Article From: "Tim McMullen"   Read full article

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.

And buying a home is an even bigger commitment. After all, you’re not just buying the property itself, but a new life in terms of your community, your commute, the local restaurants, you name it.  

As a real estate agent in San Francisco, I’ve seen countless clients stress over whether or not to purchase a property. In my mind, their anxiety is 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. This is why I always encourage my clients to take the neighborhood for a little test drive first. Here’s how.

Live like a local

The first step of this process is to spend some time in the area—ideally by booking an Airbnb listing 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.

To get unfiltered, real-time crime updates on your area, check out the Citizen app, which provides crowdsourced crime reports.

One former client of mine, Gray Hoffman, decided to take my advice and test-drive San Francisco’s Polk Street.

“We had previously visited the property several times during weekday afternoons. On paper, we felt it could make a great home and solid investment,” he recalls. “We booked a studio apartment nearby for a weekend and quickly realized that the raucous weekend partygoers, while fun at first, would probably become disruptive.”

Hoffman didn’t buy the house. He also found the experience of test driving so insightful, he now recommends it to friends and clients.

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.

Another former client of mine, Maddie West, thinks test-driving your commute is particularly important if you’re commuting between suburbs and city.

San Francisco is an awesome city, but some parts can definitely be sketchy,” West says. “I often leave work late at night and, as a woman, there are definitely certain public transport stops I’d prefer to not use. It’s better to learn these kinds of things sooner rather than later.” 

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.

My friend Elen Gales, for instance, has lived in cities as diverse as Manila, Jakarta, Kathmandu, Colombo, Sacramento, and San Francisco. As such, she’s my resident expert on how to size up and quickly integrate into a city’s social scene.

“You should go out a few times with several different groups of friends—it’s particularly helpful if they have different perspectives and lifestyles from each other,” she says. “It’s important to get unfiltered feedback from your friends about the area—after all, they’ll be visiting you there!”

Make sure to make it clear to your friends that you haven’t decided whether you’ll buy just yet, since, as Gales adds, “Your friends will be more comfortable giving you their honest opinions if they know that you haven’t made a commitment on the place yet. And the perspectives you’ll gain will be valuable.”

The post How to Test-Drive a Neighborhood Before You Buy the House appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights |®.


First Time Home Buying in Massachusetts

first time home buyers in massachusetts, real estate agentsMABA Buyer Agents help first time home buyers reduce the stress and frustration normally associated with buying a home or condo – especially for first time home buyers.

As a first time homebuyer in Massachusetts, you can turn to our non-profit organization to help you understand and navigate the complexities of the entire Massachusetts real estate transaction, from mortgage pre-approval until you are handed the keys to your new home or condominium. Each of our member buyer's brokers and agents works only for their buyer-clients and never for the seller of the home or condo that their buyers want to buy.

MABA Buyer Agents will take the time to learn about you and your real estate goals, help you understand your options, including first time home buyer programs, properties and/or condominium associations, estimate real property values and put together a negotiating strategy to help you increase the odds of getting your offer accepted in our competitive Massachusetts real estate market. After advocating to get your offer accepted, your MABA buyer's agent will be there for you at your home inspection and help you protect your deposit through the inspection, purchase & sale and financing contingency periods.

You can buy your first home or condo with confidence knowing that your MABA buyer agent is committed to saving you time and money and helping you make your best home buying decision.



This book is an excellent first step in a complicated process.

BEWARE the cards are stacked against you! Get Tom Wemett's book, learn why are different from other

Buying a home is like buying a car, on steroids. It’s the biggest investment you are likely to make so the stakes are incredibly high. I knew that having an agent represent me was a good idea.

What I hadn’t grasped was how important it is to find one who is not connected with the selling side in any way—through an agency that also represents sellers, as most do, at least in Mass. In researching buyer agents, I found Tom through the Mass. Assoc. of Buyer Agents (MABA).

Read Full Review Here


Selecting the Right Homebuyer's agent

Unlike most other real estate agents, a MABA home buyer's broker never represents both a buyer and seller in the same transaction so you never have to worry whether a MABA agent is really looking out for your best financial interests. A MABA buyer's agent acts as your advocate, real estate educator, advisor and negotiator, always loyal to you and dedicated to getting you the best home at the best price.

Contact MABA today and Find a Great Buyer's Agent!  Fill out the form to get started.


Get Started with MABA

For no extra cost, let a MABA buyer agent protect your interests

Find a great Buyer Agent!