08.30.2023 Buying Tips

How Property Buyers Can Overcome FOMM: A Fear Of Making A Mistake

How Property Buyers Can Overcome FOMM: A Fear Of Making A Mistake

‘Fear of making a mistake’ (FOMM) can hold you back from securing the perfect home.

We show you how to overcome it.

In 2021, we had FOMO (‘fear of missing out’), quickly followed by FOPO (‘fear of paying over’). Now, in 2023, we’re hearing a lot about FOMM, or ‘fear of making a mistake’, holding buyers back from their dream home.

This kind of analysis paralysis isn’t new. In fact, both FOMO and FOPO are simply different types of FOMM. But, with interest rates at highs and economic uncertainty in the headlines, it’s reaching brand-new heights.

If FOMM overcomes you, don’t worry. We show you how to conquer it once and for all.

What mistakes are property buyers afraid to make?

There are many fears buyers have when it comes to buying a home. In fact, one US survey from 2021 found that people were more afraid of purchasing a home than filing a tax return (82%), having a tooth pulled out (78%), or overcoming a fear of heights (75%).

Many people worry about paying too much and potentially losing money or not being able to afford their mortgage, given rising interest rates. Others lose sleep over buying a house with major defects, settling in the wrong location, or not finding a home that ticks every single one of their boxes.

Some buyers fear jumping in too early and hold out for more properties to come onto the market in the belief an even better option will appear. Others get put off by wider market conditions or economic uncertainty and fear a property market crash.

Some buyers really dislike the process of buying property and don’t like dealing with real estate agents or get worried about the public nature of auctions (we recommend using a buyer’s agent if this applies to you).

Why are we talking about FOMM right now?

A lot of the FOMM we’re seeing right now comes down to two key factors:

If this sounds like you, here’s how to overcome your fears.

1. Prioritise your search criteria and keep track of the market

Every property search is about prioritising. Make a list of what’s essential in your next property vs what’s simply nice to have. Also, work out what you can change vs what you can’t.

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For example, a north-facing garden or location in a school catchment area is something you probably can’t change, so if you’re prioritising these, they should be among your essentials. However, adding another bedroom or bathroom, altering a layout, or improving parking with a renovation may be something you can change over time.
You should also be sure to visit properties for sale in person (not just online) and do your research on past sold prices for your area (not just price guides), so you can keep up to date with market trends and what properties are actually selling for.

2. Keep track of your goals and assemble your team of experts

What’s your goal in buying property? Are you looking for a forever home to raise the family in, a change of lifestyle, a financial investment to build wealth, or a first step on the property ladder? Whatever the purpose of your purchase, it pays to have a game plan.

It can also often help to have expert advice. Find a good mortgage broker or lender and make sure you have pre-approved for your finance before you go too far into your search.

Work out which real estate agents you can build a good working relationship with, and don’t be afraid to let them know you’re serious, as they may have access to off-market properties. Ensure you have a good solicitor or conveyancer on hand to go over the contract of sale, and never skip the building and pest inspection.

And, if you’re finding the whole thing too time-consuming or overwhelming, engage a buyer’s agent to assist you with the process of buying.

3. Remain confident and be decisive

FOMM often drives people to inaction. There are so many almost-perfect properties, but never the perfect one (we’d argue that the perfect property probably doesn’t exist; everyone needs to compromise on something).

Coupled with imperfect market conditions (is it ever really possible to “time the market?”), and other fears and concerns, it can seem simpler not to act. However, inaction leads to an opportunity cost: the longer you leave it to make a property move, typically, the more the market will move on. What you might be able to afford today, you may not be able to afford tomorrow. This can be especially true for first-home buyers in a rising market, as they don’t have significant equity to leverage into their next homes.

In short, the value of quality Sydney property tends to rise in the long-term. So, even if there are short-term blips, you’re likely to still come out ahead over time.

Want more?

Don’t let FOMM get in the way of your next property move. If you’re interested in finding out more about how we can help you in the Eastern Suburbs property market, get in touch.