Try Before You Buy

Airbnb lets potential homebuyers take their new neighborhoods for a test run

Airbnb lets potential homebuyers try out their new neighborhoods

Downtown Dallas at night
Airbnb and Realtor.com are making it easy to try out a new neighborhood. Photo courtesy of Airbnb

The concept of “try before you buy” is a hard one to implement in the world of real estate. But a new partnership between Airbnb and Realtor.com aims to do just that for potential homebuyers, letting them experience a specific neighborhood before purchasing there.

The partnership is particularly focused on millennials, who now represent the largest group of homebuyers in the U.S. at 32 percent, recently taking over from Generation X. This age group, born from the early 1980s to the early 2000s, is about 79 million strong, and their purchasing power is estimated to be $170 billion per year.

The Airbnb-Realtor.com partnership aims to reduce some of the unknown factors associated with relocating to a new community. Here’s how it will work: Visitors to Realtor.com will see an “Airbnb before buying” option for certain properties, and the choice will also appear on the homepage and on for-sale listing pages. Potential buyers will be able to book accommodations on Airbnb, from single-family homes to condos, lofts, and other properties located near their chosen neighborhood.

“As we offer a variety of unique accommodations in neighborhoods across the country, we’ll be able to allow potential home owners the special opportunity to experience those neighborhoods as if they already live there,” says Chip Conley, Airbnb head of global hospitality and strategy.

Millennials are extremely technology-driven in their home buying efforts, according to the 2015 National Association of Realtors (NAR) Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends study. This partnership plays perfectly into that, allowing them to make all arrangements online.

“I think it’s brilliant — this could give [millennials] a taste of a neighborhood and change them from renter to buyers,” says Jay Forrester, a Realtor with Ebby Halliday Preston Center.

So let’s say you’re a twentysomething thinking of moving out of Mom and Dad’s house and into downtown Dallas. You might want to check out this Airbnb listing for a private room in a downtown townhouse for $72 per night. The exact location is not revealed on the website for safety reasons, but it’s located across the street from the Dallas Farmers Market and within walking distance to Deep Ellum, the Arts District, and West End.

Or how about the M Streets? This listing for a private guest house is within walking distance to popular nightlife, shops, and restaurants on Greenville Avenue, and close to Knox-Henderson, Mockingbird Station, and Uptown.

If a buyer is eyeballing East Dallas to buy, this listing for a “peaceful treehouse” in Casa Linda would allow them to get to know the area for $250 a night. Plus, unlike tradition hotels, this place offers access to Weber grills, a canoe, double kayak, and horses.

“This collaboration with Airbnb reinforces our commitment to giving consumers unparalleled insight to make informed real estate decisions,” says Ryan O’Hara, CEO at Move Inc., a subsidiary of News Corp that operates Realtor.com under an agreement with the National Association of Realtors.

Founded in 2008, Airbnb is a website that allows people to rent out lodging in their homes. It has more than 1 million listings in 34,000 cities and 190 countries.

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A version of this story originally was published on Candy’s Dirt.