5 Home Buying Mistakes Scarier Than Friday the 13th

Superstitions are a funny thing. Who hasn’t felt a little concerned when walking under a ladder or after accidentally breaking a mirror? At Housefax, we actually like black cats (all cats!), but more than one of us refuses to open an umbrella indoors.

So it’s no surprise that even the non-superstitious among us are likely to feel a bit squeamish on Friday the 13th. According to behavioral scientist Jane Risen, just being aware of the cultural significance of the day (Friday the 13th = bad luck) can make people feel wary. In fact, some people avoid traveling, buying a home, or doing business as they normally would, says historian Donald Dossey, resulting in an estimated $800-$900 million loss in business every time Friday the 13th rolls around.

Ironically, there are things we do all year long that actually can result in “bad luck” no matter what day it is. When it comes to buying a home, there are many mistakes to be made that can turn the house hunting process into a nightmare. Here are five things that can bring home buyers bad luck.

Not having a mortgage pre-approval

A seller is unlikely to entertain an offer without a pre-approval. And in hot markets, that means you can kiss your chance at a promising property goodbye—there are plenty of other buyers with pre-approvals in hand In addition to improving your odds of making a winning offer, a pre-approval also lets you know exactly how much mortgage you qualify for, so that you won’t waste time looking at properties you can’t afford. (Source: Don’t Make These 10 Huge House-Hunting Mistakes, Realtor.com)

Not being realistic about the property

Watch an episode or two of “House Hunters” and you may get the idea that even the most dilapidated or dated property can be rehabbed into your dream home. But before you start mentally tearing down walls or rearranging the kitchen layout, consider that serious problems with a home’s flow or design could be a red flag, as well as a potential money pit. If you envision making big changes to a home, talk to a contractor about how much such work will cost before you agree to purchase the house. (Source: 7 Foolish Mistakes That People Make When House Hunting, Cheatsheet.com)

On the flip side, don’t get fixated on a wonderful fancy oven in the kitchen or some other very desirable factor and end up blinded to some meaningful drawbacks. Just $2,000 might get you that same stove in a better house. Have a list of features you must have and ones you would like to have. Don’t compromise on must-have features. Don’t plan to find a perfect house, because you will most likely just find a wonderful one that’s missing a few features you would have liked. Be sure to consider the neighborhood, too, and nearby schools and amenities. (Source: Homebuyer Mistakes: 7 to Avoid Making, Motley Fool)

Not moving quickly enough

When you find a property that may be “the one,” there are several things you’ll need to do very quickly so you don’t lose the deal. First, if it’s an existing home or condo, run a Housefax Report. The Housefax Report contains details about the home that you probably haven’t uncovered and it can help you gain confidence that the home is right for you. It also has area information such as nearby schools. If you decide to move forward, talk to your real estate agent about making an offer and be sure he/she understands the urgency. Once the offer is made, respond immediately to any requests the agent has. You can also check in with your lender at this time to make sure you have all the paperwork handy that they’ll need to complete your loan. (Source: How to Reduce House Hunting Stress, Housefax Blog)

Not understanding the market

A common first-time homebuyer mistake is to try and submit a lowball offer on their first deal. As a new buyer in the real estate market, you may feel as though you are entitled to a great deal. This is possible, but great deals do not usually happen unless you are buying a distressed property. No one gives anything away in real estate. (Source: How to Buy Your First House, GreatColoradoHomes.com)

Not being involved in the home inspection

Today’s home buyers understand the importance of a home inspection to uncover current or potential issues with a property that represent safety hazards or could be expensive to repair in the future. As a home buyer, it’s important to take an active role in choosing a qualified, experienced home inspector who will provide a thorough and impartial inspection. It’s also important to understand how the home inspection process works, and if there are any areas that the home inspector does not cover. Finally, you’ll need to work with your real estate agent and the seller’s agent to determine which inspection issues will be addressed and how (it’s usually not reasonable to expect the seller to fix every issue on the inspection report).

As a home buyer, you may find yourself “crossing your fingers” or “knocking on wood,” or avoiding signing any contracts on Friday the 13th. Who knows if these things help? One thing is for sure – buyers who are educated about the home buying process will have the best luck in finding their dream home.