Maps are the perfect resource for house hunting.

Yesterday I found a cute little house for sale. The house was described as being within walking distance of Lake Phalen. I know the area well and I knew from the address that it would be more than a mile and a half walk. True that is walkable.

I walk at least that far most days and even though I live West of downtown St. Paul and on the same side of the river as downtown, I walk to Harriet Island which is 1.9 miles away if I walk through downtown and cross the river via Wabasha Street Bridge. It is 2 miles if I walk the Smith Avenue Bridge.

Walkable is a vague term. For most people  “walkable” is a half-mile or less. For some folks, walkable means a few blocks but I digress. There are a couple of coffee shops and restaurants that are a block away from my house. They would meet most people’s definition of walkable but Harriet island probably wouldn’t.

Use Google maps and look at where the house is. Use street view to see the house and what is near it. Sometimes a house is located near an attraction but it still isn’t walkable due to freeways and in some cases, a total lack of sidewalks and crosswalks.  Driving by the house is also a great way to check out the area but is more time-consuming and expensive than the internet.

There are other vague terms used to market homes for sale. Like “cute” or “Fabulous” or the ever-popular “charmer”.

Harriet Island
Harriet Island Regional Park
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