Buying a new house is a dream for most of us. There can be many reasons behind it, but the 2 most prominent reasons to buy a house are “To Reside” or “To Invest”. While the objective of Buying a house can be easily decided but finding the right house is a pain. There are so many factors that influence the buying decision like emotions, finance, locality, and many more.
Working as a Product Manager not only helps you to make decisions in your work but also changes your thought process, which helps to make decisions in your personal life as well. I will be sharing my journey of House Hunting in Bangalore and how my Product Management skills helped to make a data-driven decision.
Before I begin, let me share about The Buyer’s Journey Stages. Below are the stages of any Buyers, if you are buying a mobile phone or a toothpaste, it remains the same for most of it.
Last year, the same time before COVID impacted us, we started our journey of house hunting in Bangalore, India. We have moved from the Awareness and Interest Stage to Consideration. Our Objective in buying a House was “To reside”
We started exploring a couple of properties, a few of them we really liked and others we didn’t. After spending a few days we visited 10+ properties (those who have already gone through this phase understand how painful it is, be it buying a house or renting one). We were totally confused about what should be done.
I collated all the brochures, took a blank sheet, and started putting the PROS and CONS for all the properties. I thought this might help me to filter some properties but it was all subjective leading to no outcome.
Next, I called my friends and family to take feedback and opinion but I was still not sure what should be finalized.
Finally, I thought of taking a more data-centric approach. I thought of applying the Decision Matrix that I use in prioritizing features/stories in my Product Management role. To my surprise, it was a charm and really helped me in finalizing the property.
What is the Decision Matrix?
A decision matrix is a decision-making tool that evaluates various options and prioritizes them based on certain parameters/factors. The objective is to score each option based on the parameters that will eventually help in making the decision. Here’s how to create a decision matrix step by step:
List the options you have
Identify parameters/factors that you want to consider
Give weightage to the factors
Give a score to each option
Calculate the final score
The highest score turns out to be the most important
Let’s start applying the Decision matrix to Buying a house
1. This is the list of properties, among which I intend to finalize
Let’s consider the factors that are involved in buying a house. For me, these were the factors involved
The locality of the House — Which part of the city is the house located in, is it in an area like Whitefield, Indiranagar, or Electronic City. Does it have a nearby hospital, or school?
Transportation Option — Metro availability, Public Transport?
Floor Rise — Is the apartment high rise? How many floors does the apartment have?
Area of the House — 2/3/4 BHK or Total sq ft area of the House.
Budget — The cost of the house
Builder Reputation — Is it an A-class builder like Sobha, Prestige or a B-class builder like Candeur
Distance from Office — How far is it from the office space?
Early Possession — Is it ready to move in or still in construction?
The layout of House/Vastu — Is the property Vastu compliant, does it has a utility space, or how many balconies?
3. Give Weightage to the factors
I have given the weightage on a scale of 1–5, where 5 means, the factor is highly important like “Budget” or 1 means least important.
(Please note — This weightage completely varies from person to person. A factor can be very important for one person but can be least important for another)
These are the weights that I have given to my factors.
4. Give a score to each Property
Here comes the most important part. Based on your experience, input the scores across each property based on the factor.
For example — Let me pick the option for “Durga Petal”. This is a property that is based in OuterRing Road, Mahadevpura, Bangalore. Here are my scores that were given to the property.
Here is what the final table looks like with scores for all the properties
5. Calculate the Final score
Once all the scores are in place, let excel do its work. We simply have to Sum the Product of Factors and Weightage.
6. Finalize the property
Based on the Decision Matrix, these are final scores arranged from highest to lowest.
“Salarpuria Credenza” came out to be a clear winner and we really liked the property.
Note — If there are multiple owners, the ideal way would be to do the same for Owner 2 and do the average of both scores from respective owners. The main reason behind this is that weightage of factors might vary from owner to owner. If Floor rise is important for Owner1, this might not be of much value for Owner2.
Can we really use the above framework or tool to take such a big decision? Why not, if we can use the Decision matrix in work to finalize Vendors or build on a new feature/product, we can definitely use this to make personal decisions.
Let’s look at the PROS and CONS of using the Decision Matrix
Helps in removing bias and take the decision.
Multiple stakeholders can be involved
Incorporates the factors and respective weightage
Does not incorporate uncertainty or dependency
Does not factor in emotional need
The most important factor that is missing in this entire scenario is the emotional angle. Buying a house is still driven by emotional needs rather than rational needs. But this is something that really helped us to remove the bias (personal inclination) and finalize the decision very soon.
But in the end, Did we really buy the property that came out at the 1st position? What do you think?