MIPE UNIVERSITY Walkability Guide (MIPE Walkability)
Walkability can be defined as: “The extent to which the built environment is friendly to the presence of people living, shopping, visiting, enjoying or spending time in an area.” The closer an area is to amenities, the more „walkable‟ the area is.
Launched in 2007, www.walkscore.com uses an algorithm to calculate an address‟s walkability. An area is given a score between 0 to 100 depending on the number of amenities located within a one mile (or 1.6 kilometre) radius from an address. Destinations get maximum points if it is one quarter mile or less from the residence and record zero points if they are over one-mile away. The higher the score, the more walkable the area. Walk Score has included a list of amenities that improve a location‟s walk score on its website:
- A Centre: Walkable neighborhoods have a center, whether it‟s a main street or a public space.
- People: Enough people for businesses to flourish and for public transit to run frequently.
- Parks and public space: Plenty of public places to gather and play.
- Pedestrian design: Buildings are close to the street, parking lots are relegated to the back.
- Schools and workplaces: Close enough that most residents can walk from their homes.
- Complete streets: Streets designed for bicyclists, pedestrians, and transit.
The algorithm has turned an abstract idea into a measurable quality. A property‟s walkability can now be compared to another property, neighbourhood, or city.
Daily errands do not require a car.
Most errands can be accomplished on foot.
Some amenities within walking distance.
A few amenities within walking distance.
Almost all errands require a car.
(B) Property USPs – Unique Selling Propositions (USPs)
An important skill for newbie real estate professionals is how to identify the USPs for any property for which you have obtained a listing to sell or rent on behalf of its owner(s). Of course, you already know the estimated market value by looking it up at the automated valuation models provided free of charge by property portals such as EdgeProp Analytics or PropertyGuru DataSense Vantage.
Here‟s RC‟s simple 4 step process to discover USPs for any property:
1. Why reinvent the wheel?
Property gurus just love to chant, “Location, location, location” if you ask them why people buy properties. But not all properties are conveniently located next to seafronts (nice views, especially at dusk and dawn), watersides (nice views), national icons like the Petronas Twin Towers or KL Tower (nice views), shopping centres (good for last minute shopping before you head home for dinner), transportation hubs (eg. MTR stations) or parks and greenery (nice views plus the added bonus of being able to walk your dog, or go for an early morning jog).
Don‟t reinvent the wheel. So if somebody has already done it, you can use their identified USPs to market your client‟s property. I suggest starting first by looking at the 3 major portals : EdgeProp, PropertyGuru and IProperty. Note how many shops, schools, F&B outlets, Starbucks or other cafes, malls/shopping centres, parks and green spaces are within 100-250m. That‟s called walkability – a plus feature in the increasingly congested Kuala Lumpur City Centre.
If you‟re in luck, EdgeProp Analytics might have a page for the property. Call up the relevant page by typing in “EdgeProp xxx”. This should bring up 3-4 pages worth of information about a property that you can scan for clues about its USPs.
Next, check YouTube and do a Google search to see if a blogger or real estate negotiator might have posted a video tour. Pay careful attention to any USPs that might be mentioned.
2. Schedule a site visit and do a walkabout
If your property does not have an EdgeProp Analytics page or there is no YouTube video and your Google search turns up nothing, then you have to discover USPs the hard way – by a site visit on the ground.
Schedule a site visit and do a “walkabout”. I prefer to do site visits early in the morning, say 6.30 – 7.00am. At this time, few people are about and the light is soft, so any photos you take with your smartphone tend to look good. I carry a cheap camera around my neck (its a prop -just for show), a business card that identifies me as a photographer/videographer in case Security asks why I am loitering around a property at 6.30am in the morning.
I also have a mid-price smartphone to take pictures of the property and any noteworthy feature around its surroundings. My modus operandi is to head straight towards the Security post, identify myself and explain I am there to take photographs or videos for a client. That‟s a plausible story that satisfies most Security guards. Of course, I don‟t tell them my client is Me, Myself and I.
3. Meet up with your client and inspect the property on site
My #1 tip is to get there early before the client turns up. That way you can enough time to scout around and talk any housekeeping and cleaning staff or Security that might be around.
For example, I was asked by K, a KL based REA that I talk to a lot to get ideas for this blog, to check out the USPs for Straits Residences, a upmarket seafront project with commercial title at Tanjung Tokong.
So I got to the small GF lobby early and managed to find out from Housekeeping that 60 keys had collected but only 20 owners had actually moved in. Security at the construction site/access road next to the property mentioned another useful tit bit of information. The offshore reclaimed island directly in front of the property would take up to 20 years to complete.
Then I met up with the marketing person in charge of the show unit and got the full tour of the facilities. I took some pictures of the show unit (apparently, the developer decided to change the furniture provided, so the Matterport 360 virtual tours on the Straits Residences website are outdated). New furniture would be supplied to buyers.) Most of the facilities are located on the roof top deck.
I took some photos at the roof deck of the surroundings. I found the choice “Sea View” units directly facing the Andaman Sea and the reclaimed island (if any are still available) would actually face a construction site on the reclaimed island for a long time.
4. Make a list of all positive and negative things you can find about the property and its surroundings
List out any nice views of greenery or a park, a big layout or floor plan suitable for families. Make a list of the facilities available to residents, for example pools, extensive landscaped grounds, grand ground floor lobby, in-house cinema theatre, yoga studio or games room, a club house, private dining and entertainment area , tennis courts, squash courts, 24/7 concierge services, if there is secure access to lobbies and car parks, upgraded tech like Bluetooth door access to individual units, how many units to a floor, whether property management has been outsourced to a reputable company with a track record (positive) or the developer wants to save money and is doing it in house (not so positive unless the developer is a seasoned player with its own property management subsidiary).
Consider also the property‟s surroundings. Is it near shopping centres and malls, transportation hubs, good schools, has ready access to parks and greenery? All these could be reaons why potential buyers might be interested in the property you have for sale.
If the property is located in the suburbs, consider also its connectivity – how many roads serve the area, are there early morning traffic jams or evening rush hour traffic blues.
Of course, you can probably think of more things etc to add to the above list.
5. Finally consider any USPs that competitors do not have. I call these USPs the property‟s X-Factor. Not all properties have an X Factor, though.
(Mr. Raymond Chong)