I was at a closing recently and the listing agent asked me how I showed houses to clients. It was a fair question since I don't own a car. Our car-light journey, began a little over a year ago, naturally has ramifications for the way I practice real estate.
I have shown homes on foot -- a natural outcome, I suppose, when you spend as much bandwidth as I do promoting walkability and walkable neighborhoods. Sometimes it's just better to stroll than to roll.
I show houses via bicycle. I will be partnering with Robyn Elliott of Bicycle Tours of Atlanta this Spring to host a Wheel Estate Tour for the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation's Home Owner's Workshop. I also do BeltLine Wheel Estate tours where I show buyers homes for sale up and down the Eastside Trail.
There is no way to experience a neighborhood more intimately than on foot or via a bicycle -- a truth articulated so well in this article.
I have clients who work near MARTA, so living near MARTA becomes an obvious solution for daily commuting. Using MARTA to preview the homes is a no-brainer. The secret ingredient to using MARTA is to combine it with the bicycle for the first and last mile. Bicycles are allowed on MARTA trains and buses. All the buses, including Xpress commuter buses to the 'burbs, are equipped with bike racks on the front.
When a car is needed, I use Zipcar. Car sharing represents a fundamental shift in American transportation and consumption. There are currently more cars than drivers in America (?!). Each Zipcar takes about 20 personally-owned cars off the road. And the savings over owning a car can be substantial. On average, Zipsters save $500 per month over owning a car! A lot of this money get's pumped back into the local economy. We get to drive a hybrid without shelling out huge bucks to buy one. And I can show you homes without messing up your hair.
You can join Zipcar here.
It's all about fewer cars, less congestion, less carbon, less consumption and less pollution. These are important values to me as I actively promote city living because I live here.
My latest solution is the most fun -- a Vespa scooter with a sidecar. Our Stella with her rocket sidecar was chosen to bridge the gap between walking, bicycling, mass transit, and Zipcar for our family's needs and as a green method of delivering the Soup Mama's jars of love. Stella get's over 100 mpg, which becomes increasingly important as gas prices rise. It's got a catalytic converter and has one of the cleanest, most environmentally friendly scooter engines on the market.
So, you wanna hop in the sidecar and do a little house hunting?