BUSINESS

Airbnb Wants You To Take A Test-Drive Before Buying A New Home

06/26/2015 04:07 pm ET | Updated Jun 28, 2015
Chris Weeks via Getty Images

Before you commit to moving into a new place, why not Airbnb a nearby spot and get a feel for the area?

A partnership between Airbnb and Realtor.com will offer potential buyers the chance to crash at a new pad for a few nights to help them decide whether they want to move into that neighborhood.

When customers visit Realtor.com’s website, they’ll be able to choose the option to “Airbnb before buying.” A list of possible houses, condos, lofts and other properties in the area they’re looking at will then pop up.

Of course, you could have done this on Airbnb on your own. You could also use Airbnb in conjunction with your house-hunt on any other site or in real life. Realtor.com just adds a little more convenience by building this feature right into its search tools.

Here's what the Airbnb feature might show someone who's interested in a specific house in, say, San Jose, California:

realtor airbnb 2

The companies hope this partnership will enhance customers’ buying experience and ease their move to a new neighborhood or state. “It’s enabling them to try before they buy,” said Ryan O’Hara, CEO of Move, the parent company of Realtor.com. “We’re helping people make better choices on the biggest decision of their lives.”

Realtor.com is facing steep competition from the Zillow Group, formed when real estate website Zillow earlier this year acquired its rival Trulia for $2.5 billion. The latter two sites received 75.4 million unique visitors in March, while Realtor.com had 32.6 million unique visitors.

But Realtor.com has the backing of the News Corp media conglomerate, which bought Move in 2014. It rebranded itself after the acquisition, improving photo features and cross-promoting content from News Corp entities, such as real estate articles from the Wall Street Journal.

“We want to be really innovative and be bigger than them,” O’Hara told The Huffington Post of his competitor. The News Corp acquisition allowed Move to invest and increase traffic to its sites, O’Hara added.

And with the new Airbnb feature, Realtor.com hopes to reach a broader buyer audience that includes millennials. “Airbnb skews younger,” O’Hara said. “Millennials haven’t really stepped in to buy, but we’re seeing signals of it likely to start.”

Airbnb, which transformed the hospitality industry by opening up personal homes to tourists, is valued at $24 billion and hopes to secure a $1 billion funding round by the end of this month. It currently offers around 1.4 million listings across the world.

“We’ll be able to allow potential homeowners the special opportunity to experience those neighborhoods as if they already live there -- before making the decision to buy,” Chip Conley, head of Airbnb’s global strategy, said in a statement.

Also on HuffPost:

  • Alabama
    This shotgun house in a quaint neighborhood has an outdoor area with courtyard and fountain.City: MobileTitle: Downtown Historic Shotgun HouseNightly rate: $150Bedrooms: 2Occupancy rate (percentage of time the place was rented from November to February): 100 percentReviews: 18
  • Alaska
    This cabin features stunning views of "Alaskan wildlife, beautiful sun sets and our famous auroras."City: FairbanksTitle: Arctic Roots Farm Onig's CabinNightly rate: $176Bedrooms: 2Occupancy rate: 64 percentReviews: 16
  • Arizona
    AirBNB
    The House of the Smiling Sun, as it's named, is "perched on the side of a canyon surrounded by the most stunning views of Cathedral Rock, Seven Sisters, the Mongolian Rim, Pyramid Rock and other red rock vistas."City: SedonaTitle: Luxury home with breathtaking viewsNightly rate: $750Bedrooms: 3Occupancy rate: 63 percentReviews: 18
  • Arkansas
    AirBNB
    This modern cabin offers great views in a convenient location.City: West ForkTitle: Ozark Cabin with Location & Views!Nightly rate: $130Bedrooms: 0Occupancy rate: 60 percentReviews: 26
  • California
    AirBNB
    This large property in California's wine country offers "spectacular mountain-top views overlooking vineyards."City: SonomaTitle: Wine Country Villa, Pool, Views Nightly rate: $1,750Bedrooms: 7Occupancy rate: 62 percentReviews: 22
  • Colorado
    AirBNB
    At this property "you literally put on your skis 3 feet outside the back door," the listing reads.City: CarbondaleTitle: Ski-In/Out Aspen /Snowmass TownhouseNightly rate: $790Bedrooms: 4Occupancy rate: 56 percentReviews: 16
  • Connecticut
    AirBNB
    "Escape the city life and unwind at this spacious country barn house conversion," the property's listing reads.City: Washington DepotTitle: Country Barn House RetreatNightly rate: $459Bedrooms: 3Occupancy rate: 87 percentReviews: 11
  • Delaware
    AirBNB
    This beachfront cottage is located in a "tranquil, natural setting," the property's owners write.City: MilfordTitle: Bay/ocean view beach front houseNightly rate: $300Bedrooms: 3Occupancy rate: 60 percentReviews: 33
  • Florida
    AirBNB
    This waterfront property offers a pool and a 70-inch TV.City: Fort LauderdaleTitle: 4 Bedroom, waterfront, modern styleNightly rate: $650Bedrooms: 4Occupancy rate: 79 percentReviews: 12
  • Georgia
    This contemporary property offers a porch that "overlooks a sublime view of Atlanta."City: AtlantaTitle: Beautifully Renovated Midtown HomeNightly rate: $495Bedrooms: 2Occupancy rate: 100 percentReviews: 22
  • Hawaii
    This property features a 19-foot waterfall, swiming grotto and two whirlpool spas.City: KiheiTitle: Luxury Wailea Home - 2015 Deals !Nightly rate: $725Bedrooms: 3Occupancy rate: 89 percentReviews: 11
  • Idaho
    AirBNB
    Recently renovated, this home features a reading nook and a secret ladder leading to a room designed for kids.City: BoiseTitle: Beautiful Home in Boise’s NorthendNightly rate: $225Bedrooms: 4Occupancy rate: 82 percentReviews: 10
  • Illinois
    AirBNB
    This vintage home in the suburbs of Chicago "has the best of both worlds: century-old character and new construction amenities."City: River ForestTitle: Luxe Historic River Forest homeNightly rate: $750Bedrooms: 6Occupancy rate: 50 percentReviews: 13
  • Indiana
    AirBNB
    This house is advertised as "a great special event rental house for a large family or group of friends."City: FishersTitle: Great House for Family GatheringsNightly rate: $299Bedrooms: 4Occupancy rate: 54 percentReviews: 11
  • Iowa
    AirBNB
    This house is advertised as "perfect for a football or graduation weekend."City: Iowa CityTitle: Cute House in Historic District!Nightly rate: $150Bedrooms: 2Occupancy rate: 86 percentReviews: 15
  • Kansas
    This cabin offers a deck, private dock and guest cottage.City: AndoverTitle: Cabin Retreat near TownNightly rate: $175Bedrooms: 2Occupancy rate: 71 percentReviews: 10
  • Kentucky
    This "cozy" house features a courtyard and proximity to Louisville's shopping and restaurant district.City: LouisvilleTitle: Home in the HighlandsNightly rate: $210Bedrooms: 3Occupancy rate: 93 percentReviews: 11
  • Louisiana
    AirBNB
    This "grand mansion ... is all about comfort, privacy and relaxation," according to the listing.City: New OrleansTitle: Mansion in the Garden DistrictNightly rate: $950Bedrooms: 5Occupancy rate: 57 percentReviews: 18
  • Maine
    AirBNB
    The owner describes this property as having an "eclectic, elegant interior with a nice private yard and off street parking in quiet neighborhood."City: PortlandTitle: Portland West End Elegant AntiqueNightly rate: $500Bedrooms: 5Occupancy rate: 70 percentReviews: 11
  • Maryland
    "Built in the 1920s, the house is full of vintage details yet offers wide open spaces, perfect for keeping an eye on kids or socializing with colleagues and family," reads the property's description.City: BaltimoreTitle: Sunny 4-5 BR near JHU, Loyola!Nightly rate: $375Bedrooms: 5Occupancy rate: 60 percentReviews: 17
  • Massachusetts
    This Victorian brownstone triplex offers a private outdoor patio.City: BostonTitle: 3Bed/2.5Bath Luxury Triplex BostonNightly rate: $700Bedrooms: 3Occupancy rate: 90 percentReviews: 13
  • Michigan
    AirBNB
    This modern beach cabin offers its own private beach.City: Saint JosephTitle: Modern beach house on Lake Michigan Nightly rate: $325Bedrooms: 1Occupancy rate: 89 percentReviews: 12
  • Minnesota
    AirBNB
    This warehouse space is a "converted former peanut factory."City: MinneapolisTitle: Cool Warehouse loft Nightly rate: $165Bedrooms: 2Occupancy rate: 77 percentReviews: 30
  • Mississippi
    AirBNB
    This lakeside property has three boat slips, a shallow boat launch and a fire pit.City: BrandonTitle: Lake House Retreat - Ski/Fish/RelaxNightly rate: $175Bedrooms: 3Occupancy rate: 71 percentReviews: 10
  • Missouri
    This centrally located apartment used to be a horse stable.City: St. LouisTitle: Modern, Loft-like In Historic AreaNightly rate: $175Bedrooms: 3Occupancy rate: 75 percentReviews: 16
  • Montana
    "If you are seeking a unique, artsy, cute and very cozy neighborhood cottage, this could be the place for you," according to the Airbnb listing.City: BozemanTitle: Unique neighborhood cottageNightly rate: $160Bedrooms: 2Occupancy rate: 66 percentReviews: 10
  • Nebraska
    AirBNB
    This townhouse is conveniently located near to some of Omaha's finer restaurant offerings.City: OmahaTitle: Vintage Townhouse in DundeeNightly rate: $135Bedrooms: 2Occupancy rate: 97 percentReviews: 11
  • New Hampshire
    AirBNB
    The owners of this log cabin urge guests to "escape to the mountains for a getaway."City: DanburyTitle: Mother Moose Luxury Log CabinNightly rate: $550Bedrooms: 3Occupancy rate: 48 percentReviews: 88
  • New Jersey
    AirBNB
    This large New Jersey house's proximity to Midtown Manhattan allows those visiting the city to "enjoy the best of both worlds," according to its owner.City: Union CityTitle: CITY MANSION CLOSE TO TIMES SQUARENightly rate: $400Bedrooms: 4Occupancy rate: 63 percentReviews: 78
  • New Mexico
    AirBNB
    The owners describe this property as "architecturally designed and decorated with a blend of Santa Fe Traditional and Mid Century Modern influences."City: Santa FeTitle: 5 Level Artist Retreat on 5 AcresNightly rate: $249Bedrooms: 3Occupancy rate: 62 percentReviews: 25
Suggest a correction
Comments

CONVERSATIONS