By Frank May
With many purchases, you get the opportunity to “try before you buy.” You can go to the store and try on clothes before you update your wardrobe. You can go to the dealership and take a test drive before you commit to purchasing a car. And while you can’t try a house on for size by living in it before you buy it, you can try the neighborhood or area out before purchasing a home in it.
A recent article from Realtor.com outlined different ways you can “try before you buy” or test-drive a new neighborhood before committing to buying a home. Some of their top tips, as I have outlined below, include booking a short-term rental or Airbnb, doing a run-through of your commute, sampling the nightlife scene, and checking real-time crime updates of the area to get a sense of the neighborhood’s safety.
Become a Local (even for a few days)
Consider booking an Airbnb as close as you can get in the neighborhood you want to live. I know it isn’t free, but the insight this can give you about a community is worth your time and money.
Spend some time exploring the neighborhood during the morning, afternoon, and evening to gauge noise levels and safety in the area. You can look up crime stats in the city by going to
It can be helpful to do your due diligence upfront before falling in love with a neighborhood or home at first sight.
Test drive your daily routine—and commute
Not only is it essential to explore the noise levels and crime stats, but it is also crucial to go through your daily routine. Drive to work in rush hour traffic. If this is acceptable, great…but you may find that the nearest grocery store is more than 15 minutes away, which might not be acceptable to you. Living in 85383 is perfectly wonderful for most of you who live in the area, but if you have spent most of your life living in the heart of Scottsdale with access to major shopping and five-star restaurants, the Upper Westside of Peoria may be about five to seven years too soon for your move. Since most of you are reading this and live in 85383, I know you have already decided that the area is right for you. If it isn’t for the reason’s above or you wish you took a test drive on your home first, give us a call and we can discuss your options.
Check out the Local Nightlife (once safe to do so, of course)
Do you love going out to dinner and checking out a movie? Find local restaurants that you want to check out ahead of time so that you can sample the happy hours, brunches, or local coffee shops that you want to spend time and money. Invite your friends to join you for dinner and more. Your goal should be to see as many venues as you possibly can, gaining a sense of ambiance and demographics of the local nightlife and social scene.
Buying a home is a considerable commitment—so before you make such a big purchase, why not spend time in the neighborhood and get a feel for whether or not it’s a good fit for you? Give us a call if you want to talk about hyperlocal living and how to maximize your experience in the home buying process at 623-435-1300.
Frank May grew up in the valley, graduating from Northwest Christian School and NAU. He is a real estate agent with Keller Williams Realty and has been helping both buyers and sellers for 18 years. Frank May is a Dave Ramsey Endorsed Local Provider.