Friday the 13th Special: Real Estate Superstitions

By Camille Salama, Zillow Blog Contributor

You may avoid walking under ladders, have never crossed paths with a black cat and have a lucky pair of socks, but have your superstitions affected your real estate decisions?

In honor of Friday the 13th, the most popular superstition in the world, we're taking a look at some of the irrational fears that can make buyers or renters take drastic measures to avoid potential misfortune.

Friday the 13th

Let's start with this unpopular day. It's a relatively common phobia as an estimated 17 to 21 million people are affected by fear of Friday the 13th, causing roughly $800 to $900 million lost in business as people refrain from traveling or buying a new home.

What is your take? Would you sign a mortgage on Friday the 13th or move into a new house?

That Unlucky Number

Many people's fear of Friday the 13th stems from fear of the number 13 itself. Considered to be the number of an occult power, fear of the number 13 is a common phobia. Many buildings don't include floors numbered 13 and some streets and house numbers simply skip over the ominous digits.

There are many things that might sway a decision about where to live and house numbers just may be one of the many superstitions that paralyze home buyers. Despite an age of online property research, and mortgage calculators, the number 13 could loom heavy over a prospective buyer.

According to research analyzed in the book "No. 13: Unlucky/Lucky for Some," one in 10 people who lived at number 13 believed their house number brought them bad luck. Taking it even a step further, researchers conducted a survey in which they asked real estate agents whether people were resistant to buying houses numbered 13. The results showed a whopping 40 percent of agents believed there was considerable resistance that resulted in sellers having to lower their prices.

Feng Shui for Homeowners

Some homeowners turn to the Chinese practice of feng shui to ward away misfortune. A popular method of boosting feng shui is to decorate your home with statues and images of elephants.

There are many applications of the use of elephants in feng shui depending on the material of the elephant and its placement in the home. Some of the more common applications are:

  • Placing a statue of an elephant, or a pair of elephants, at the front door brings good luck, protection and strength to the household.

  • An elephant or a pair of elephants displayed in the bedroom promotes love and faithfulness between two people.

Saint Joseph, Patron Saint of Real Estate

Those trying to sell a home often feel in need of some divine intervention and a widespread superstition about good old St. Joseph might has to do with real estate. The Catholic saint has long been believed to help with home-related matters and according to some, burying a statue of St. Joseph in the front yard of a home for sale will spur a quick bid. With hundreds of testimonials swearing by the real estate powers of St. Joseph, the practice has caught on; you can even purchase a St. Joseph "home sales kit" online.

Here are some suggestions on how to properly bury your statue:

  • Dig a hole near your "For Sale" sign by the street approximately 3 inches deeper than the statue. If you have no yard, use a large plant pot.

  • Place the St. Joseph statue facing the street in the hole.

  • When covering the statue, prayers should be said. They are very often included in the packaging.

  • Once you have sold your home, remove the statue and place it in your new home

Are we missing any other real estate superstitions?