The Lighter Side of Real Estate

Can you recognize real estate urban legends? Take the quiz and ask your associates – see who scores the most correct answers.

1. Burying a statuette of St. Joseph on the property will help speed the sale of a home.
2. Convicted burglars admitted to checking the obituaries as a way of knowing when grieving family members would be out of the home.
3. The “Cap and Trade Energy Bill” requires that all existing real estate must meet new energy standards before it can be sold.
4. A provision of President Obama’s healthcare reform legislation creates a 3.8% Medicare tax on all real estate transactions.

1. Maybe – All real estate agents have heard this legend; many people might know somebody who successfully used this trick. You can even buy a “Home Sales Kit” that claims to work. But there is no proof that this works.

2. True – most recently, a man was convicted of breaking into 30 Kansas City-area homes by reading through the real estate listings and obituary pages.

“It’s hard to imagine a more cruel and heartless burglary scheme than this one,” said a Prosecutor. “Picking out a home to break into because the owner is at a funeral reveals a complete lack of any conscience.” Dane Johnson was sentenced to 43 years in prison.

3. False – There is no federal requirement that a property owner must retrofit a home to any guideline at any time – let alone at the point of sale.

4. False, but not totally. Healthcare regulation does not require a tax on real estate sales, but does put a 3.8% tax on all profits over the capital gains threshold. So if a seller made money on their home, they might owe money.