Your Property Fears Revealed - September 2022
September 19, 2022 / Written by Rich Harvey
Acronyms seem to have become our second language. Whether it’s corporate Australia or texting teens, people across the nation ask, “Why use words when a few letters will do?”
They’re everywhere. From CEO to COO, ATM to MIA, LOL to LMFAO, we seem to enjoy keeping it brief while making a statement.
And the property demographic world is on board too. We’ve been introduced to DINKs (Double Income No Kids), SKIs (Spending the Kids’ Inheritance) and even Bernard Salt’s pandemic inspired VESPAs (Virus Escapees Seeking Provincial Australia).
But arguably, the most persistent of the acronymic cohort is related to buyer sentiment and falls under the “Fear Of…” category. Real estate is very much a confidence game. Purchasers may rely on hard data when making decisions, but there’s no denying the pinch-point of action is about overcoming their anxieties.
This has spawned a range of four-letter brevities. A handy little mix of letters that say so much while taking up little space.
Among the most common in 2021 was FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out. Buyers who had been sitting on the sidelines saw property prices rocketing up and this prompted them into drastic action. The groundswell of demand was fuelled by a feeling that if they didn’t buy soon, the same property would be well beyond their budget in the not-too-distant future. Of course, this became a self-fulfilling prophecy. Purchasers started paying well above the odds and set price records.
But FOMO has spawned a raft of new four-letter descriptors too. Here’s my handy guide on the “Fear Of” acronyms.
FOOP – Fear of Overpaying
No, this is not the sound a low-flying albatross makes. FOOP has followed FOMO as we headed into 2022 and beyond. Quickly rising interest rates were the catalyst that finally stopped desperate buyers in their tracks. FOOP has now translated into softening prices and less transactions.
FOBN – Fear of Buying Now
FOBN strikes dread into the hearts of purchasers who don’t want to purchase at today’s price if tomorrow’s will be cheaper.
In many cases these buyers are finance approved and ready to go. They’ve perhaps even unearthed a great home and thought about putting in a competitive offer… but they just can’t sign on the dotted line.
They ask, “What about interest rates, world conflict, trade wars, inflation… ?” They convince themselves prices will fall further and, as a result, they don’t proceed at all. And then regret not taking action sometime later when the market has turned up again.
FOMM – Fear of Making Mistakes
FOMMers are dealing with an internal conflict that has them doubting their own abilities to make the right decisions. They don’t want to take any definitive step towards a purchase or a sale, frightened they’ll step on a fiscal landmine and blow up their financial security. They think it safer to stick with the status quo (which is often – and ironically – not the best decision).
FOUR – Fear of Under Renting
This number acronym is particular to landlords. They’re watching skyrocketing rent rises across the nation and convince themselves they aren’t earning enough income from their own asset. They might decide to increase rents by an unreasonable level at renewal or relisting. As such, FOURers are at risk of losing a great tenant or having their property sit vacant for an extended period.
FOFR – Fear of Forever Renting
This one’s a common affliction among the younger set who have been pummelled by rising house prices, particularly since late 2020. This group of potential buyers had been watching values run away from them as their saved deposits became progressively less substantial as a percentage of purchase price. They are now in fear of being forever at the mercy of the rental market. There are ways to break past this situation, but they often require professional property guidance.
FOBR – Fear of Buyer’s Remorse
This is a strange one in these current times. This is a buyer who would be prepared to sign on the dotted line but can’t face the idea that they may not love the property (or the contract terms and price) as much in the future. It’s the equivalent of avoiding all family celebrations because you can’t stand having a hangover. Instead, these buyers need to enjoy the acquisition and embrace property ownership.
FOBA – Fear of Buyer’s Advocates
Well… we’re a pretty scary bunch! But seriously, people with FOBA avoid engaging with a buyer’s advocate (BA) for a variety of reasons. They may be worried the BA is going to think their lack of knowledge is foolish (which, clearly, we won’t). Using a BA for your transactions is a savvy decision that should be respected.
Some buyers might also be scared their BA will be unscrupulous and not operate in their best interests. Of course, there are ways to avoid these types of operators. For starters, use a BA who is a member of the REBBA (Real Estate Buyers Agents Association of Australia) and has a long track record of success.
FOSA – Fear of Selling Agents
This is a more likely scenario when it comes to fear of property professionals because good selling agents are laser focused on one thing – getting the best possible outcome for their seller. They are on the opposing side of buying negotiations. Many people fear the negotiation process or trying to decipher if the agent is actually telling the truth when they say they have another offer. Their cure is outsourcing your deal-making to a reliable and trustworthy buyer’s advocate.
FOIR – Fear of Interest Rates
This fear runs through our collective national psyche. We hang out for the first Tuesday of each month to see if our monthly repayments are on the way up yet again. FOIR put a dramatic halt to rising property market prices back in May this year. The upside is that once rate increases cease and we become accustomed to the new, but still historically low, cash rate, many of these frightened buyers will get active again.
FOOA – Fear Of Over Analysing
FOOA recognises that you are afflicted by analysis paralysis. Essentially, buyers run their numbers beyond the point of reasonableness. They start to overanalyse everything and then become unable to act, convinced there is always just one more datapoint worth checking. FOOA sufferers seem to know they’re in this infinite loop but still can’t break free.
“Fear Of” acronyms are an easy way to spot what’s stopping you from moving towards purchasing a home or investment. Fortunately, most can be cured by a dose of professional assistance. A buyer’s advocate can help you get past the apprehension by taking on the heavy lifting in your property hunt. They provide unemotional, clear-headed guidance on how to proceed, and can represent your interests in high-stress situations.
Call one of or BAs now to be clear of your fears.
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