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4 Ways to Test Drive a House Before You Buy it

You’d never buy a new car without taking it for a spin around the block, yet there’s no way to “try on” the much bigger financial investment of a home you’re considering buying. While you can’t exactly move in for a month on a trial basis, there are a few ways to test out whether or not a house is the right one for you. Try the following ideas:

Test the commute time. Do you have concerns about what it will really be like getting from your potential new home to your job or to your child’s school? Don’t take Google’s word for it. Take the trip at the exact hour you’d need to in the morning and again at the end of the day to get a feel for traffic or public transportation schedules.

Hang out in the ’hood. Act as if you already lived in the neighborhood. Shop at the corner store and try out a couple of the local restaurants. Take your kids or dog to the park and chat with members of the community. Go online and check out the events and activities that are available on a regular basis. This will help give you an idea of the neighborhood vibe and the sense of community you can expect.

Visit the school. If you have children, plan to tour the school they will attend and have them shadow a student for part of the day. Talk to the principal as well as the coach or teacher who heads up your child’s favorite activity. Make sure everything and everyone feels like a good fit.

Check out the house at different times of the day. Be sure to drop by your prospective home on different days of the week, at different times of day. This will give you a more well-rounded sense of what the street, traffic patterns and neighbors are like. Don’t hesitate to talk with people you pass on the street. Chances are, they’ll be more than willing to share information about the area, and they may even have insights into the home itself.

Taking these steps will help give you a better idea of whether or not the home is a good fit for you and your family.