What is a "Walk Score"?

5 Replies

Was looking at a property in Milwaukee and it had a Walk Score of 70/100.  Can someone please explain what this means.

Thanks in advance!


Really its a pretty useless metric as far as an investor is concerned. It just means there are things within walking distance where the individual wouldn't need a car. Grocery nearby, restaurants, etc. While it's nice to be close to these things I have never been asked for it by a buyer or tenant. 

My understanding of walk score as it relates to the Chicago market is that it represents how close certain things within walking distance from the property, specifically public transit like rail lines, bus stations, etc. The higher the score, the easier it is to get to the desired location. So if you have a 70/100, that seems like it is within a reasonable distance to walk from the property to everything. You can verify this by looking at a map view of where the property is located and where, in relation to the property, are the bus and train stops.

I consider a Walk Score to be pretty important (in Chicago at least) particularly for Multi Family Buildings.  Many tenants in city apts do not have cars therefore easy access to public transport, shopping, dining etc is important. I also believe the crime rate is a factor in Walk Scores and is an indication of the safety of the neighborhood. If I am interested in a property with a very low Walk Score I usually try to find out why.

If a property is in a poor neighborhood and miles from buses or trains and a grocery store I believe it to be undesirable for a lot of tenants and will greatly reduce the number of potental tenants. Just my 2 cents !!

Originally posted by @Johann Kleisch :

Depending on your investment strategy & location a walk score can be a useful metric for deciding whether to pull the trigger on a deal or not.  It can also be a useful metric for a retail buyer to decide whether to pull the trigger on purchasing a property or not. It's especially useful in urban areas where your ability to "walk" to stores that provide amenities, restaurants,.... is important.  Example:  We currently live, invest & have our offices in area of Chicago South Loop  w/ a Walking Score of 91.  It was really evident this past weekend w/ all the Dead Heads in town for the 3 days of concerts.  The target market is professionals that work downtown.  There are areas in the middle of this zone which are hot & areas right on the periphery that may be the next best investment.  

There's another area of Chicago, Englewood Walk Score w/ a walkscore of 67.  We don't personally have any investments in Englewood, but we work w/ clients who are making a bet on Englewood because of investments of companies like WholeFoods, which will help improve the Walk Score.

So in short:  It's only one of many metrics you can use to assess the viability of a deal depending on your investment strategy.  You can also use it to promote a deal, especially in large dense urban populations.

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