A real estate agent who was told in 2004 he would never bicycle again after a terrible accident, proved the doctors wrong. And now Ryan Castleberry of Keller Williams Realty wants to prove something else: Two wheels work better than four when it comes to showing homes in a sluggish market.
Castleberry, 32, plans to lead a dozen bike tours of homes from April 18 to Sept. 19 in Decatur and Avondale Estates. The first one begins at Glenlake Park in Decatur.
“Now you can experience everything that probably would have been overlooked while looking at homes in the traditional car way,” he said. “You get the chance to see parks, meet neighbors or experience the roads that your children may be playing very close to.” Castleberry mass-mailed 4,000 announcements and hopes 10 to 12 people sign up per tour. Each tour will cover five to six nearby homes.
Living in Chicago for ten years I found the bike not only the best way to get around but also the most superb way to find apartments.
1) Newspapers don't have everything... indeed newspapers don't have the best places... the brownstones owned by local people... just the real-estate agent ones who are in it for their commission.
2) Viewing by car makes it REALLY easy to overlook places and parking is IMPOSSIBLE in inner cities.
3) Finally, walking simply takes too long.
Biking works because it offers a nice fluid pace both within neighborhoods and from neighborhood to neighborhood. It's actually the fastest way to find and look at a lot of places quickly. You simply pick your neighborhood, pre-ride it when you have a chance... not a bunch of places, make some calls and ride back by on a Saturday or Sunday morning.
What's more bicycles as an extension of public transport mean virtually NO area of the city is off limits. Everywhere in a city like Chicago is within five minutes of public transit by bike... if not within 25 minutes ride of downtown. It opens up huge possibilities otherwise overlooked.
As for suburban real estate... I cannot speak on the subject... but I can say that looking at real estate from the perspective of a bike changes EVERYTHING. From one suburban area to the next attention to pedestrian traffic is fickle. Some suburbs have SUPERB pedestrian access... others you can't even cross the street without first getting in a car. I've seen it all.... but you would never know it if you don't get out of your car and move around a bit on bike or foot.