Would you buy a car without giving it a test drive? Probably not. A test drive helps you understand what it would really be like to own, live with, and use a car, giving you the opportunity to notice subtle details that you can experience only by taking it for a spin. After all, this is a sizable investment.
Homebuyers can stress over whether or not to purchase a property. Their anxiety may be rooted in the unknown. What if it’s dangerous at night? What if none of my friends wants to visit me here? What if I find out something about the neighborhood that I’ll hate when it’s too late to do anything about 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 are some ideas to 'live' in a neighborhood before buying.
Live like a local
The first step of this process is to spend some time in the area—ideally by booking short term or vacation rental 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.
Run through your daily routine—and commute
In addition to noise and crime levels in the area, 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 even head out bar hopping. Your goal should be to see as many venues as you possibly can, to get a sense of the ambiance and demographics of the local nightlife and social scene.