Why We Need An Experimental Approach To House Buying

I’m currently trying to buy a flat in London. For those of you that have also experienced this process, you’ll know it’s challenging!

Like so many others, I began my search with high expectations but, unfortunately, reality has gradually reduced these over the past few months and now I have begun to reach an equilibrium between my expectations and my budget.

Now, I have discovered another issue. Buying a house is a complex decision, made within an adaptive system, with a significant number of unknown unknowns. How do you actually make a decision to purchase?

As a product manager I face similarly complex decisions in adaptive systems regularly. In these situations my preferred approach would be to probe the system using safe-to-fail experiments against the biggest risks or assumptions to get a better understanding of how the system would react to my inputs. However, this approach is not so easily applied to property purchasing decisions.

So I’m advocating for a new approach. We should be able to live in the property we plan to purchase for a few days, maybe a week, to test the unknowns that put our purchase at risk.

The car industry has been doing this for years to allow prospective buyers to test how a new car would fit into their lives. A quick Google search suggests BMW, Mini, Mercedes and Seat will all give over 24 hours for you to try their products.

So why couldn’t we do the same with houses? Then we may all be able to make more informed decisions after testing one of the biggest purchases we make in our lives, in real-world conditions.

In the absence of this… wish me luck!