Take your Next Home for a Test Drive?

Couple_in_empty_house_43-d05ff1ce6121e4a087f2d71e714c812aAre you shopping for a home but not sure if you’re ready to make an offer on a property that’s caught your eye? Some home sellers may be willing to let you spend a night or two at the property so you can feel confident with making an offer.  You can actually try out your home before you buy it.  “Test driving” a home is a trend gaining popularity in real estate markets across the country where sellers are motivated.  Motivated sellers hope that you will develop more of an emotional attachment when you spend time in their home and be more willing to make an offer.  Most “try before you buy” arrangements are agreed to by sellers who have most likely vacated the property, so they wouldn’t be as inconvenienced if a buyer spent several hours in the home.

While “test driving” can help establish an emotional connection, it can cloud your judgment on what matters most.  For the most part, the client spending the night will likely make more emotional decisions and pick apart a property’s minor attributes, all while overlooking major value — such as a good price.  While consumers should be emotionally invested in their purchase, it is important that a logical and economic approach is  best when  undertaking such large personal investment.  This means putting more focus on location and purchase price and less focus on the minor aesthetics that you’re likely to notice if you spend the night in a house, such as worn carpet or a loose door knob.

In one instance a home seller agreed to let a potential buyer spend the night in a property to try it out, but because the home was vacant, it didn’t have the appeal of a lived-in property. The owner ended up selling the home to another family who moved from out of state who closed without ever seeing the home in person, but purchased based on location and value.  Spending extra time in a home before you make an offer is an increasingly popular strategy. But make sure you talk with your real estate agent about the financial pros and cons of the property and the neighborhood before asking for a test drive.