The emotional states of choosing a home

Posted 1 June 2016 by Helen Christie

A new study suggests male and female brains work differently when house hunting...

Women are instinctive and prone to fantasising, whereas men are disapproving sticklers who fixate on the transaction, according to a study conducted by online estate agent easyProperty.

easyProperty consulted a number of behaviour and psychology specialists, including Professor Sir Cary Cooper CBE (professor of organisational psychology) and surveyed 1,000 UK adults to discover exactly what goes on in our heads when we go to set out to find a new home.

The study found that women and men behave very differently during the process, and the differences emerge before the viewing and continue for a long time after. 

Psychology professor, Sir Cary Cooper CBE, believes men are more focused on the transactional nature of finding a property, while women are more likely to visualise themselves in a new home. Professor Cooper says: "Choosing a home is a big life decision and can be highly stressful. Block viewings can add to the stress and even drive competitive behaviours. Competition for resources and territory in humans is natural and informs a lot of behaviour. But equally, tensions do arise when people are in cramped spaces. House viewings with multiple interested parties could be just as stressful due to these cramped conditions.

“Men and women may react to the home viewing process differently, and for a number of reasons. Firstly, women may be more inclined to visualise a property as their next home, planning where to put furniture or 'decorating with their eyes' earlier in the process than men due to having stronger home-making instincts, but that's not to say men won't visualise too. They just tend not do it as often or as early.

“The fact that men are prone to be put off a property because they didn't warm to the current owner suggests males may be focussing more on the transaction, rather than visualising the property as their next home."

The stress of viewing a property

The moving process is known to be a stressful time, and that starts even before the move itself. 16% of us say block viewings and open houses are as stressful as going for a job interview, and the competitive rental market drives stress. 6% of us exhibit competitive behaviour at house viewings. 4% of us are so determined to secure a property we fill out the letting agency’s paperwork in advance, with this figure rising to 7% in London. 3% of us admit trying to ‘butter up’ estate agents too.

We’re quick to pick up on details too. 29% of women and 27% of men say they’ve judged the owners of a house they were viewing due to their cleanliness. 16% of women have judged owners on their decorating choices.

It’s not just the property and surroundings that can scupper a property deal though. 1 in 5 of us would lose interest in a property because we didn’t like the owners, with men being 6% more likely to admit to this. 7% of us have made an offer on a property before leaving the viewing.  

15% of us admit to becoming ‘mildly obsessed’ with a property after viewing it, and women are twice as likely as men to admit to this. Around a quarter of us admit to looking at an online listing repeatedly after having viewed a property. 28% of women admit to doing this compared with 23% of men.


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