The Market

Psyching yourself into a new apartment

By Margot Slade  | March 4, 2011 - 9:46AM

BrickUnderground has written a lot about the sorts of questions to ask before buying or selling an apartment. (See our Buyer's and Seller's Survival Kits.)  But we hadn't yet recommended checking in with your subconscious, which consumer psychologist Philip Graves, author of a newish psyche-out book called `Consumer.ology,’ thinks would be a grave oversight.

Here's what he said when we asked him to plumb the subconscious motivations of apartment buyers and sellers: 


  • Chances are if you like a place—or don’t—it’s because your brain associates it with a home in your past. That’s a good reason to trust your gut and either walk away (if it's a negative association) or make an offer. 
  • That said, if you’re short on money and/or your options are limited, ignore your emotions: Focus more on your conscious needs and whether the apartment can meet them rather than how the place makes you feel.
  • Mentally check whether what you like is basic to the property (high ceilings, for example) or a temporary influence on your judgment, such as a pleasant smell. 


  • Reduce clutter. Even packrats and slobs don’t like to be reminded of how much stuff they own and prefer to imagine an uncluttered life.
  • Streamlining your decor also cuts down on the potential triggers for negative subconscious associations. 
  • Play to the fact that women will likely focus on services and amenities (especially if they have kids), while men often see homes as status symbols.                                                                             

Related posts:

A few things every buyer should know

7 questions buyers should ask

How to analyze a rendering

What not to tell your broker when you're selling

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