Blog Stories Strategies for gaining more perspective on a potential neighborhood.

Strategies for gaining more perspective on a potential neighborhood.

By Melissa Dorman, July 6, 2021

Shopping in unfamiliar territory? Looking for a walkable neighborhood? Before you buy, here’s how to suss out whether a neighborhood you’re interested in will let you get out from behind the wheel.

See what locals have to say.

Check-out local neighborhood platforms online like Next-door and Facebook Groups. They can provide answers to some important questions like;
  • Is it walkable to restaurants
  • Is it walkable to grocery stores
  • Are there are sidewalks
  • Do people walk alone at night
  • Are streets are well-lit
  • Is a car needed

Scope out the commute.

A truly walkable neighborhood is one where you can get in and out of the neighborhood without a car. Studies show that the closer you live to transit networks (bus, train, bike share), the more likely you are to walk. Map the route to your workplace to help gain further insight. How long is the walk to the bus or train? How long is the ride?

Check out local dining spots.

To find out whether you can easily step out for a bite to eat, take a peek at the Yelp Maps on each listing. That’ll give you a sense of how many restaurants are within walking distance. And keep in mind, the more restaurants there are nearby, the more your neighbors will likely be out and about, too.

Take a virtual walk.

Before you hoof it over to a potential new neighborhood, use Google Street View to explore it virtually. Often home search websites have links to the Google Street View at the home’s front door. Take a spin through the neighborhood. This will give you a good idea of what getting around could look like and what’s nearby. Just remember there’s isn’t a consistent time of day (or year) the images were captured.

Be on the lookout for:

  • Wide, accessible sidewalks
  • Shade: Trees near the sidewalks encourage locals to choose walking over driving.
  • Street furniture: Places to sit and rest tells you that the city has thought about walkability and has made investments to encourage it. Benches, picnic tables, and other places to catch your breath are a good sign.
  • Crosswalks and pedestrian signals: Most intersections have these, but how pedestrian-friendly are they? Look for signals with buttons for walkers to push and wide, well-marked crosswalks.
  • Street lights: Safety first—people won’t walk where they can’t see or be seen.

Do a “near me” search.

When you’re in the neighborhood, search Google Maps for “restaurants near me” or “coffee near me.” Check out a few of the places. Are the walks reasonable? Do the routes have pedestrian-friendly infrastructure? Take some exploratory walks to the places you’d be likely to visit. Ask yourself: Do I enjoy walking around here? If it feels right to you, it just might be the right place to call home.

Melissa Dorman

Broker | OR & WA


Ten years ago, Melissa was living in a slum in Kolkata, India, helping over 200 women escape sex trafficking by providing alternative work at a social business. It was there she discovered her passion for financial education as a means of empowering people to move out of poverty. After graduating from UCLA with a Masters, Melissa spent 5 years working as a Social Worker; assisting clients facing homelessness, in jail, or at a psychiatric facility. As much as she loved the work, imagining saving for retirement on the meager salary of a social worker was becoming grim. That's when Melissa discovered "passive income." In no time, she fell in LOVE with real estate as a vehicle for wealth. Soon after, Melissa began locating off-market multi-family properties to purchase through creative financing strategies and win-win opportunities. Two years into investing, Melissa quit her day job as a Social Worker to become a full-time broker and investor. Initially, she was drawn to people in difficult circumstances, so she developed extensive experience assisting families facing foreclosure, short sales, and probate. Melissa is well versed in helping her clients overcome complex real estate challenges. Currently, Melissa is teamed up with Super Broker, Yascha Noonberg at Living Room Realty. Together they assist clients to achieve their real estate dreams, including how to strategically buy and sell a personal residence to maximize profits. Far from the slums of Kolkata, her greatest passion now is empowering other working professionals to develop passive forms of income through buying multi-family properties in Portland.
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