What’s Your Homebuying Personality—FOMO, YOLO—and How Is It Holding You Back?

When shopping for a home, your lifestyle and personality carry a lot of weight in your decision-making process.

If you’re outgoing, you might lean toward a house in a walkable neighborhood with a friendly vibe. On the flip side, if you covet peace over chit-chatting with neighbors, a home in the country might fit the bill.

Yet you just can’t pull the trigger when you find a house you like. Why? Your homebuyer personality type might be holding you back, thwarting your ability to take the plunge.

Don’t sweat if you can identify with one of the following homebuyer personality types. We asked a real estate agent and a therapist for advice on how to overcome these psychological traps preventing you from making an offer. Here’s what they had to say.

The FOMO buyer

The FOMO (fear of missing out) buyer is afraid if they make an offer, they’ll miss out on that amazing house that has yet to come on the market.

The problem? The perfect home might not exist, meaning the FOMO buyer might never make a move.

What the therapist says: If you identify with this scenario, it might help to focus on the hard facts about an available house rather than entertaining the endless loop of hypotheticals.

“Cognitive behavioral strategies can help manage the anxiety surrounding decision-making by challenging irrational beliefs about the need to find the perfect option,” says William Schroeder, counselor and co-owner of Just Mind Counseling in Austin, TX.

Schroeder recommends practicing mindfulness and journaling to help you stay in the moment and make decisions based on current needs—rather than future fears.

What the agent says: According to Jen Turano, a real estate agent at Compass in Greenwich, CT, a buyer with FOMO is quite common. She advises her FOMO clients to be happy with a home that checks most boxes so they won’t feel remorse if something else comes along.

Put this into practice by touring homes that meet your key needs as much as possible.

“Think about what the home you are pursuing is missing,” says Turano. If they are things you can accept if a deal is reached, make an offer.

The YOLO buyer

Are you eyeing homes that are aspirational and out of your financial reach? Do you think, hey, you only live once, so why not look at homes you can’t comfortably afford? That makes you the YOLO buyer.

What the therapist says: You can justify the YOLO philosophy when you treat yourself to the occasional pricey dinner or day at the spa. But a reality check might be in order if YOLO is your motto for buying a house.

Schroeder advises the YOLO buyer to dig deep to try to understand their emotional triggers—like self-esteem issues or societal pressures—behind overspending.

“Then they can employ goal-setting strategies to align financial behaviors with long-term well-being rather than short-term desires,” says Schroeder.

What the agent says: Before your home search begins, crunch the numbers to get a clear picture of what you can truly afford without sacrificing other aspects of your life.

“If a buyer keeps dreaming about a home they cannot afford, I tell them to think about what that home has that others within their budget don’t,” says Turano. “Can some of those things be replicated in homes within their budget via smart renovations or quick fixes?”

The market timer

The market timer is a smart person who studies and understands housing market fluctuations. And because of this, they think they can make the best financial deal—when the time is right.

What the therapist says: “I personally identify with this one most of all,” says Schroeder. “My suggestion would be to focus on accepting market unpredictability and the limits of personal control.”

Cognitive restructuring can help here, advises Schroeder. This technique involves replacing the stress-producing perfectionist beliefs and illusion that you have control of the market with a more balanced approach to risk and uncertainty.

What the agent says: Following housing market predictions is one way to grasp the market, but it’s impossible to predict the perfect time to pounce. Instead, hone your smart buying strategies to purchase an affordable home.

“Work with your real estate agent to get creative and weed out a good opportunity,” says Turano. “They do exist.”

For example, spring is historically a time when listings shoot up, but you could snag a house in a slower season when there’s less competition from other buyers. Consider expanding your search to include auctions or short sales, or see if you qualify for down payment assistance.

The wait-and-see buyer

Some homebuyers put off buying a house forever because they fear committing to such a significant life choice. This stops would-be buyers from building a nest egg for the future.

What the therapist says: A fear of commitment is often associated with relationships, but it can apply to any facet of life, including something we desperately want, like a new home. Take a deeper look into the roots of your fear of commitment and work on building decision-making confidence.

“Techniques might include gradual exposure to decision-making in less significant contexts, building up to more substantial commitments like buying a house,” says Schroeder. “Encouraging reflective practices can help buyers understand their values and priorities, making it easier to commit when the right option comes along.”

What the agent says: If you’re a wait-and-see buyer, work with a buyer’s agent who fully understands what you’re looking for and can guide you through the “what ifs.” Take the time to do your research, and look at homes that pique your interest.

John Smith
John Smith
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