The secret to buying the right house? It’s to take your eyes off the home itself and immerse yourself in the neighborhood at large—that’s the premise behind “Beyond the Block,” a new reality TV show starring Andrew Tyree, a Realtor® based in Los Angeles.
In the four-part series, created by streaming channel Tastemade in partnership with realtor.com® and premiering Sept. 3, Tyree encourages home buyers to widen their focus to explore the whole community—often steering them into up-and-coming areas they might have otherwise overlooked.
“We try to find neighborhoods and cities that are on the verge, because, honestly, that’s the way you should be buying a house,” says Tyree. “We want neighborhoods with a lot of potential in the next five to seven years.”
After all, buying a home in an up-and-coming neighborhood is a surefire way to get a deal, and to see a great return on your investment when you eventually sell. But it also gives you the opportunity to make your mark and play a role in shaping the community.
So how do you know if a neighborhood is right for you? We chatted with Tyree to find out, and to learn why helping people buy homes is so close to his heart.
How did you get started in real estate?
I come from a military family. Both parents were in the Army, so we moved around a lot. Halfway through my childhood, I ended up in foster care. The idea of home has always been a bit fleeting for me. When people say, “Oh, I’m going back home for the holidays,” I never really had that.
When I discovered real estate, I was, like, “Why am I so into this?” It was because I’m helping other people get that thing that, for a long time, I didn’t feel like I had.
You’ve worked on real estate deals with a number of celebrities, including Serena Williams, Nick Young, and Margot Robbie. How did you land such star-studded clientele?
After studying theater and psychology at New York University, it was, like, “L.A., here I come!” I was acting and doing some other things. Every couple of days or so, somebody would tell me, “You should get into real estate, you’re really great with people.”
I got my license in April 2016. I got lucky because very early on, I had a couple of friends who were actors and ended up buying houses from me. Very quickly, it became a thing where I was a celebrity real estate agent. They were just my friends, and they just happened to be on TV.
How can buyers get to know a neighborhood during the home-buying search?
People don’t generally spend enough time in the neighborhood. People will go see a house, and they’ll drive the neighborhood once or twice, maybe see where the grocery store is and where the school is. But you’ve got to spend a significant amount [of time] there. Eat and shop in that neighborhood. If you are a walker or a biker, you should do those things there. Go at different times of the day. Talk to business owners. Talk to people who already live there. You will have a much better understanding of if you want to be a part of the growth.
What are some clues that a neighborhood is on the rise?
Real estate ripples outward, so think about a pebble being dropped in water. If there’s a big landmark being built or a city has just undergone major changes, that area is quickly going to be priced out and people are going to start moving to areas around it.
What can people expect while searching for a home during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Definitely utilize virtual tours to narrow down your choices before previewing in person. Make sure you’re only viewing the property alone. Most agents will go as far as to stay outside. If the agent does come in, 6 feet of separation, please. Masks are a must. And finally, you’ll be asked to sign a waiver before viewing the property protecting the agents, current homeowner, and the builder or developer, stating that you are aware of COVID-19 and its dangers and are COVID-free to the best of your knowledge.
What changes do you expect from buyers because of COVID-19?
People are looking for homes that do more. Before, there was a desire to live close to the city center near the bars, the restaurants—people wanted to have some sort of proximity to those things. What was inside your house could be more minimalist, especially if you were single or didn’t have children.
Now, people don’t know when they can get back outside or when these bars and restaurants are going to be something they can actually enjoy. They want more space in their house—a place for a gym, a space to entertain. For that, people are starting to look farther out from the city center, where houses are cheaper and bigger.
What are some of the biggest mistakes you see buyers make during the home search?
A big one is getting locked into what you want very early. There are some things you probably can’t change—like your budget or the number of rooms you need. But there should be some flexibility in the neighborhood or style of home. Otherwise you can miss out on great deals or things you’ll end up really liking.
Another is thinking the home-buying process is going to be quick. That leads to a lot of frustration. Then this really happy time in your life ends up being very stressful, and you lose the joy. Go in knowing this could take a year, a year and a half.