RealStir, hybrid of Zillow and Airbnb, unveils ‘Try Before You Buy’

RealStir lets buyers ask to take listings for a test run, building on popularity of short-term rentals
  • RealStir allows homebuyers to ask sellers -- through their agents -- if they can stay for a few nights to test out listings.
  • Agents can pay to advertise on
  • Sellers are well-advised to attach sensible terms to their short-term rental offers and learn about local short-term rental regulations.

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Imagine Zillow and Airbnb had a baby. That's RealStir. The San Diego-based startup not only lets homebuyers search listings and connect with agents, it also allows house hunters to ask sellers for the opportunity to take their homes for a test drive. If sellers agree, buyers can use RealStir to book a short-term stay in a home to get a better sense of whether it's a good fit. “It becomes a dual listing. It’s a listing for sale, but it’s also available as a short-term listing," said CEO Walid Romaya. “We just think it’s a great additional marketing tool to help someone sell their property." RealStir may be able capitalize on the increasing popularity of peer-to-peer short-term rentals, a trend driven in large part by the rise of the short-term rental platform Airbnb. But like Airbnb hosts, sellers thinking about renting their homes out through RealStir would be well-advised to attach sensible terms to their short-term rental offer and learn about local ...