If you look at real estate listings online, you probably have come across something called a 'Walk Score.'  

It is a numeric value assigned to a neighborhood or a specific address to grade its walkability; that is the degree to which most errands may be handled on foot.  Scores range from single digits for the least walkable locations to over 90 for the most walkable.

The index was devised in 2007 by the Walk Score Company to help home buyers and renters weigh this factor when evaluating a home.  You might think that here, in Southern California, where the car is king, such a metric would be useless; but you'd be wrong.  Today's under 40 home buyers - who account for more than 50% of all home purchases - are increasingly concerned about these kinds of livability factors when making a housing decision.  They want to spend a minimum amount of time stuck in traffic and a maximum enjoying healthier alternative transportation options (bikes and feet).

The Walk Score website (www.walkscore.com) provides an easy-to-use search box to discover the Walk Score for any address, any neighborhood, or even any city.  Not surprisingly, most Southern California neighborhoods don't score very well.  Most come up with a Walk Score below 50 and bear the caption:  'Most errands require a car.'  But within those neighborhoods, you'll find specific addresses that may be higher.  For example, most addresses in Westlake Village score below 20 and some even in single digits.  Our featured home at 4230 Beaucroft Court, however gets a Walk Score of 46.

While Walk Score is becoming more relevant, it is important to recognize its limitations.  In coming up with a score, the company certainly considers the walkability of an address - length of blocks, level of congestion and so on - but the basis of the score is walking to a destination.  It's not really about people who walk just to walk, with no destination in mind.

In some areas they also provide a Bike Score that may be more accurate in terms of how people bike.  It considers the same walk criteria but also includes the availability of bike paths and lanes.  Our featured home at 6238 Glide Ave. in Woodland Hills received a Walk Score of 41 but a Bike Score of 51, indicating that it would be a good location for a rider.

I want my home buyers to have all the information they can get on a specific property of interest, so I urge them to look at Walk Score as well as dozens of other bits of information.  However, a home buyer who is serious about walking or biking gets another piece of advice from me:  take an afternoon and walk or bike around the neighborhood.  Your first hand experience will give you more information about these factors than any website.

Whatever your livability goals, we at Help-U-Sell Conejo Valley can help you realize them in a home.  We welcome the opportunity to talk about your home purchase project and bring our expertise to bear.

Help-U-Sell Conejo Valley is a progressive, full service real estate company saving buyers and sellers thousands in Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks, Oak Park, Camarillo, Oxnard, Simi Valley, Los Angeles  and all of the Conejo Valley.  You may reach us at (805) 379-3300, or by email to [email protected]  Visit our website:  www.helpusellcv.com.