7 Reasons to Drive by a Home Before Deciding to See it in Person

Real Estate Agent with eXp Realty of California, Inc. CA DRE #01490977

Why You Should Drive by a Home

Before You Decide to See it for Real!


Most buyers use the Internet to search for homes these days, and there are plenty of good reasons for doing so.


looking at home listings onlineYou get to see lots of photos…hopefully plenty of good ones…plus you can read details about the home, including features, size, bedrooms and baths, garage and parking spaces, fees (if there is an HOA), and the list goes on.


Usually there is a map, and you can explore the area online, too.


And in these days of the pandemic there are virtual tours, Matterport 3D tours, and plenty of videos so you can really explore the homes that interest you, inside and out, and safely from the comfort of your home or office. All before you decide the home looks like a great fit for your needs and budget and take the plunge and ask your Realtor to set up a showing.


But wait. There’s another very valuable step you might want to consider before you go traipsing through homes that appeal to you online, and that is…


Take a drive by the home AND explore the local area. Why?


view from a Carlsbad homeThe MLS listing can and will only show you so much about a home, and while the details of a listing are important in order to decide if the property meets YOUR requirements, there are some prime reasons a drive-by makes sense.


You also get to see the area around the home the MLS listing likely doesn’t show you!


Maybe there’s a reason that’s been omitted.


You might find the general location is fine, OR it may not appeal to you at all, even though the house does!


And in this time of the pandemic why spend time touring homes, despite all the precautions, if it’s not the right property?! It makes sense, of course, to drive by multiple homes you like.




You can learn what the shopping is and where, especially grocery stores, and how far away it is from the house


Explore nearby services, recreational activities (golf, tennis, swimming, the beach, parks and playgrounds), and tourist attractions, depending on what’s important to you and your lifestyle


Check out the dining options – if that’s important you might want to do some tasting, too!


Evaluate commuting routes and traffic patterns (don’t forget to explore rush hour on major roads – apps online can only tell you so much!), especially roads adjacent to the property, and check out commuting distances.


Listen to noises (e.g., general street noise, trains, a particularly busy road nearby, the freeway, neighborhood noise at different times of the day). Road noise can be a big deterrent for many people. The MLS won’t give you this information and you can’t always tell from looking at the map!


If relevant, find the schools located nearby (first check to find out which schools service the area). Is being close to the school, even walking distance, important?


Check out views which may be important to you OR that you might not like (e.g., views of retail space, high-tension towers and wires, nearby industrial areas, a golf course, the ocean, green-space). The MLS photos may be primarily of the house and yard, and not necessarily the views, especially if the views are lacking or not positive.



Searching for the right home these days can be a challenge…with limited inventory which means competition…and the restrictions as a result of the pandemic make arranging showings more complicated. And you have to use your time wisely.


Taking the time to drive by a property, or a number of properties, of interest makes a lot of sense so you don’t waste time arranging a showing, only to drive through the neighborhood and up to the house and feel it was a mistake.


At the same time, depending on your local market conditions you may have to move quickly, given the competition, so a new listing that will work for your needs and budget does not slip through your fingers.


You might have to go right to a showing and forget a preview drive-by so you don't miss out.


Take the opportunity to do as much research as you can online. The technology provides lots of ways to gather valuable information before you step into your car and head for a drive-by or showing. And of course your Realtor should be a good resource as well!


Search for Carlsbad homes for saleYou can start your search online for a Carlsbad home for sale and check out the complete inventory of homes (detached single family homes, condos, townhomes and twinhomes) by clicking on the photo to the right.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


Please reach out to me at (760) 840-1360 to discuss your particular housing needs, lifestyle and budget so we can craft a strategy to get you into the right home.

Comments (66)

Brenda Mayette
Miranda Real Estate Group, Inc. - Glenville, NY
Getting results w/ knowledge & know-how!

Great advice Jeff Dowler, CRS !  So many consumers assume that an agent is "being lazy" by wanting them to do a drive by first...  NOPE! You've accurately identified that it's time well spent to be sure their needs are best being met with a showing.  And let's not forget the seller who spends time prepping for the visit and gets emotionally charged anticipating it. 

Jul 16, 2020 04:52 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

These are great tips for buyers. They might be living there. They should know what they would or would not like about the location.

Enjoy your day!

Jul 16, 2020 05:05 AM
Mimi Foster
Falcon Property Solutions - Colorado Springs, CO
Voted Colorado Springs Best Realtor

Interesting and timely post. I had two out-of-state Buyers recently ask if I thought it was okay to buy sight unseen. I did not think it was in either of their best interest as there's nothing like getting the actual feel of a neighborhood as you so adequately pointed out.

Jul 16, 2020 05:41 AM
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Agree, many people really need to get a feel for an area. A drive through the neighborhood can reveal all kinds of helpful information. Good post, as usual, Keff. 

Jul 16, 2020 06:56 AM
Beth Atalay
Cam Realty and Property Management - Clermont, FL
Cam Realty of Clermont FL

Hi Jeff Dowler, CRS, great tips for home buyers. What looks good to others may not be acceptable for some. It's always a good idea to drive by the house. I showed a home yesterday, all the pictures looked great, however, the smell inside the house was not very pleasing and discoloration on the ceilings which were not visible in the pictures so internet photos can be deceiving.

Jul 16, 2020 06:56 AM
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

Excellent advice!  Buyers have to get "a feel" for the neighborhood.  I encourage drive bys on weekends, later in afternoon, to see who is out, walking around, are neighbors visiting, traffic, etc. 

Jul 16, 2020 08:17 AM
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
Fathom Realty Washington LLC - Tacoma, WA
South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker!

I had to cancel,way to many appointments when I was a newbie. That one step saved a lot of headaches. Lessons learned from my early years in the industry...
Have a successful day, Jeff Dowler, CRS 

Jul 16, 2020 08:23 AM
Annie B
Savvy Honey - Andrus Island, CA
Lifestyle Blogger

Your article is spot on. I've been looking at houses and many times will go look at Google street view to give me an idea of the neighborhood. One house looked like it was a pretty decent neighborhood in Google street view, only to drive by in person and it wasn't the best.  I'm glad I drove up and saw the neighborhood in person before I wasted my real estate agents time in showing me the place. Great article!

Jul 16, 2020 09:15 AM
Steffy Hristova
HomeSmart Elite Group Tempe AZ Tel: 480-966-9353 - Tempe, AZ
Tempe AZ Realtor - Your Home Close to Your Work!

Hi Jeff,

Important points to remember when buying a home. the time spent to research a neighborhood pays back well. Great discussion in the comments, too.

Jul 16, 2020 09:54 AM
Joan Valverde
HomeSmart - Colorado Springs, CO
GRI,CDPE,CNE,MRP,SRES Colo Sprgs, Blk Forest, Monu

Good afternoon Jeff.  I agree, get out and see what the neighborhood looks like.  I advise my buyers, to check out the neighborhood a couple of times, like during the day, later at night especially weekend evenings to see if the neighborhood is what they are looking for.  To quiet, to loud?  so many things to consider, that they often don't think about.... In our market they have to move quickly, but at a $300,000 + price point.... I think it is important to know what you are getting!!! 

Jul 16, 2020 11:44 AM
Joan Valverde
HomeSmart - Colorado Springs, CO
GRI,CDPE,CNE,MRP,SRES Colo Sprgs, Blk Forest, Monu

Google can help out too,  I had a client asking to see a home, an hour away... when we got there, found out the wind turbines were way to close for their liking...  :(  Oh well got to see my clients. 

Jul 16, 2020 11:46 AM
Lynn B. Friedman CRS Atlanta, GA 404-939-2727
Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty - Love our Great City - Love our Clients! Buckhead - Midtown - Westside - Atlanta, GA
Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers

Jeff Dowler, CRS 
Love this post! One of my favorite reasons for checking out the "macro" of a possible new house is that everyone has different routes to work (well, in the old days!). So which direction one turns in the morning can make a difference!
All the best, Lynn 

Jul 16, 2020 12:52 PM
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Great advice Jeff!  Smart list of to do's for buyers to check out the area first.   Virtually, we can "drive" the streets via Google Earth, but you can't tell much else.  

Jul 16, 2020 02:04 PM
Mercedes E. Santana
Santana Property Group - New York, NY
NYC Multifamily Properties

Jeff you have provided solid common sense advice that most buyers never think about doing, Sometimes the obvious escapes most buyers.

Jul 17, 2020 06:20 AM
Lyn Sims
Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg Real Estate Agent Retired

It's a great idea but with a fast market that's not always possible. That's why they have Google Maps which can show you an aerial too. Just had buyers that were in such a hurry to see homes they forgot to look at the overall location. House at the corner or such & such busy streets? You can find out before you get the keys to the car.

Jul 20, 2020 01:00 PM
Nibal Elsaadi
SI Real Estate Tampa - Tampa, FL

Great advice! This not only gives you a feel for the neighborhood, but you get an idea of how close necessities are such as grocery stores and the traffic patterns!

Jul 21, 2020 12:28 PM
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

A drive by is always advisable, providing you're in the vicinity.

Jul 21, 2020 02:36 PM
Brian DeYoung
also affiliated with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Heritage Realty - Ithaca, NY
The Realtor with personal investment background

Totally agree.

I love it when clients drive by first.


Aug 21, 2020 08:30 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Thanks, Brian. I think it makes so much sense and even more so in this market.


Aug 22, 2020 04:02 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

This is something comes with the skills to playt

Jul 03, 2021 11:46 PM