference. For sellers, this can mean those extra few dollars for your home when you come to sell.
Personally, I only ever live in homes, 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, i.e. urban, suburban or country town. I have excluded acreage living as this housing option offers space in exchange for convenience. The interesting element to this is your suburb will dictate the quality and type of amenities close at hand on foot. For suburban areas, just having a park, a corner shop, even a coffee shop will really add buyer appeal. If you add in public transport and a wider range of shops or eateries, you could find the appeal and maybe the value of home comparably higher.
Urban location buyers will expect more and the further away from amenities, the lower your sale value.
Even in our country towns, it can be possible to at least have the school, a bus stop and a park within an easy walk.
So next time you read this real estate term, quantify the figures against my deeply scientific “easy walk” benchmarks and if it is more than 20 minutes, inform the agent of their error. You can even quote my article.