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It’s tax season. At this time of year visions of W2 forms and big fat checks written to the IRS are dancing through most of our heads, and advertisers are counting on it. On Sunday, no less than four times during an NFL playoff that H&R Block ad ran about mistakes people make filing taxes (okay, maybe it was less than four times, but it sure seemed like more).

You know the one that I am talking about–kid’s mistakes have cute names like “oops” and “boo-boo” and adult mistakes (in the tax world) have scarey names like “fines” and “penalties”. As annoying as sitting through that commercial multiple times is, they have a point. Adult mistakes do have more ominous names, and not just tax mistakes.

House buying goofs can have similarly damaging consequences, and as the advertisement implies, it’s not that uncommon. Since we know that for most people (all people that I personally know and love) buying a house is the biggest investment they will ever make, it makes sense that it is done with a lot of care and planning. The fact of the matter is, however, that too many of us jump in head first and fail to do the research that is necessary to make educated decisions about the purchase as a whole.

So my point in this entry is this: do your homework! Do it, and do it well. There just isn’t a substitute for making well informed and well researched decisions when it comes to house buying.

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