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Try before you buy (a house) with Realstir

You can try on clothes before you buy them and take a car for a test drive before you make a decision, so it was only a matter of time before a company came along that wanted you to (temporarily) live in a house before you take out a mortgage. Meet Realstir, a San Diego based startup described as a “social real estate marketplace empowering consumers and real estate professionals through local knowledge and easy real-time communication.” But more importantly, the company allows you to try before you buy your house.

The Realstir app makes it possible for buyers and real estate agents alike to get all the details they need on potential purchases, including what it would be like to actually live there. “It gives potential home buyers the chance to try the home out before they buy it, which is fantastic,” real estate agent Roger Perry told CBS Los Angeles. “We should all have that chance to take the car home for a day.”

The app plays matchmaker between serious buyers and eager sellers, and after a vetting process, the interested party can pay the current owner a fee to spend a night or two in their home. Think of it as Zillow meets Airbnb — at least, that’s how Inman News has described the concept.

“I think any homebuyer serious about pulling the trigger will find that very beneficial,” Perry added. “The hurdle … would be to have the seller allow it.”

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Realstir is available on Android and iOS, and is completely free to use. It allows you to determine the value of your own home, stay up to date on community news, and compare real estate prices across the country. And as useful as its multiple features are, Realstir believes that its real draw lies in its unique TBYB (try before you buy) offering.

“We think it’s a key thing as far as the future of buying and selling homes,” Walid Romaya, founder and CEO of Realstir, told CBS. “You want to see how the sunlight shines in through the window. You may want to see if the neighbor that has a Harley revs up at four in the morning.”

After all, a house is one of the biggest purchases you can make. Shouldn’t you be able to test it out before making a decision?