7 Reasons Buyers Should do Drive-Bys

Buyer Tips and Advice graphic

There are numerous reasons for searching for homes online, which is why so many home buyers use the Internet for their home searches.

There are typically lots of photos, and you can read details about the home, including features and amenities, the number of bedrooms and baths, garage and parking spaces, fees (HOA, Mello Roos), and more. There is often a map to help you locate the property, plus you can check out information about the community or neighborhood online as well.

These days the technology provides 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 in these days of the pandemic. All of this information can help you decide if the home is a good fit for your needs and budget, before you ask your Realtor to set up a showing.

But wait, there’s another valuable step to consider before you go traipsing through homes that appeal to you online…and that is…

Get in your car and take a drive by the home and explore the local area.

Why does this make lots of sense?

MLS listings can only show you so much about a home, and typically not much about the surrounding area. Most buyers are seeking not just a house but a lifestyle. So, in order to decide if the property meets YOUR lifestyle requirements, a drive-by makes perfect sense.

It’s an excellent way to see the area around the home the MLS listing doesn’t show you! And perhaps there’s a reason that’s been omitted…like a view of high tension wires and towers. Even if the house does meet your needs, you might find the general location does not appeal to you at all!

And in this time of the pandemic why spend time touring homes, despite all the precautions, if it’s not the right property?!


Explore nearby services, recreational activities (tennis, swimming, golf, proximity to the beach), and tourist attractions, and other issues important to your lifestyle

You can learn what shopping is nearby, especially grocery stores, and other services, and how far away they are from the house

If dining important you can explore nearby dining options – and maybe do some tasting, too!

It will give you the chance check out commuting routes and traffic patterns (don’t forget to explore rush hour on major roads – apps online can only tell you so much!), especially for roads adjacent to the house.

You should listen to noises (e.g., trains, general street noise, a particularly busy road nearby, the freeway, neighborhood noise at different times of the day). For many road noise is a big deterrent. The MLS won’t give you this information and you can’t always tell from looking at the map! If you don’t know the area you won’t be aware that certain roads are major commuting route with plenty of traffic and noise.

Find the parks and other recreational amenities (e.g., community parks, skate parks) located nearby

Lastly, check out views which may be desirable for you (e.g., ocean, mountains, green-space, a golf course) OR that you might not like (e.g., views of retail space, high-tension towers and wires, nearby industrial areas). The MLS photos may be mostly of the house and yard, and not necessarily the views, especially those many might consider negative.


Taking some time to drive by a property of interest, or a number of properties, 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 you’ve made a big mistake.

In our local market buyers have to move quickly, given the competition, so a new listing that’ rights for your needs and budget does not slip through your fingers. Use your time wisely…but you might have to go right to a showing and forget a preview drive-by if time does not permit.

Buying a new home is a big deal and you want to do as much research and due diligence as you can, online and in person. Technology provides lots of opportunities to gather valuable information before you step into your car and head for a house tour. And be sure to consult your Realtor!

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 in Carlsbad or nearby in North San Diego County.