Some people are very creative. I have always said, that in any type of market, there are those who capitalize and make money out of it. During the “bubble burst” I saw a lot of real estate agents making a ton of money because they were willing to put the time and effort into short sales. This was a concept that newer agents had no idea about. A few adapted quickly and started making serious money, other fell apart. In the current market, inventory isn’t what I was even a couple months ago. This tight real estate inventory and hot competition has many buyers making quick purchases without thinking about whether the home is the best fit for them.
When inventory gets low, real estate agents have to figure out new concepts and angles on selling. Although it doesn’t pertain to any companies I’m affiliated with, a real-estate startup is borrowing the concept of test drives and applying it to homes. That great feeling, if you have felt it is that feeling of walking into a house and unlocking the next chapter in your life. It is certainly a great feeling, but it is scary too. There are a lot of new unknowns in your life. When you go to buy a car, you can drive it first and see if you like it. You can’t go live in a house and see if it is right for you. In fact, you learn things about every house within a week that you may have overlooked in the buying process. A seller wants you to see the best possible version of a house when you buy it, so there are hidden surprises.
Realstir is a company that is innovating the “test drive” for homes. The concept may or may not catch on. Realstir isn’t an actual real estate selling firm. Realstir connects sellers with serious potential buyers through a screening process. The potential buyer pays a fee to stay in the home, and therefor gets to check out the ins and outs of the house. This is a great idea in some ways but can also backfire. What if the house has a serious flaw that you wouldn’t have known about. That is great for the driver, but not for the seller. It would cause someone who has significant flaws with their house to not allow people the test drive option. If the concept caught on and was common, buyers would now be suspicious of any home that wasn’t allowing a “test drive”. Although it is far-fetched to think this would ever be a common practice, the potential for something along these lines is evident.
As a buyer, this would be great. It would depend on what the fee was, but if you think about the long term gains, it may be invaluable. If the fee is high enough, it could cause problems like sellers trying to make a quick buck by letting people pay a fee to try the house out with no intention of actually selling it. There would have to be some serious contracts if it becomes a typical transaction protocol. Every state is different and I’m sure not all states would adopt this as a practice. Some homes are purchased before they are even constructed so it wouldn’t be a possibility with new construction. Also, the screening process would have to be intensive for buyers with the potential to stay in a house they don’t own. They could do some damage and never be held accountable for it.
This blog can go in a million different directions but I’ll leave it where it is at for now. I’d like to hear some opinions about this so maybe I’ll open it up when I’m in the company of buyers, sellers, and real estate agents. Should be pretty interesting.