The social science behind that "perfect property": Secret Agent

Purchasing a home can be a difficult task – especially if you’re after that perfect property that’s just right, though you cannot necessarily put a finger on that particular element which makes it so.

Buyers advocate Secret Agent’s recent report delves into the social science behind that “quirk” property buyers are after – that chill down the spine that leaves you thinking about the perfect property you are after.

The report quotes American sociobiologist and author Edward O Wilson, whose research showed that “the brain is most aroused by patterns in which there is about a 20 per cent redundancy in elements or, put roughly, the amount of complexity put in a single maze”.

Wilson notes that this amount of complexity is the most the brain can process in with one look, just as seven is the highest number of objects that can be counted at a single glance.

For instance, when purchasing a new sofa, its linear design may be appealing because of the slightly flawed texture of its wool fabric, which provides the 20 per cent redundancy Wilson refers to.

Wilson also addresses in his research why people might choose a certain place to live.

"Studies have shown that given freedom to choose the setting of their homes or offices, people across cultures gravitate toward an environment that combines three features, intuitively understood by landscape architects and real estate entrepreneurs. They want to be on a height looking down, they prefer open savanna-like terrain with scattered trees and copses, and they want to be close to a body of water, such as a river, lake, or ocean. Even if all these elements are purely aesthetic and not functional, homebuyers will pay any affordable price to have such a view. People, in other words, prefer to live in those environments in which our species evolved over millions of years in Africa. Instinctively, they gravitate toward savanna forest (parkland) and transitional forest, looking out safely over a distance toward reliable sources of food and water. This is by no means an odd connection, if considered as a biological phenomenon. All mobile animal species are guided by instincts that lead them to habitats in which they have a maximum chance for survival and reproduction."

His research suggests that biologically, humans are prone to making certain choices and strive to certain ideals.

What other factors are involved when searching for a space to live or work?

Secret Agent draws upon Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (1943) for further explanation. Maslow’s idea was that once our basic needs, such as food, water, and shelter are met, humankind moves onto satisfying more complex needs.

Perhaps the “perfect property” buyers have in mind is a mixture of their needs, desires, and ambitions aligned.


Source: Secret Agent 

Trends also play a huge part in attracting people to properties. Australia ranks third on Google Trends’ list of searchers of the term “home styling”, while Victoria tops the country when searching for home stylists or styling tips.

Vendors and agents therefore spend time and money on creating that “magic” space which buyers want to get into.

There is a business in creating that feeling where a property takes your breath away.

For instance, The Design Files is a website that showcases homes and homewares from all over Australia, as well as art, retail, craft, and food. With help from sponsors, the team put together an event where they styled an entire Melbourne home that’s open to the public – and everything was for sale.

The concept was conceived to allow the consumer to feel a connection to objects in context, removing that barrier if one were to simply look at an image of a product online.

The event proved to be a success and the team will be headed to Sydney next year to execute a similar event.

The report concluded that while that magic “quirk” cannot necessarily be defined, it is definitely up to the individual to find out what that 20% “redundancy” means for them to feel comfortable, and therefore develop that balance of need, want, and ambition for that “perfect space”.

Diane Leow

Diane Leow

Diane has spent her entire career in the world of digital. She is passionate about delivering the best content to a world that is becoming increasingly jaded by the news. She also believes in the importance of great journalism and how it can change the world. Oh, she also drinks a lot of coffee.

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