Could this happen here? Airbnb, the hugely successful online rental platform, has linked with a US property portal to give prospective buyers a change to test drive a new area before they purchase a home there.
Visitors to the sales portal, Realtor.com, are now being invited to look through Airbnb to find an appropriate home so they can - at relatively low cost - stay in the neighbourhood they are considering buying into.
A statement from Ryan O’Hara, chief executive of Move - the News Corp company which owns Realtor.com - says this idea “allows us to reduce some of the unknown factors associated with relocating to a new community.”
As part of the search function on Realtor, users are offered an ‘Airbnb before buying’ tab which appears on the home page and pages for each listing.
"As we offer a variety of unique accommodations in neighborhoods across the country, 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," says Chip Conley, head of global hospitality and strategy at Airbnb.
To push the idea, Realtor.com is offering a daily sweepstake until late August, giving users the chance to win $500 credit toward an Airbnb ‘try before you buy’ rental.
Is this an idea which Rightmove, Zoopla, OnTheMarket or another British portal might try?