Business

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

Sounds like a pretty smart way to get a feel for a neighborhood before moving there.
HOLLYWOOD - SEPTEMBER 27: A general view of atmosphere is seen at Airbnb's Hello LA Event at Cook's Garden by HGEL on September 27, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Chris Weeks/Getty Images for Airbnb)
HOLLYWOOD - SEPTEMBER 27: A general view of atmosphere is seen at Airbnb's Hello LA Event at Cook's Garden by HGEL on September 27, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Chris Weeks/Getty Images for Airbnb)

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.

Alabama
This shotgun house in a quaint neighborhood has an outdoor area with courtyard and fountain.
City: Mobile
Title:Downtown Historic Shotgun House
Nightly rate: $150
Bedrooms: 2
Occupancy rate (percentage of time the place was rented from November to February): 100 percent
Reviews: 18
Alaska
This cabin features stunning views of "Alaskan wildlife, beautiful sun sets and our famous auroras."
City: Fairbanks
Title:Arctic Roots Farm Onig's Cabin
Nightly rate: $176
Bedrooms: 2
Occupancy rate: 64 percent
Reviews: 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: Sedona
Title:Luxury home with breathtaking views
Nightly rate: $750
Bedrooms: 3
Occupancy rate: 63 percent
Reviews: 18
Arkansas
AirBNB
This modern cabin offers great views in a convenient location.
City: West Fork
Title:Ozark Cabin with Location & Views!
Nightly rate: $130
Bedrooms: 0
Occupancy rate: 60 percent
Reviews: 26
California
AirBNB
This large property in California's wine country offers "spectacular mountain-top views overlooking vineyards."
City: Sonoma
Title:Wine Country Villa, Pool, Views
Nightly rate: $1,750
Bedrooms: 7
Occupancy rate: 62 percent
Reviews: 22
Colorado
AirBNB
At this property "you literally put on your skis 3 feet outside the back door," the listing reads.
City: Carbondale
Title:Ski-In/Out Aspen /Snowmass Townhouse
Nightly rate: $790
Bedrooms: 4
Occupancy rate: 56 percent
Reviews: 16
Connecticut
AirBNB
"Escape the city life and unwind at this spacious country barn house conversion," the property's listing reads.
City: Washington Depot
Title:Country Barn House Retreat
Nightly rate: $459
Bedrooms: 3
Occupancy rate: 87 percent
Reviews: 11
Delaware
AirBNB
This beachfront cottage is located in a "tranquil, natural setting," the property's owners write.
City: Milford
Title:Bay/ocean view beach front house
Nightly rate: $300
Bedrooms: 3
Occupancy rate: 60 percent
Reviews: 33
Florida
AirBNB
This waterfront property offers a pool and a 70-inch TV.
City: Fort Lauderdale
Title:4 Bedroom, waterfront, modern style
Nightly rate: $650
Bedrooms: 4
Occupancy rate: 79 percent
Reviews: 12
Georgia
This contemporary property offers a porch that "overlooks a sublime view of Atlanta."
City: Atlanta
Title:Beautifully Renovated Midtown Home
Nightly rate: $495
Bedrooms: 2
Occupancy rate: 100 percent
Reviews: 22
Hawaii
This property features a 19-foot waterfall, swiming grotto and two whirlpool spas.
City: Kihei
Title:Luxury Wailea Home - 2015 Deals !
Nightly rate: $725
Bedrooms: 3
Occupancy rate: 89 percent
Reviews: 11
Idaho
AirBNB
Recently renovated, this home features a reading nook and a secret ladder leading to a room designed for kids.
City: Boise
Title:Beautiful Home in Boise’s Northend
Nightly rate: $225
Bedrooms: 4
Occupancy rate: 82 percent
Reviews: 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 Forest
Title:Luxe Historic River Forest home
Nightly rate: $750
Bedrooms: 6
Occupancy rate: 50 percent
Reviews: 13
Indiana
AirBNB
This house is advertised as "a great special event rental house for a large family or group of friends."
City: Fishers
Title:Great House for Family Gatherings
Nightly rate: $299
Bedrooms: 4
Occupancy rate: 54 percent
Reviews: 11
Iowa
AirBNB
This house is advertised as "perfect for a football or graduation weekend."
City: Iowa City
Title:Cute House in Historic District!
Nightly rate: $150
Bedrooms: 2
Occupancy rate: 86 percent
Reviews: 15
Kansas
This cabin offers a deck, private dock and guest cottage.
City: Andover
Title:Cabin Retreat near Town
Nightly rate: $175
Bedrooms: 2
Occupancy rate: 71 percent
Reviews: 10
Kentucky
This "cozy" house features a courtyard and proximity to Louisville's shopping and restaurant district.
City: Louisville
Title:Home in the Highlands
Nightly rate: $210
Bedrooms: 3
Occupancy rate: 93 percent
Reviews: 11
Louisiana
AirBNB
This "grand mansion ... is all about comfort, privacy and relaxation," according to the listing.
City: New Orleans
Title:Mansion in the Garden District
Nightly rate: $950
Bedrooms: 5
Occupancy rate: 57 percent
Reviews: 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: Portland
Title:Portland West End Elegant Antique
Nightly rate: $500
Bedrooms: 5
Occupancy rate: 70 percent
Reviews: 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: Baltimore
Title:Sunny 4-5 BR near JHU, Loyola!
Nightly rate: $375
Bedrooms: 5
Occupancy rate: 60 percent
Reviews: 17
Massachusetts
This Victorian brownstone triplex offers a private outdoor patio.
City: Boston
Title:3Bed/2.5Bath Luxury Triplex Boston
Nightly rate: $700
Bedrooms: 3
Occupancy rate: 90 percent
Reviews: 13
Michigan
AirBNB
This modern beach cabin offers its own private beach.
City: Saint Joseph
Title:Modern beach house on Lake Michigan
Nightly rate: $325
Bedrooms: 1
Occupancy rate: 89 percent
Reviews: 12
Minnesota
AirBNB
This warehouse space is a "converted former peanut factory."
City: Minneapolis
Title:Cool Warehouse loft
Nightly rate: $165
Bedrooms: 2
Occupancy rate: 77 percent
Reviews: 30
Mississippi
AirBNB
This lakeside property has three boat slips, a shallow boat launch and a fire pit.
City: Brandon
Title:Lake House Retreat - Ski/Fish/Relax
Nightly rate: $175
Bedrooms: 3
Occupancy rate: 71 percent
Reviews: 10
Missouri
This centrally located apartment used to be a horse stable.
City: St. Louis
Title:Modern, Loft-like In Historic Area
Nightly rate: $175
Bedrooms: 3
Occupancy rate: 75 percent
Reviews: 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: Bozeman
Title:Unique neighborhood cottage
Nightly rate: $160
Bedrooms: 2
Occupancy rate: 66 percent
Reviews: 10
Nebraska
AirBNB
This townhouse is conveniently located near to some of Omaha's finer restaurant offerings.
City: Omaha
Title:Vintage Townhouse in Dundee
Nightly rate: $135
Bedrooms: 2
Occupancy rate: 97 percent
Reviews: 11
New Hampshire
AirBNB
The owners of this log cabin urge guests to "escape to the mountains for a getaway."
City: Danbury
Title:Mother Moose Luxury Log Cabin
Nightly rate: $550
Bedrooms: 3
Occupancy rate: 48 percent
Reviews: 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 City
Title:CITY MANSION CLOSE TO TIMES SQUARE
Nightly rate: $400
Bedrooms: 4
Occupancy rate: 63 percent
Reviews: 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 Fe
Title:5 Level Artist Retreat on 5 Acres
Nightly rate: $249
Bedrooms: 3
Occupancy rate: 62 percent
Reviews: 25
New York
AirBNB
This Upper East Side Manhattan townhouse sleeps up to 16 and has a private garage available on request.
City: New York
Title:Super Luxury Townhouse-Sleeps 16!!
Nightly rate: $1,500
Bedrooms: 4
Occupancy rate: 67 percent
Reviews: 30
Nevada
AirBNB
This property offers a pool and spa a few miles away from the Las Vegas strip.
City: Las Vegas
Title:6000 Sq Ft Luxury Home W/Pool & Spa
Nightly rate: $599
Bedrooms: 7
Occupancy rate: 65 percent
Reviews: 15
North Carolina
Airbnb
The owner describes this property, located in Asheville's historic Montford Hills neighborhood, as a "beautiful home with lots of local artwork" inside.
City: Asheville
Title:Montford Home 1 mile to Downtown
Nightly rate: $235
Bedrooms: 3
Occupancy rate: 79 percent
Reviews: 33
North Dakota
AirBNB
This home "offers three bedrooms for privacy, a full kitchen equipped to cook a pizza or a gourmet meal, and a double-car garage."
City: Grand Forks
Title:Newer 3BR Townhome Near Shopping
Nightly rate: $125
Bedrooms: 3
Occupancy rate: 33 percent
Reviews: 8
Ohio
AirBNB
This property near Ohio State University offers a pool table, hot tub and sauna.
City: Westerville
Title:Columbus Ohio Retreat / OSU games
Nightly rate: $500
Bedrooms: 5
Occupancy rate: 43 percent
Reviews: 10
Oklahoma
AirBNB
This property, owned by a couple of artists, features a koi pond and a rock garden.
City: Oklahoma City
Title:Gatewood: Unique & BEST of OKC!!
Nightly rate: $125
Bedrooms: 2
Occupancy rate: 90 percent
Reviews: 63
Oregon
AirBNB
Listed as a "historically significant building," this family residence is centrally located in downtown Portland.
City: Portland
Title:Historic Hafner Haus, Downtown PDX
Nightly rate: $199
Bedrooms: 5
Occupancy rate: 89 percent
Reviews: 29
Pennsylvania
AirBNB
"Centrally located close to everything Poconos has to offer," this Airbnb listing says.
City: East Stroudsburg
Title:Spacious All Season Retreat 7Br/5Ba
Nightly rate: $350
Bedrooms: 7
Occupancy rate: 45 percent
Reviews: 12
Puerto Rico
Airbnb
This property features a pool and is only two blocks to the beach and three miles to the airport.
City: San Juan
Title:Walk to the beach Lux 5BR/5.5BATH
Nightly rate: $800
Bedrooms: 5
Occupancy rate: 81 percent
Reviews: 16
Rhode Island
AirBNB
The owner describes this property as "a very special, casual, yet beautiful home with inspirational views" in a central location.
City: Saunderstown
Title:Wister House South, Saunderstown RI
Nightly rate: $265
Bedrooms: 4
Occupancy rate: 70 percent
Reviews: 10
South Carolina
AirBNB
This property offers quick access to Charleston's renowned culinary scene.
City: Charleston
Title:Large Dwnt Home-WEEKDAY SPECIAL
Nightly rate: $389
Bedrooms: 3
Occupancy rate: 74 percent
Reviews: 28
South Dakota
AirBNB
This property offers a "peaceful, quiet setting with the convenience of being located in the city."
City: Sioux Falls
Title:Home away from home! Welcome!
Nightly rate: $90
Bedrooms: 4
Occupancy rate: 34 percent
Reviews: 41
Tennessee
This Nashville home is located a few minutes from the downtown area's famous Music Row.
City: Nashville
Title:Lovely, great location! Vanderbilt
Nightly rate: $850
Bedrooms: 5
Occupancy rate: 91 percent
Reviews: 10
Texas
AirBNB
This property is close to downtown Austin and features a swimming pool and pool table.
City: Austin
Title:Cool down at the SoCo pool retreat!
Nightly rate: $999
Bedrooms: 4
Occupancy rate: 89 percent
Reviews: 12
Utah
This property is near to two popular Utah ski resorts.
City: Park City
Title:4BR Solamere Deer Valley Ski Home
Nightly rate: $649
Bedrooms: 4
Occupancy rate: 48 percent
Reviews: 11
Vermont
AirBNB
Designed as "a ski dorm cabin," the property sleeps 16 and is available for work retreats.
City: Waterbury Center
Title:Meadow-House Backcountry Residency
Nightly rate: $900
Bedrooms: 5
Occupancy rate: 43 percent
Reviews: 16
Virginia
AirBNB
Three blocks from the beach, this property has a saltwater pool, hot tub and game room.
City: Virginia Beach
Title:Piper's Paradise at Croatan Beach
Nightly rate: $525
Bedrooms: 5
Occupancy rate: 47 percent
Reviews: 12
Washington
AirBNB
This house sleeps 16 and is a Seattle coffee lover's dream, according to its description.
City: Seattle
Title:Best Coffee in Seattle 1 Block Away
Nightly rate: $672
Bedrooms: 6
Occupancy rate: 58 percent
Reviews: 16
Washington, D.C.
Airbnb
The owner describes this property as "the coolest house in D.C." It has a heated pool, pool table, poker table and other swanky amenities.
City: Washington, D.C.
Title:Celebrity House Hunter Mansion
Nightly rate: $1,200
Bedrooms: 6
Occupancy rate: 74 percent
Reviews: 34
West Virginia
Airbnb
This secluded vacation home offers close proximity to both outdoor activities like hiking and golf, as well as shopping and culture.
City: Berkeley Springs
Title:Wild, Wonderful Five-Bedroom Loghome
Nightly rate: $240
Bedrooms: 5
Occupancy rate: 70 percent
Reviews: 72
Wisconsin
AirBNB
This property was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for Life Magazine and sleeps eight people.
City: Two Rivers
Title:Frank Lloyd Wright's Schwartz House
Nightly rate: $395
Bedrooms: 4
Occupancy rate: 50 percent
Reviews: 14
Wyoming
AirBNB
"Come and enjoy Jackson Hole and retreat, regroup, and reboot here," this property's listing offers.
City: Wilson
Title:Beautiful Western Home
Nightly rate: $325
Bedrooms: 4
Occupancy rate: 42 percent
Reviews: 13