From Which Lens Do You Buy a Home From?

Are You Promotion or Prevention Focused?

It makes a difference in how you buy and sell homes. In their book Focus, authors and psychology professors, Heidi Grant Halvorson and E. Tory Higgins, talk about “two different and distinct sets of lenses we use to see the world,” People apply these approaches to motivate and direct their lives. According to the authors, our thought process and actions originate from one of the following for making a decision:

  1. A Promotion focus, or
  2. A Prevention focus.

Promotion focused people look for gains, the benefits they get from their actions. Prevention-focused people are cautious and motivated by preventing losses and minimizing errors. Neither approach is wrong as both in many cases lead to obtaining the same goal.

So what does this have to do with buying real estate?

Promotion-focused people, as it turns out, tend to buy a home based on how they feel--the vibes they get from the home. In other words, they tend to listen to their heart more than their head. They use phrases like: this home just feels right; I was at home from the minute I walked in; it’s so comfortable and cozy, I love it.” Promotion-focused people see the positives more than negatives, the gains more than the potential losses. They tend to rely more on their “subjective experience”. Besides comfort, promotion-focused people can also look for other positives like luxury.

Prevention-focused people, on the other hand, tend to use more logic and reason in their home purchase. In other words, they tend to listen to their head more than their heart. They don’t want to make a mistake that might turn into a loss. They use phrases like: the square footage of this home works for us; updates on the furnace and air will serve us for some time; this home suits our budget. For them, the home must meet a “certain set of objective criteria” and, as a result, they are much more methodical. “They think feelings are not a sound basis for a good decision.” Because they want to avoid negatives, prevention focused people “seek safety, security and reliability.

Are Promotion-Focused People Naïve?

As a matter of fact, not at all. They can be quite sensitive to potential problems, provided the problems are obvious or pointed out to them. Because making a good buying decision requires both points of view, a prevention focus from their REALTOR® would prove helpful in making a good buying decision.

Are Prevention-Focused People too Objective?

When it comes to home-buying, though most of us focus on both promotion and prevention, our dominant motivational focus guides us in our decisions. Prevention-focused people have feeling too; they just don’t want to be influenced by them and do a thorough due diligence.

Can Focus be Situation Specific? Without question, we can be prevention focused when buying a home and promotion focused when selling. Some have the ability to see from both lenses.

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