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The neighborhood is an important part of purchasing a new home so I’m surprised it has taken so long to get to a solution like this: use Airbnb to try out the neighborhood before you buy.
Realtor.com and Airbnb have teamed up to show visitors to the realty website what Airbnb rentals are near properties listed for sale, so potential buyers can test-drive a neighborhood.
“This collaboration with Airbnb reinforces our commitment to giving consumers unparalleled insight to make informed real estate decisions,” Ryan O’Hara, chief executive officer of Realtor.com, said in a statement Wednesday. “Our relationship with Airbnb … allows us to reduce some of the unknown factors associated with relocating to a new community.”
I wonder how many people will take advantage of this. Even though Airbnb might make it easier to try the neighborhood yourself, it still requires the effort of signing up, actually staying, and then looking around and/or talking to people. And if you are going to go to the trouble to walk around and talk to people, do you actually need to stay the night? Remember, many neighborhood members may just be trying to avoid each other (examples here and here).
Perhaps the next step in all of this is to find a way for people to stay at the prospective home itself before they buy. Perhaps you could get two days and one night to stay there but have to put down a hefty fee. This may not work if the homeowners are still living there but it would offer an unparalleled look at a major purchase.