PHOTO: Brisbane’s auction market isn’t at the same level of maturity as that of Sydney or Melbourne’s. Photo: Glenn Hunt.

As the Sydney market slows down and Melbourne comes off the boil, house hunters are finding themselves on a more level playing field.

But with more stock coming onto the market and the investor ranks thinning, buyers are no longer forced to the very top of their budget.

Several experts have reported a “fear of overpaying” (or FOOP) replacing the fear of missing out. So how can a buyer avoid paying too much for a home in a cooling market?