Friday, August 22, 2008

Good Bike Hunting...

Of houses that is. The Wall Street Journal has an article about how some realtors are now targeting bicyclists as clients by showing houses via bike tours instead of the traditional see a bunch of houses by car. It allows interested buyers a better sense of the neighborhood, and I can say few things tell you about the vibe of a neighborhood than how the drivers treat bicycles on the streets. Are they polite, do they give clearance or are they complete jerks.

As gas prices continue to be high, buyers are looking for a sense of the scale of the places they are living. A place that is bikeable usually means that it has a strong sense of community resulting from density. I know, my own town is very bike friendly as I rode home from a friends home about 3 miles at night and felt safe.

However, realtors feel pressures that may be imagined or real. For instance:

Matt Peters, a broker with Windermere Dunnigan Realtors in Sacramento, Calif., thought about incorporating his bicycle into his job, but he worries it would diminish his professionalism. Agents in his office wear dressy clothes and drive Lexuses and Mercedes. If he showed up at appointments sweaty, with helmet hair, he says clients might not be impressed, even if they were riding themselves. "It wouldn't play well with my company," he says.

These days I'm not impressed by nice cars, and this is especially the case if you have to lease or make payments on your car. If you are careless with your money, when you show houses are you careless about my money? I would be more impressed if Mr. Peters didn't have to work at all.

Bicycles especially in places like California make a lot of sense, so look for places that are bicycle friendly. It's great when you can ride to your grocery store, it makes buying that bag of chips a little less guilt free. I know that the places that are more bicycle friendly tend to be more friendly places too.

Do you consider bicycle friendliness when you buy a house or look for an apartment to rent?


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