How to Test-Drive a Neighborhood Before You Buy the House
Would you buy a car without giving it a test drive? Probably not. Buying a home is an even bigger commitment. After all, you’re not just buying the property itself, but a new life in terms of your community, your commute, the local restaurants – you name it. The good news is, moving to a new place doesn’t need to be a completely blind leap of faith. Take the neighborhood for a little test drive first. Here’s how.
Live like a local
The first step is to spend some time in the area—ideally book an Airbnb as close as possible to the property. Sure, this isn’t free, but the peace of mind this can give you about an area is worth the investment. Try to book for at least three days, preferably Thursday, Friday and Saturday. In doing so, you’ll be able to see what the neighborhood is like on both weekdays and weekends. From there, spend some time exploring the neighborhood during the morning, afternoon, and evening to gauge noise levels and safety in the area.
To get unfiltered, real-time crime updates on your area, check out the Citizen app, which provides crowdsourced crime reports.
Run through your daily routine—and commute
You’ll want to get a sense of your daily commute to and from work, shopping routine for groceries, and other errands. Make sure to use the mode of transportation you’ll be using, whether that’s a car, bike, bus or otherwise.
Sample the nightlife
Happy hours and weekend festivities are a common part of building a social life. As such, you should spend at least one night going out where you coordinate with friends to grab dinner or bar hop. See as many venues you can to get a sense of the ambiance and demographics of the local nightlife and social scene.
When including friends, make sure to make it clear to them you haven’t decided whether you’ll buy it just yet. Your friends will be more comfortable giving you their honest opinions if they know you haven’t made a commitment yet.
Article originally appeared on Realtor.com.