Some developers, listing agents, and homeowners allow prospective buyers to essentially test-drive a residence before they buy it. This gives buyers an insider view of the home and the community and allows them to get a feel for the noise of traffic at different times of day or test various high-tech features, among other things. However, Malibu, Calif.-based agent Carol Bird does not believe these test-runs are worthwhile. “Either they already liked the home and then change their mind and you lose the deal, or it stays the same,” she says. But given that a home is often the biggest individual investment a person will ever make, some believe it makes sense to give the home a try first. Toll Brothers offers a Fly and Buy program for buyers willing to check out a home in a different town, with travel costs put toward a purchase contract; and the luxury prefab home builder Wheelhaus offers a “try before you buy” campaign that enables buyers to visit the company’s Jackson, Wyo.-based headquarters and spend the night in a resort comprised of several model homes. Meanwhile, buyers willing to undergo a background check can stay overnight in a historic country estate in Redding, Conn., which agent Ginny Beasley says has “some really wonderful antiques,” along with formal gardens, river frontage, and a swimming pool with a pool house. | Read More