Spend some time at their would-be house at all hours of the day and night to find out what it would really be like to live in the neighborhood.

Different times of day change the reality of a home.

The neighborhood might feel charming and laid-back during a warm Saturday morning open house, but what is it like when you’re driving to work? Or waiting for Sunday church traffic to clear out?

That’s why David Feldberg, broker/owner of Coastal Real Estate Group in Newport Beach, California, advises his clients to spend some time at their would-be house at all hours of the day and night to find out what it would really be like to live in the neighborhood.

Let’s check out some of the times during the day and night buyers might want to visit a home they like, paying extra attention to local goings-on.

8 a.m.

Track the actual time it takes to commute from your driveway to your office to determine how long those red lights are and how bad the backup is on the on ramp—and if you can stand it. If you’re planning to take public transportation, give that a try, too.

10 a.m.

Sussing out crazy noise from construction, traffic, or barking dogs isn’t the only reason to visit your home midday.

For safety’s sake, it’s nice to know that neighbors might be keeping an eye on your house if you’re at work all day, and maybe even accepting your UPS shipments.

3 p.m.

Is the home near a school? If so, you might want to hang out and see if the schoolchildren are going to be cutting through your yard and trampling your flowers—or if the traffic is so busy you don’t feel comfortable having your own kids walk home.

5:30 p.m.

Now’s the time to check for traffic returning home—yours and everyone else’s. If you are envisioning sitting outside relaxing with a glass of lemonade watching your kids ride bikes, you don’t want to find out too late that traffic is being redirected through your quiet neighborhood.

Another less-likely eventuality might concern your neighbors’ cooking habits—if dinnertime brings odors you find unpleasant, you might want to stay away.

9 p.m.

It’s a good idea to find out if your neighbors like to live it up, advises Liane Jamason, broker associate at Smith & Associates Real Estate in Tampa Bay, Florida. Her client drove by for a week and discovered his potential next-door neighbor liked to have loud, wild parties nearly every night.

Feldman recommends that his clients park their car in front of the house and roll down the windows to check the noise level, whether it’s urban commotion or suburban parties. A late-night visit can also give you an idea of how safe the streets feel after dark.

If you can go in the house, do. One owner didn’t realize until his first night in the home that his neighbors’ outdoor lighting shines into his master bedroom windows, filling the room with an orange glow.

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