House hunting, bus chick style

For several weeks now, I’ve been meaning to tell you about Estately.com, also known as the coolest real estate website on the internets. In addition to the standard stuff (price, square footage, number of bedrooms, type of property, etc.), it lets you base a home search on proximity to transit (!) and/or a neighborhood’s walkability. So, for example, a person could search for homes under 500k, within a quarter mile of a 27 stop (yes, you can filter by specific bus routes), in a neighborhood with a walk score between 80 and 100.

This is brilliant–and something I’ve been dreaming of for a long time. I think I’ve mentioned that where a person lives is the single most important factor in determining her happiness and success as a car-free type. And until now, finding a car-free-friendly (car hostile?) neighborhood has required a fair amount of research–especially for folks who are not familiar with the area. Estately doesn’t eliminate the need to research the neighborhoods you’re considering moving to, but it certainly helps to narrow the field.

Plus, it’s pretty addictive. I’ve been playing with it all evening–looking for homes that are near Link, near at least two bus lines, in neighborhoods with walk scores over 90… I think I might have to move just so I can take advantage of it.

For now, Estately.com serves all the major markets on the West Coast, Chicago, New York, and Atlanta. (More cities to come!) They don’t have plans to create a similar service for renters (I imagine it would be hard to fund and possibly to manage), but I’ll keep my eyes open.

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