By Laura Firszt, Networx

Looking to buy a new home? Good luck, happy hunting and remember one thing. A home is more than just the house itself, more than the sum of its rooms, decor and landscaping. Itís all about community. Americans are returning to the values of yesteryear, when towns were smaller and residents knew their local tradespeople. Yes, the big new trend in residential real estate is walkability. That means how easy and safe it is to get around the neighborhood and access shopping, services, and entertainment without a car. Actually, ďwalkabilityĒ is something of a misnomer -- itís not just for pedestrians, but for bicyclists and wheel chair passengers as well. So what, exactly, makes a walkable locale so desirable?

Itís green.

The formula is simple and eco-friendly: Walking or using public transportation for most of your errands, maybe even to get to classes or to work = reduced use of your car, which in turn = a smaller carbon footprint and less money you need to spend on gasoline. Win-win.

Itís good for you.

Youíll get more exercise. Purposeful exercise (such as walking to a specific destination) tends to be more motivating. On the other hand, walking just for the sake of walking, and taking time to stop and smell the roses along the way, is also exercise, albeit for the spirit.

Itís good for the kids.

Finding a clean, safe place for you to live with your kids is high on the priority list of most parents and future parents. A walkable neighborhood tends to be well taken care of and cared about, and often has schools that are easy to get to on foot.

Itís good for the community.

Patronizing local businesses and meeting your neighbors as you stroll evokes a small-town feeling, even if you live in a good-size city. It will tend to nurture a sense of investment in the safety and appearance of your area.

It increases universal access.

Disabled persons whose drivers licenses are restricted or who are not permitted to obtain a license due to physical or mental conditions will also benefit from a walkable neighborhood. The ability to get to nearby medical appointments or grocery stores independently, possibly with the aid of a walker or wheelchair, can impart a sense of freedom and dignity.

Itís a ďthing.Ē

Walkability is trendy these days, as much among energetic retirees as young millennials. In fact, there is even a company, referred to frequently by real estate brokers, which rates every address in the united states and Canada according to walkability. Its name, appropriately enough, is Walk Score.

It adds resale value.

When youíre still in the process of looking for a new home to buy, the thought of eventually selling is probably the last thing on your mind. However, you never know what the future will hold and itís always wise to consider a houseís eventual resale value. Chances are that if a propertyís excellent walkability is a major attraction for you, it will appeal to a potential buyer five, 10, or perhaps 30 years down the road as well.

Itís something you can figure out for yourself.

Have you spotted a house with the perfect layout, kitchen, or garden? Thatís great news, but before you sign on the dotted line, take a stroll of the local streets and parks. Check out how easy it is to walk to the local amenities you anticipate using and what kind of physical condition the area is in.

Laura Firszt writes for networx.com. This post originally appeared here: http://www.networx.com/article/buying-a-home-consider-its-walkability.