Don't let urgency overtake the important decisions needed for a solid home purchase.

29 April 2024

How to avoid FOMO in your house search

When you’re looking at purchasing a new home, whether it’s for a job, a big life event like getting married or retiring, a new baby, more (or less) space, or even to finally create a space of your own, it’s a process. And sometimes, the market makes that process extra intense with higher prices, quick-moving listings, and a short supply on the market.

No matter what the housing market is like when you find a house that feels like it may be “the one,” there’s often that little corner of your brain that starts to go into hyperdrive.

You like it. It’s got most of your boxes ticked. It seems like a great option. Combine that desire to secure something you like with a very reasonable wish to be done trekking through strange homes and opening your hundredth closet door, and it’s the perfect recipe for FOMO driving the process.

This can be risky because FOMO urgency and careful decision-making that involves crunching numbers, negotiating options, and checking on inspections usually don’t mix well.

You don’t want a fear of missing out on a house to stick you in a situation that’s less than great in the long run. But how do you fight that urge off long enough to work your way through and still be optimistic that you’ll end up somewhere you’re happy?

Tips for Fighting FOMO When You Find a House You Love

1) Don’t just dive in - Reach out to your financial advisor first so that they help lay out the plan. Here are some things you could cover with them:

  • Your down payment plan
  • Recommendations for brokers, agents, or other pros
  • Your monthly budget for savings goals and debt reduction
  • How much house budget should you look for based on today’s interest rates and down payment

You want to know that stuff before meeting with a realtor because once you look at houses, there’s a lot that can push you to bump those numbers. You want to have clear lines that keep you anchored. You can still be flexible, but it helps make sure you don’t take it too far. It also saves you time, since your criteria are a lot more specific.

(A great tool to get ready for this conversation is a Wendy of Selling Later’s list of “Real estate terms that you need to know before you buy or sell.”)

2) Be willing to play and explore - Know what you HAVE to have, from numbers like mortgage limits, to an in-home office, or walkability to specific area of town, then use that to look at a variety of options. You may be able to stretch your original search radius or shift a few “wants” on your home feature list. Getting curious about the options helps you look at paths you may not have initially seen, you remove a false sense of scarcity, and you have a better chance landing a great property.

This is where WillowFinch can help you find a home and avoid FOMO driving the process. Our tools allow you to narrow in on what matters most for you, while exploring the other pieces of the puzzle. Here are the three scenarios you could start your house buying search with on WillowFinch right now:

  • Compare properties in up to three cities.
  • Create a list of available properties within “X” miles of your hometown (or other important homebase).
  • Find the best houses that fit a desired lifestyle, like access to fast broadband, nearby beaches or hiking trails, a historic college town, great schools, and more.

Sound helpful? Talk to your financial planner in step one and they can set up your searches on WillowFinch. Or reach out to us and we’ll make sure you have what you need! [LINK- contact info]

3) Know that there’s no such thing as perfect - Even if you’re in love and it’s painful to walk away or lose out on a house, you can’t let it take over your search. House buying is and should be a very personal process, but building in the rational part of the decision-making complements and supports the emotional part. Remind yourself:

”Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.”

When you remember there is no perfect, the impossible quest for perfection (and fear of missing out on it) isn’t able to drive impulsive decisions. You want to love where you end up, but know:

  • There would still be things that you need to fix, no matter what. (And when it seems too good to be true and everything is 100% perfect, it may be worth looking more closely. Flips and styled homes can be hard to pass up, but they can cost you more in the long run.)
  • Keep your head up. When you know where you’re looking and what you’re looking for, you can keep an eye out for the next great fit. You never know what’s hitting the market tomorrow!
  • Perfect is always relative and you don’t want to be attached to a house that’s unmanageable, especially if things change for your family, your work, your goals, or the world in general.

What do you think? Has FOMO popped up in your planning or search so far? Make sure to talk with your financial planner about using WillowFinch to help find the best houses for you, while keeping your options flexible and the numbers clear. Or get in touch with us directly!

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