NBE approaches to housing search places the consumer’s rights and ability to determine the outcome of their decision as a priority. The consumer is likely to struggle to gather enough information to make rational decisions about the location and search strategy. They will also have to maximise their outcome within bounded rationality, in particular emotional attachments, preventing an optimal outcome. OBE studies highlight the role of habits more than NBE, habits which are shaped by cultural norms as well as socially constructed emotions and social status, compounded by relationships within the decision-making process. These habits and culturally shaped affects will lead the consumer to inaccurate understandings of the benefits of particular characteristics or location of a property.
There exists a body of literature (as highlighted above) that has described the housing search processes from a broadly OBE perspective in various contexts across the globe over time. However, some of the information sources have changed over time and the growth in the amount of information available to households has increased significantly, particularly for households situated a remote distance from the geographical search area. Therefore, whilst previous models of behaviour provide a historic insight into housing search, new models are needed to describe and understand the contemporary patterns.
There is little evidence of the behaviour of households, and the variation between household types, across the different stages of the search process. Figure 3.3 summarises the areas where variation may occur in the search process across stages, building upon figure 3.2.