Saturday, August 2, 2014

I’m sitting here at the moment, in awe.  I am so blessed.  I am so grateful.

Why?

I had a problem.

My only protection against total panic is faith.  I have faith in the abundance of the universe, and that I do get a piece of that abundance.  I have faith in the inherent goodness of my fellow humans.  I have faith in God.  I believe that I am supported and protected.  Lately I’ve been holding onto this faith desperately.

I just got 2 phone calls.  My problem is solved.  Two different humans just did something incredible.  They didn’t have to and I wouldn’t have thought twice if they hadn’t.  But guess what?  They did.

BAM!  Do you get it yet, Carol?  This is the third time in six months that this has happened, under exactly the same circumstances.  
Do you get it? 

DO YOU GET IT?

Yes.  Yes, I do.  I might feel like a piece of driftwood tossed about on the ocean, but I have to remember that that very ocean is supporting me, and taking me where I need to be.

Thank you.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

2014 New Year's resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions.  Sigh.  They’re a recipe for failure, right?  I’m going to lose that last 10 pounds again, I’m going to clean up my sailor’s mouth, I’m going to stop spending discretionary money.  Uh-huh.  Yeah – watch me go.

So I decided to come up with some REALTOR® New Year’s Resolutions.  Count how many of them you already do consistently and pat yourself on the back, and then pick a new one or three.  Stick with it and see what happens.

In 2014:

  • I will refuse to have a business relationship with people that I dislike. 
  • I will return every phone call or email or text message within a reasonable time, but certainly no longer than 4 hours from when I got it unless it came in in the middle of the night.
  • I will either delete or put every email in its appropriate email folder immediately instead of cleaning up my inbox at the end of the year and dealing with over 3000+ messages.  Sheesh!  Every freakin’ year I have to do this.
  • I will release a grudge.  (Hey, Robert!  Nice to see you the other day!)
  • I will slow down, and not always feel and sound rushed.  Taking that extra 30 seconds is not going to kill anybody.
  • I will refer customers that cause me discomfort or waste too much time.
  • Every time I pick up the phone (whether to make a call or to answer one) I will smile.  That smile adjusts my attitude and comes through in my voice and people respond well to it.
  • I will schedule and insist on a sufficient amount of time to do my job well.  I will not cut corners or compromise on the details.
  • I will get competent with a new piece of technology. 
  • …and then another.
  • Every day, I will make at least one “How ya doin’?” phone call.
  • Every day, I will go that extra step above and beyond.   
  • I will look over my listings in MLS once a week.
  • I will patrol my signs regularly, especially and always after a big wind.
  • I will choose marinara over Alfredo. 
  • I will remember to look for the humor.  To laugh.  To make somebody else laugh.
  • I will choose to be gentle instead of ripping somebody’s face off. 
  • I will make kindness a habit.
  • I will be thorough, as opposed to winging it.
  • I will really pay attention to somebody instead of multi-tasking while they talk to me. 
  • I will do something fun every day.
  • I will do something important every day.
  • I will double-check my facts.
  • I will get comfortable with saying, “I don’t know.”
  • I will adjust my actions to fit my priorities.
  • I will make a to-do list every day.
  • I will give myself permission to say “#%@* the do-to list!”
  • I will do something every day that I never did before. 
  • I will do something every day that’s good for me but that I really don’t much want to do.
  • I will do something every day that scares me.
  • When I’m wrong; I will promptly say so. 
  • I will write apologies for my mistakes.
  • I will unsubscribe.
  • When I call someone and they tell me that they’re in the bathroom but they really want to talk to me I shall insist that we text.
  • I will do something that I really do want to do but never bother to make time for.
  • I will take a nap. 
  • Or a walk. 
  • Or a class.
  • I will volunteer for a worthy organization or cause.
  • I will count my blessings every morning or every night, or both.
  • I will acknowledge every good thing that happens.



Most of these really aren’t directly related to the business of real estate.  They’re more about taking care of ourselves than about taking care of our clients.  That’s the dichotomy of good business.  If you recharge your personal batteries then you’ll have the time and energy to take care of business.  You’ll see.  It works.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Amber Alert

Today is National Missing Children’s Day.  I learned some things that I want to pass on to every single person in the world.  Since here I have a venue I’m saying it. 

Y’all know that I volunteer for Trauma Intervention Programs, (TIP).  I spent last Thursday being horrified and, interestingly, getting traumatized in my TIP capacity.  TIP has liasoned with YCART, which means Yavapai Child Abduction Response Team.  This is the Amber Alert program, which mobilizes whenever a child goes missing.  This training day was aimed at all of us First Responders.  It consisted of horrible statistics and stories.

That’s where this piece comes in, with the one thing (No – 2, well, actually, 3 things) that I want everyone to know to do.  Please forward this to everybody.  I and they will appreciate it, and you might save a kid’s life by doing so.

Here’s a scenario:
I have a 3-year-old granddaughter that I often baby-sit.  If I ask and explain and bribe her nicely, she is capable of entertaining herself for 15 or 20 minutes while I get some work done. 

So let’s say that one day we’ve come to an agreement and I’m happily banging away on the computer while she plays with whatever I’ve bribed her with.  

Suddenly I realize that the room is suspiciously quiet.  I look around and don’t see her.

I call her name.  No answer.  I yell her name, using The Serious Voice.  No answer.  Now I know there’s a problem because all of the children are hard-wired to know that The Voice means no foolin’.

I run around the house, looking around corners and under beds and in the covers.  No luck.  I am now terrified.  She just turned 3, I’m responsible for her, and I don’t know where she is.

This calling and yelling and the cursory run-through the house has taken about 2 minutes. 

The next second is critical.  The next choice that I make may mean the difference between a joyful reunion and a tragedy. 

Statistically, people in this situation make another very thorough search of the house and then go outside and look around the yard for a while and then run up and down the street and then search the house again and then go next door and roust the neighbors to help.  This is a mistake, and it’s the mistake that I don’t want anybody to make ever again.

During that first 2 minutes, the second that I realize that I honestly do not know where my granddaughter is, that is the moment that I will call 911.  This is now a deadly serious situation, and time is not on my side.  I have one chance, right here, to do the smart thing.  I will call 911 and I will do it now.  I can never go back and do this second over again and I swear I will handle it correctly.

The heartbreaking statistic is that 60% of caregivers waste over 2 hours looking on their own before they make the 911 call.  The even bigger heartbreaker is that 76% of children that are murdered are killed within 3 hours of their disappearance.  Every minute that a child is gone, their chances for survival go down.  Need I say more?

The Amber Alert system nationwide is incredible, and our local CART has not only gotten on the bandwagon, they’ve created a lot of it.  Within 5 minutes of me making the 911 call I will have a team of highly trained and organized professionals systematically looking for my granddaughter.  (Actually, since I live in Jerome, it will be more like 30 seconds from me making the call, since no place is more than 30 seconds away by lit up police car.)  This is way better than just me, or just me and then the neighbors, yes?

I asked “How many people will show up?”  “Within 5 minutes, 5.  Within 20 minutes, 30.  Within 3 hours, 140.”  Whoa!  
Guess who is looking for my granddaughter?  The CART team consists of local cops and firemen, Yavapai & Coconino & Maricopa Sheriffs, The Marshalls, FBI, Homeland Security, National Guard, Air Force Reserves, Birds with FLIR (helicopters with infrared sensors), PJs (Trauma surgeons), Search & Rescue, Probation & Parole personnel, and anybody else with credentials that shows up, and they do show up.

When they said “5 minutes” during the training I snorted.  I raised my hand and said “Um, response time in the Verde Valley averages 10 to 15 minutes.”  They said “Not for a missing kid.  Even if we were in the middle of investigating a murder, if we heard the Amber tone we would drop everything and run.  Amber Alerts are absolute highest priority, bar none.  On duty, off duty, full-time people, part-time people, trainees, it doesn’t matter.  If an Amber tone goes out everybody scrambles.  If at all humanly possible we will have people on scene within 5 minutes.  No exceptions, no excuses.” 

Within minutes of my call, helicopters will be in the sky, dogs will be on the way, roadblocks will be up, and sex offenders will have officials knocking on their doors.  They will find her.

Again I raise my hand.  “Wow!  That is truly impressive.  But, I’m thinking of my son.  He used to like to get his blankie and curl up in the clothes dryer.  (Yes, I admit it.  He was a different sort of child.)  What if you mobilize this awesome Amber Alert machine and then the kid is found asleep in the dryer?” 

The Lieutenant answered “That would totally make everybody’s day.  We love to get cancelled because the kid was found safe.”

I said “That would be really embarrassing, calling you and then nothing was wrong.”

He said, “I would rather have you feel embarrassed than have you at a funeral, or looking at a loved one’s picture on a milk carton.”  Oh.  Yeah. 

The truly horrifying story was of the small child who went out the doggie door, toddled a good half a mile to an irrigation ditch, and drowned.  This kid was mostly still crawling.  In the time that it took him to get to that irrigation ditch, if CART had been called they would have found him long before he got there.  That’s the horrifying story, and I pray for such a thing to never happen again.

Please pass the word.  If everybody’s worst nightmare happens don’t be embarrassed.  Make the 911 call immediately and get your kid found safe.  When you call, don’t hem and haw.  Say “Three year old girl, GONE!” and give the address so that dispatch can get the team scrambling.  Then you can tell the story, and say “There’s probably nothing wrong and I’m sure she’ll show up any second now……...” and then go open the door for the cops because they will be there that quickly, ecstatic that you didn’t waste time.

The second thing?  Educate the children.  There were 2 sound bites on this subject that hit me right between the eyes:

“If people don’t know what to do they will do what they’re told to do.”  If the person doing the telling is a predator, that’s a horrific statement.  Children HAVE to know what to do.  They have to know not to listen to threats, and they have to know that if they don’t know somebody they don’t go with them even if the guy is wearing a police uniform.  They have to know that they don’t go with somebody that they do know unless that person knows the code word that’s been previously agreed upon.  No way!  Better safe than sorry.

“Kids who scream, kick, scream, fight, bite, run, and scream some more don’t get abducted.”    Really?  Really.  Predators don’t want a ruckus, and they will drop your kid and go find one that’s compliant.  Have a drill.  Practice screaming.  Seriously – have a drill.  The kids will know what to do if they practice it.

I know.  It broke my heart to be having “practice screaming sessions” with my grandchildren, and explaining to them why.  I’ll tell you what, though – this only broke my heart a little bit.  A kid snatched would kill me. 

The third thing:  If you see something that (In the words of these cops that I spent my day with) looks “skeevy,” make noise.  They showed us a video of a 7 year old girl who was participating in a cop experiment.  She walked down a busy big city sidewalk, an actor grabbed her, and she started screaming “Stranger!  Stranger!  Help!”  4 out 5 adults on the sidewalk did absolutely nothing – they just kept walking.  In interviews with these people later, they said either “I didn’t want to get involved” (and there is a special place in Hell for those people) or “I didn’t know what to do.”  OK, I’ll tell you what to do.  Start yelling.  Tackle the guy.  Call 911.  Take a picture of the guy with your phone while you yell.  Do SOMETHING, do ANYTHING to help a kid that’s in trouble.  (I do believe that here in our small communities, out here in The Wild West, the ratio would be reversed – I think that 4 out of 5 people would intervene, and please leave my rose-colored glasses alone.)

I don’t want to alarm you…….. well, actually, yes I do.  I do want to alarm you.  There are 1.3 MILLION missing children reported every year in this country.  Most do make it home safely.  Of those 1.3 million, only 100 are confirmed stranger abductions, plus another 350 or so that are suspected.  It’s incredibly rare, but when it does happen it is the most horrible thing that you can imagine. 

I said “Aw, c’mon!  This doesn’t happen around here!”  They said that just about once a year we have an attempted abduction in Yavapai County.  Dear God.  I did not want to know that.  Hear that sound?  That’s my rose-colored glasses breaking.

Thank you for listening.  

Saturday, November 24, 2012



T
Thanksgiving.  This is my youngest son's favorite holiday.  No, not Christmas, not Easter, not Valentine's Day, not his Birthday.

I asked him “Exactly why is Thanksgiving your favorite day of the year?”
He answered “Because it’s all about family.  It’s all about getting together and all of us contributing to the Feast, and just having a good day enjoying each other’s company.  It’s about gathering up some strays and sharing our good fortune with them.  The commercialism is at a minimum, the only stress is producing the food unruined and reasonably on time.  We all even help with the dishes.”
His youngest daughter (the 2-year-old) agreed, which is amazing because lately she has seemed incapable of agreeing with anything.  (I suspect that she is more focused on the pie aspect of Thanksgiving than anything else.)  She does expect to help with the dishes, though, God help us all every one.

OK, so we’ve got the family and the Feast all together in one place.  But let’s not forget the origins of Thanksgiving:  The Pilgrims were starving and dying, and would have all perished during their first winter in America if the Natives had not taken pity on them and brought them a Feast, plus enough supplies to get them through to harvest.  (Some would say “Badly played on the Native’s part!” Well, yeah - obviously, considering what happened next, but that’s not where we’re going today.)

So Thanksgiving is the day where Americans commemorate a very important moment of charity.  We’re reenacting a significant historical event that still affects us today.  But pared down to its bare leg bones, Thanksgiving was simply an act of kindness – one group of human beings saw a need in a different group of human beings and filled it.

Now at this point I could go off on a big ol’ rant about we have this politically, religiously, economically, health-care divided nation, and then I could point out that we are all the same – good people just trying to get along the best we can.  OK, so I just did that, but that’s not where we’re going today, either.

Where we are going today is to gratefulness, to appreciation, to giving thanks.  Doctors have known forever that the patient who sees and enjoys the beauty in their world and their life is the patient who recovers, often when they weren’t expected to.  So let’s start a revolution.  Instead of one day a year where we give thanks, let’s make every day Thanksgiving.

Quick!  Right now.  Think of 10 things that you’re grateful for. 

I’ve had some practice at this since a shrink made me agree to do this every day twice a day, so I’ll start.

Me.  I am grateful to be me.  Even considering my abundant flaws and foibles, I like me.  I find that getting to know myself is an unending adventure.  I crack myself up, I surprise myself, and I am grateful that I’ve survived long enough to develop into somebody that I like.

My body.  I am strong and healthy.  Even though sometimes I catch sight of myself in the mirror and am disconcerted at the havoc that age and gravity hath wrought, my body still gets me where I want to go.

My children and grandchildren.  I love them and they love me, and what’s more, I like ‘em.  A lot.

Faith.  Unless you worship money, knowing that there is somebody or something that understands what’s going on and cares about us is what’s gotten us all through the past few years.

The Verde Valley.  I marvel that I get to live in a “destination.”  I get to see the Red Rocks and Mingus and the San Francisco Peaks every day.  I run into tourists who paid thousands of dollars and traveled halfway around the world just to absorb a few of our sunsets and breathe our air.  We are blessed to live here.

We are Americans.  No matter who we thought should have gotten elected President, we were able to vote for our choice.  We were able to say what we thought.  We are able to criticize in any venue that we find appropriate.  I’ve seen posts on Facebook that would have gotten their author a 3 AM knock on the door and poof you’re gone in a lot of countries.  Sometimes I agree and sometimes I disagree, but they get to say their thoughts and I get to say mine and I appreciate that fact.

Experience and knowledge.  I was at a home inspection the other day.  My client asked me a question and I knew the answer.  I pondered how it was when I was new and didn’t know any answers.  I’m amazed that anybody worked with me when my only response could be “Um.  I’ll have to get back to you on that.”

My family.  I was born with one sister and one brother, both of whom I love and who are very important to me.  But there’s more - I notice that over the years I’ve accumulated many more brothers and sisters. 
I disagree with the old saw that says “You can’t pick your family!”  I have picked my family, and I treasure them.  I would not have made it if it hadn’t been for this new family who listened to me and supported me and loved me and was there for me.  Thanks, you guys.

The Dearly Departed.  I realized the other day that of all of the hundreds of people that I love and that love me, more of them are dead than are alive.  I thought about my Dad and my Mom, my grandparents, my stillborn daughter, the neighbors who emotionally adopted me and my son after my parents died, all of the friends and cousins and lovers and in-laws and stepparents that I’ve buried. 
I realized that they aren’t dead, not really.  They all contributed to me and to my sons and grandchildren and to countless generations to come.  As long as somebody that they influenced is interacting with somebody else, they’re still making a difference.
The other day my grandson was upset about a bully at school.  (This bully, from JackJack’s telling anyway, actually does sound like a vile child.)  I told him “My Grandpa used to say that you can tell a lot about somebody by their enemies.  That this horrible kid picks on you means that you’re a pretty special guy.”  This was a big comfort to JackJack. 
See?  Grandpa’s not gone, and the same will be true of me and you after we die and somebody remembers something that we said or did.
Look at what happens at Thanksgiving.  The dead are all over it.  I’m going to make my Stepfather’s Bagatelle, my Mom’s pumpkin pie, my Grandma’s pecan pie, my Grandpa’s dirty mashed potatoes, my Dad’s mushroom gravy, and my bread and stuffing.  My son is going to cook the turkey using his Grandmother in Arkansas’ secret sage butter recipe as best I can remember it. 

Number 10 – all of the rest.  There’s a roof over my head, electricity in the walls, heat and a bed and food to eat.  There are books and friends.  There’s a dog to take me for my walk and insanely gorgeous country to walk me in.  I’m not hungry, I’m not homeless, I’m not in prison, I’m not sick.  I can see, I can hear, I can talk, I can read, I can go anywhere I want and talk to whomever I want.  I have a job.  I have a brain that usually works pretty well.  I am blessed.

Now it’s your turn.

Happy Thanksgiving! 





Thursday, August 9, 2012

We got this email the other day. I’m not sure why I felt the need to X out some of the info, but I did.

Dear Warren,
Thanks a million for your prompt response to my inquiry. I appreciate your effort in sending the listings, they are all simply beautiful.
I am enthralled with your personal listing MLS # XXXXXX in the list with a price of $X,XXX,XXX.00 because I love the curb appeal of this property, please send me the contract for me to sign and return immediately this will be my retirement home and it will be a cash buy. I am willing to pay full price because this property is exactly what I’ve been looking for for years and I don’t want to loose it.

1. I will want to close in 10 days.
2. I want to put down 5% Earnest money + $5,000.00 non-refundable retainer for your efforts.
3. I want to put contingency on inspection on the contract, 5 days.

I will not be in the USA before the closing date to wire the opening funds, so I will send you a certified checque for the earnest and your $5,000.00 from my Swiss Bank. Deposit certified checque, take $5,000.00 and give the 5% earnest to the title company of your choice to consummate the buy.

Please forward me a purchase contract agreement in docusign format, docusign format is an electronic way of signing document.

Time is of the essence.
What address for overnight of certified checque?

Truly Yours,

Martin
martin.sixXXXXX@XXXXXX.com
(XXX) XX-XXX-XXXX

Woo-hoo, right? Both sides of a big spendy-priced listing, cash, immediate close, emotionally involved and motivated buyer! Ka-Ching! PLUS an extra 5 grand non-refundable retainer! YES! Do a little happy dance. Do a BIG happy dance!

Well, this was fun for a second but hold on a minute. Red flags they are a-waving, mostly because it looks too good to be true and I am a cynic.
So I forwarded this to 2 attorneys, both of whom basically said “Snort.”

Here’s how it would work:
I get all excited and let my bills get the better of my good sense and I reply to Martin Sixsmith with my address.
Martin Sixxxxxx answers my calls regarding his mailing address, middle initial, marital status, etc.

I prepare the sales docs, all of them well done with a Buyer’s Broker and a Consent to Limited Dual Agency, and also send the SPDS and flood zone report and whatever else looks relevant.

Martin docusigns competently.
Seller accepts, of course.
I email Martin copies of the accepted offer and he overnights me a beautiful certified check. And it is beautiful! I guess from the words SuisseBank of The Netherlands that this check is drawn on a Swiss bank, and it is adorned with decorated blobs of wax and pretty ribbons.

Woot woot! I have the deal that we all dream about, the deal that I’ve never seen in 25 years in this business.
I take the pretty certified check to my broker, who deposits it and then takes her percentage of the $5,000 and cuts me a check for the balance, plus she cuts a check for the 5% earnest money to my favorite title company. I trot right on down to title and open escrow, depositing my Broker’s check.

The next day Martin calls me, hysterical. His numerologist tells him that he can not possibly buy a property with that parcel number – if he does he will surely die. He has to cancel. He is heartbroken, and I must immediately find him someplace more acceptable.

DARN it.

I do up a cancellation and Martin docusigns it and I cancel the escrow, consoling myself that at least I got the retainer and probably Martin will buy something else.

Title wires Martin his refund of his 5% earnest money minus the wiring fee. He was in his inspection period, and they are following the contract and his instructions to wire the money.

A week or so later my Broker gets a call from her bank. There is a SuisseBank of The Netherlands, but they’ve never heard of Martin Sixsmith. The beautiful certified check is worth only the paper that it’s printed on.

Oh, way worse than darn it.

Martin doesn’t answer my calls. Go figure.

See how well that worked? Martin sent me a pretty official-looking piece of paper that he printed up on his computer and we obligingly traded him for real funds. My Broker is left holding the bag, and will be forced to make her checks good. (I do grumblingly return the retainer to her, but that’s not much help, considering.)

The attorneys tell me that this scam can work on lots of different people. The basic concept is that somebody (REALTOR®, Seller, lawyer, title company, private fiduciary, you name it) gets something worthless that looks like it has value. Of course it’s valuable – it looks very official and has a big number written in the blank.

Somehow that piece of paper gets converted to real money and is returned to fictional Martin before anybody realizes that the original funds were bogus. The con man walks away laughing, while their mark is often financially annihilated.

BTW and just to be clear - thank you for your concern, but this did not actually happen to me personally. If it had I would not be at my computer writing about it - I would be rotting in a Netherlands jail for trying to smuggle a gun into the country.






Monday, June 18, 2012

Manners

As I careen through my days dealing with humans (and others), sometimes things that they say or do catch my attention, good and bad.


Things that make me go “Hmmmm…………”


I’ve noticed that the world of communication manners is changing. I lay this change at the door of 2 developments: texting, and dealing with the people who are crazybusy dealing with foreclosures and short sales.

I was taught that whenever I communicate, no matter what my point is, that point should follow a warm fuzzy.

Example:
I want to tell a seller that the price that they hope to get for their property is way too high and I won’t take their listing at that price – it needs to be a market value or we’re just wasting everybody’s time.

I send her an email. “Dear Mrs. Seller;
Thank you so much for taking the time to give me a tour of your wonderful home this morning. I greatly enjoyed myself, and your lemon bars are to die for! May I please have your recipe?
I’ve done a Comparative Market Analysis, which compares similar properties’ sales prices, which gives us a very good idea what an appraisal on your house would show.

It is my opinion is that it would sell for $100,000 to $110,000 today. I realize that this is about ¼ the amount that you told me……………..”


2 or 3 more carefully written paragraphs follow, clearly underlining and reiterating what I need for her to understand.


So that’s how I operate. I’m noticing, however, that people often open an email, read the first line, and respond.

So I get “Hey, Carol Anne – glad you liked the lemon bars! But what did you think of my price? You ready to come list it for $400K?”

BAM goes my head on the keyboard. This has been happening a lot lately.

Or I’m shooting emails back and forth with my asset mangler in the short sale department. When I’m satisfied, my last email is simply “Thank you for your time and attention, Alicia.” She responds, “This last email from you was unnecessary and wasted my time opening it. Please confine your communications strictly to business in the future.”
Huh!


Well, excuse the heck out of me, but I DO NOT agree that a thank you is unnecessary. (Alicia aside, I’ve noticed that asset manglers generally respond almost slavishly to a kind word. I suspect that they don’t get very many of them.)


I think that this trend goes back to the advent of texting. Back when every single letter was rationed we got pretty good at cutting out the fluff. I think it carried over into our everyday habits.


So what’s the solution? If we adopt an across-the-board protocol somebody is going to feel insulted. I can just imagine what my Mother-in-law would say if I sent her a card signed with only a


(:


but that’s perfectly acceptable in a text.


So it’s generational? Maybe. No, Alicia is 60-something, easy. Should we be brief with the younger generations and flowery with the oldsters? Nope. Some of the older people that I correspond with are the worst when it comes to abrupt emails. The key, I think, is technological competence. Maybe the more electronic time-savers somebody has at their disposal, the less time and patience they have for the niceties.







Wednesday, June 6, 2012

We’ve been fighting this stupid rumor for 2 years that I’m aware of, that if anybody sells their home they will pay a 3.8% sales tax on the profits to Medicare, to fund “Obama’s health care act.”


I got this email this morning from 3 different people. 1 of those people was my Brother, inquiring if it’s true? The other 2 were just rabidly sheeping along, foaming at the mouth about how we have to vote to protect our homes and our equity.
Aaaaargh!
Here’s the body of this email:

> If you own a home, Please read this. THIS WILL BLOW YOU AWAY !!!!!
> The National Association of REALTORS is all over this and working to get it

> repealed, before it takes effect. But, I am very pleased we aren't the only
> ones who know about this ploy to steal billions from unsuspecting
> homeowners. How many REALTORS do you think will vote Democratic in 2012?
>
> Did you know that if you sell your house after 2012 you will pay a 3.8%
> sales tax on it? That's $3,800 on a $100,000 home, etc. When did this
> happen? It's in the health care bill and goes into effect in 2013.
>
> Why 2013? Could it be to come to light AFTER the 2012 elections? So, this is "change you can believe in"? Under the new health care bill all real estate transactions will be subject to a 3.8% Sales Tax.
>
> If you sell a $400,000 home, there will be a $15,200 tax.

> This bill is set to get the retiring generation who often downsize their homes. Does this make your November and 2012 vote more important?


> OH , you weren't aware this was in the Obamacare bill? Guess what, you aren't alone. There are more than a few members of Congress that aren't aware of it either.

*****************************************************************************
Can I give you some hard facts? The facts are that, yes, certain sales by high-income households will be affected by the new Medicare tax, possibly 1.5 percent of US households. (Not 1.5 percent of the US population - I said households.)
This tax applies only to people with an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of $200,000 for a single person or $250,000 for a couple.
The tax only kicks in after you take your capital gains exemption.

How about an example?
A couple with an AGI above the $250,000 limit sells their primary residence for $2 million. They make a $750,000 profit. Capital gains laws protect $500,000 of that $750,000, assuming that they have lived there for two out of the past five years. The 3.8-percent tax applies only to the $250,000 left over. Their tax liability under this new Medicare tax is $9,500. With all of the problems facing America right now, I’m not going to have a lot of heartburn over the fact that somebody in those income brackets profited $750,000 and had to give Medicare $9,500 of it.

My friend who sent this, please don’t be embarrassed that you were fooled. Somebody made this up and then published it, and then somebody else repeated it and it has spread like wildfire throughout certain circles.
To read the Health Care bill, go to http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/07/15/house-health-care-bill-fu_n_234372.html
To verify my research, go to http://www.factcheck.org/2010/04/a-38-percent-sales-tax-on-your-home/
Or, http://www.snopes.com/politics/taxes/realestate.asp


Or, http://www.realtor.org/small_business_health_coverage.nsf/docfiles/government_affairs_myth_busters.pdf/$FILE/government_affairs_myth_busters.pdf