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Seen At 11: New Program Allows Potential Home Buyers To Stay At Properties Before Purchasing

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)-- Buying a home is one of the most expensive and stressful purchases you can make.

But a new program lets new home hopefuls test-drive a property by living there before committing.

A $4.2 million townhouse dating from 1910 sits on a beautiful tree-lined street in Manhattan.

That's a lot of money, but realtor David Forte of the Level Group told CBS2's Emily Smith he has a new sales tool in his arsenal, allowing potential buyers to try the house before they buy it.

"You spend more time trying on a pair of shoes than you do trying on a home which you're going to spend, you know, seven figures for," Forte said. "This is a great opportunity to stay in the house and feel what it really feels to live here."

The idea piqued the interest of prospective buyer Carli Roth, who signed up to spend the night.

She said being able to stay there, make her meals, and get a feel for the space "gives a really good feel of understanding" if she can actually live in the home.

"It's a lot of money, I want to be able to know from start to finish that it feels like home," Roth said.

Buyers do have to pay to stay and can search for "tryable" properties on the website Realstir.

"It's a way to explore and narrow down your search," Realstir founder Walid Romaya said. "We want the buyer to have a very educated decision about their purchase and they feel very comfortable with it."

He said his company hopes to help sellers market their property better.

Homeowner Bentley Meeker said he's behind the idea of someone trying out his property.

"Is there a drip, drip from the water? Is the neighbor playing salsa music all night long? I don't want to sell somebody a home that they're not happy with," he said.

Real estate analyst Jonathan Miller is not convinced it's a program that will catch on.

"It's odd for me to have somebody to have somebody live in my home, even for 24 hours, that I don't really even know," Miller questioned. "I think where you might see use of this is when a property is a tough sell."

But Meeker said once someone tries out a home, they'll love it just like he did.

"Who knows, maybe it will result in a higher price," he said.

The program can be applied to all kinds of properties, not just multi-million dollar ones. Tryers can stay from one night up to three weeks and the price is negotiated with the seller, usually from $100 to $500 per night.


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