How Realtors Can Cash In on the “Walkability” Craze

The term “walkability” is a hot new buzzword in real estate circles.

Most of you have a rough idea of what it means just by the word itself. But walkability involves more than just putting one foot in front of the other.

Basically, the term concerns how-user friendly a certain part of a community is designed. It asks the basic question: how easy is it for people to not only walk but shop, visit, mingle, enjoy or spend time in an environment? How “pedestrian” is it?

Factors to consider include sidewalks, bicycle paths, traffic, road conditions, safety and distances between amenities like stores, cafes, restaurants, parking.

You can dig even deeper and start talking about street designs, shade, benches, planters.

By now, you get the picture.

The beauty of walkability for real estate brokers and agents is that you can create your own “Walkability Match” and it’s very inexpensive to do.

You can basically use this pedestrian-friendly factor to add to the selling potential of a home. It’s a heck of a lot cheaper than asking a seller to paint the interior, add a wine cellar or resurface the driveway.

SpatialMatch, the map-based lifestyle search engine, is the perfect tool for you to create your own walkability promotions on your own web site.

For example, SpatialMatch has a distance slider feature that measures the distance away from any location in a radius circle. This feature creates the distance circumference of any amenity in the Lifestyle categories, such as Dining, Shopping, Community, Entertainment, Personal Services, Health and Medical, Finance, Transportation, Hotels and Travel.

Each of those headings has several sub-categories such as bookstores, hair salons, Italian restaurants, etc. All pulled from a gigantic database of millions of businesses. You can even add your own Custom Locations of unique amenities that you know are important to your customers.

Since the rule of thumb is that 1/20 of a mile is considered the distance of a basic city block, SpatialMatch conveniently has distance data from all over the United States down to that level — one city block.

“Walkability” has a nice ring to it. In this day and age, who doesn’t want to promote getting out and about without your car? With gas at nearly $4 a gallon, count us in. So why not use this in your promotional materials?

Here’s an example below of how you can easily illustrate walkability with SpatialMatch:

We took an area of Santa Monica, CA, and indicated the locations of four popular spots: coffee shops, bookstores, day spas and parking lots/garages. Then we chose a distance circle of 1/20 of a mile, or a city block.

This took us only five minutes.

That’s a small investment of a time considering how a Realtor can add an appealing “walkability” factor to increase the value of a property in the eyes of just about any buyer with two legs, two feet and a pair of sneakers.

And your seller isn’t going to walk away from you either when he or she can see how you are marketing their property.

Here’s a good overview of walkability on Wikipedia.

To create your own walkability scenario, go to the SpatialMatch demo here.


Family Oriented

How SpatialMatch Can Give Nearly Any Property a Family Oriented Community Location

There is probably no more appealing phrase to a person looking to buy a house than “family-friendly community.” It just has a nice, wholesome ring to it, doesn’t it?

A Florida newspaper went so far as to promote a package of ten “family-friendly communities” to help builders stir up some sales.

Here’s a paragraph describing one of the properties:

“With homes starting from the $260’s, families will feel as if they are on a year-round South Florida vacation at ________ by __________. There will be plenty of places for adults and children to play, including an 8,000 square-foot clubhouse featuring an indoor sports complex, arcade, cardio/fitness center, yoga/exercise studio, social hall with catering kitchen and children’s activity center. Outside, families will enjoy a resort style swimming pool, kids splash ‘n’ play area, basketball court, sports field, walking/jogging paths and lighted tennis courts.”

Sounds great. True lifestyle marketing.

But wait a minute? Why can’t you as a broker or agent create your own custom-designed family-friendly community?

Using a lifestyle search engine tool like SpatialMatch, you could literally take almost any property listed with you, or find out the lifestyle preferences of any home buyer, and create a scenario for a family-friendly community.

Take Property XYZ for example. Now let’s use the amenities shown in the development above.

With the SpatialMatch interactive map embedded on your site, you can illustrate where the nearest family-friendly community gyms like LA Fitness or the YMCA are located. These are huge sports facilities for all ages.

What about a community swimming pool or, even better, one of those parks with all the slides and tubing rivers? How cool is that to a kid! Point that out on the SpatialMatch screen, with a distance circle showing the proximity to Property XYZ.

Basketball courts? Got them nearby at the local middle school.

Sports fields? There’s a little league ballpark down the street.

Tennis courts? There’s a municipal tennis area with eight lighted courts at this park within a mile of the property.

Jogging/running trails?  This park has that too, as well as this park over here and that park over there.

Wow, with just a few clicks on SpatialMatch, you have made property XYZ an awesome “family-friendly location.”

Home buyers with families (or a family on the way) are going to love that.

When you show this to sellers, they are going to drool over this new hi-tech way you will be promoting their property.

Nobody’s got a monopoly on “family-friendly.”

And it’s the smart broker or agent who is certainly going to package properties that way, just like a major newspaper.

Here’s a link to the Palm Beach Post and their “family-friendly” promotion.