Walkability and Why an App Cannot Replace Your Agent

Here's an example of why an app isn't replacing your agent any time soon.

A client comes to you and says, "I'd really like a home in an area with great walkability," but what does that mean? To provide some insight to Abigail's client story, you'd have to know a little bit about Seattle's history. If you know anything about Seattle, you'd know the Emerald City had quite the lucrative past. 

Some background...Seattle's foundation is built upon its storied past, and one of the notable figures who played a unique role in its development was Lou Graham (briefly mentioned in Liz Hake's Seattle Myths and Truths video). Lou Graham was a German-born entrepreneur who rose to prominence in Seattle during the late 19th century. She is often remembered for her role in the city's early growth, albeit through means that were unconventional and controversial during that time. Lou Graham's notoriety came from her parlor house, which she opened in 1888. It quickly became the most upscale and profitable brothel in the city. But beyond the scandalous aspects of her establishment, what was uniquely impactful was Graham's approach to running her business and how she categorized her employees.

"Rather than positioning the women who worked for her as mere entertainers or companions, Graham referred to them as "seamstresses."

 This innovative categorization allowed her to significantly protect her business under the guise of an innocuous profession. She provided her employees with dressing gowns and sewing equipment, ensuring that if a law enforcement visit occurred, a work of sewing might be demonstrably in progress. In a move to regulate and profit from the bustling business, the city saw fit to levy a tax on sewing machines, a humorous yet pointed acknowledgment of their understanding of Graham's enterprise. Despite the imposition of the tax, Graham's business thrived, and the revenue it generated filled public coffers, contributing to the city's growth and even the development of critical infrastructure.

Knowing the background of the city and market where you are buying a home can provide invaluable insights that may impact your decision-making process.

When Abigail's client came to her from out-of-state and mentioned the importance of walkability, she knew she needed to clarify what that meant. Abigail knew they were working with a smaller budget and that could mean the possibility of walking into a few "seamstresses" in the areas they were looking. In this case, walkability meant location. Once they found a property that hit several priorities, Abigail then had to break it to her client that even though the walkability score and price were great, instead of having cute shops, lamps and hanging baskets, there would be a number of "seamstresses." So while walkability may be indistinguishable on your app, your agent can point you in the right direction for finding a home that hits all your must-haves. 

If you have questions about this topic or anything else, please call or email me. I am always willing to help!

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