Friday, October 26, 2007

Real Estate glitches

kw: opinion, scams, real estate

I don't know if this is nationwide, but in the Philadelphia area, lots of advertising money is going into promoting seminars titled "real estate riches" (the term isn't someone's trademark; lots of people use it, including the titles of a few "books"). Most recently, they promise to show attendees how to make money in a falling market. They also claim money can be made "tax free."

No matter what kind of market, the way to make money is to sell something for more than you paid, or to rent/lease it for more than you are paying for a mortgage and other costs. Period.

No matter how you make a buck, you'll be taxed. The IRS has had more than ninety years to close every loophole. You'll find that "tax free" means "tax offset"; a loss to balance a gain. In other words, if you break even, you don't get taxed. IRS gets nothing, and you get nothing. Sometimes you can defer the loss, so it looks like you made tax-free money this year, but it just means when the loss must be paid, you'll still have nothing to show.

No doubt, some people have made money. But particularly in a falling market, it takes a lot of losers to support one winner. We just don't hear about the losers.

I read a story once, but don't recall title or author. Aliens arrived and began trading with everyone. You could sell them some trinket or idea or piece of "art" and get a cure for cancer or a space navigation instrument. They were busily helping the governments of Earth develop interstellar space programs and ships.

One person invited an alien on a duck hunting trip. Early on, they saw a few ducks flying in, and the man shot one. Then they came to a pond, with lots of ducks swimming around. The alien asked, "Why don't you shoot some?" The man replied, "We don't shoot sitting ducks." The alien muttered, "Neither do we."

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