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Buying a house? It's all in the feeling

If you're in the process of buying a home, have you ever thought about what factors contribute to your decision, beyond the purely practical?

In our recent survey of nearly 2,000 British homeowners, we found that over half the nation makes the decision to buy a home based on a feeling, with 51% of us saying the main emotional driver behind our purchase was that “it had to feel right”.

Our survey respondents also told us that they wanted a home where they could imagine spending time with friends/family (38%), and where they could imagine ‘making memories’ (32%).
Familiar feeling press release

But it isn’t just the opportunity to make new memories that is influencing us. The survey also revealed that a quarter (25%) of the nation felt that fond memories of childhood homes impacted their decision about what sort of property they wanted, and may want in the future.

In fact, our data revealed that a quarter of people had bought a home with a large kitchen because they had warm memories of baking with family at their childhood home, and 16% had bought a home with a garden thanks to sentimental recollections of playing in the garden at their childhood home.

We also saw a pattern between percentages, that suggested that we are essentially seeking to ‘recreate’ our childhood homes, as we buy our own homes:

• 29.4% of respondents grew up in a three or four bedroom detached property, and 30.9% lived in a property of this size now

• 8.5% of respondents grew up in a new build property, and 9.9% lived in a new property now

• 19.2% of respondents grew up in a property on an estate, and 21% now own a property on an estate

• 48% of respondents grew up with a dining room, and 49% now own a home with a dining room

• 35% of respondents grew up with a family room, and 35% now own a home with a family room
Familiar feeling press release

It appears that memory is affecting us significantly, as we make one of the biggest decisions in our lives.

Professor Martin A. Conway, from City, University of London has studied the human memory for over 32 years. Commenting on the power of memory in our choices he said:

“We do not know for sure whether emotional influences hold more power over practical when it comes to major decision making. But I would guess that given the practical requirements of a property met the buyer's needs, then the final choice to buy would rest on some sort of emotional response to the property; perhaps driven by childhood memories.”

When asked whether younger home buyers were more likely to be influenced by memories of childhood, Professor Conway added:

“This is an interesting question, and as far as I’m aware, we do not know the exact answer as the research has not been done. However, one hypothesis is that older adults would be more influenced by pragmatic aspects of a new house than their childhood memories.”

Someone who was certainly influenced by memories of childhood when making her purchasing decision was freelance fabric designer, Charlotte Krone. Charlotte loved her childhood home in Medbourne, Leicestershire so much that when her mum decided to move, she bought the house from her and made it her own.

“When I was 13, my mum’s relationship with her partner came to an end. Mum wanted to make house-hunting fun and for us, so we could find a place we liked together. I remember she took me to two houses; a big 3/4 bed property and this other one – a cosy, period cottage. It was so much smaller but I knew it was the one for us” said Charlotte.

“It’s great having so many memories around me in this house, but I love that we’re making it our own.”
Familiar feeling press release

We asked Redrow homeowners about what had inspired their property purchase:

My parents worked hard to achieve the wonderful property they own. I have lovely memories of home cooking, baking and family events such as fantastic Christmases with games and lovely drinks – Sally from Yorkshire

As a child I had many great days playing in the garden so I realised the importance of having an outside space. I live in a maisonette so I don't have the same type of place as my parents, but I would like to eventually, as I think a house should have lots of space to have family around – Peter from Surrey

As a child I remember having fun playing in the garden. I liked that there was a lot of space. I recall going to friends’ houses and some felt small and cluttered. I think my childhood memories have influenced the house I have bought. – James from North Wales

Share photos of your home with us using the hashtag #bettermemories.