Be the Expert: Spot the delusions in this real-estate ad

Ramit Sethi

This is a “luxury real estate” newsletter I get every month. See how many logical disconnects/delusions you can spot in the copy.

Real Estate Delusion

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  1. Rissa

    well, just after a brief skim, the first thing i noticed was the pressing URGENCY to do something before other people steal your opportunity, or inflation kicks in *for real*; the message is that if you don’t you’ll suffer.

    second thing i noticed was the claim that Manhattan is devoid of property to buy (the implication there being that even the wealthy will have a hard time purchasing something they’d like).

    there’s no citations or evidence of any of the claims in this, only vague mentions of what the “buyers” are seeing/feeling (who? which buyers? where did you get this info from?).

    and finally, I’m not really sure if (what i am assuming is) the end goal of the ad (I’m guessing to get you to visit and “register for the fight”) has ANYTHING to do with any of the text that precedes the call to action.

  2. Marguerite

    Where to start: really, the first quarter began with a vengeance? Numerous contracts, many places, multiple bidders (or *interested parties*). Sad, disillusioned. Homeless wealthy? Dismal selection (and there is a gripe about it), better act NOW NOW, there are never bargains on good apartments, act now and bid high!, price escalation is starting (in someone’s mind, but not really), no one bargains (except Ramit…), there’s nothing new right now (and you need NEW), and you need chic lobbies and common areas (despite not hanging out in them), nothing meets your needs, you can’t afford it…BUY NOW, don’t think just buy, get it over with, or you’re screwed FOREVER. OMG INFLATION IS COMING BECAUSE YOU DON’T READ KRUGMAN.

  3. Brent

    Blam! Walloftext WTFpwns you for 99999999 damage.
    You die.

    No, but really, did they try to eliminate all the whitespace from the text in their ad? Also, 1 room with a gigantic mirror screams “not a home!” This is the “formal” living room and looks anything but welcoming. Sorry, I didn’t read the text.

    • Whitney

      White space is overrated. Turns out, emptiness doesn’t sell.

  4. Brent

    Okay, sorry, another comment after I read it. “Inflation is on the horizon”? No shit? Of course it’s going to go up as it’s been near zero/negative for the past while. This just in: “The sky predicted to be blue in the near future!”

  5. Sterling

    Manhattan is “home to the homeless wealthy”? Nice paradox.

    “dismal selection of great properties”

    “FEELING the beginnings of price escalation” – didn’t that begin at least 40 years ago in Manhattan?

    How, over time, can bids rise and asking prices not?

    If the bids are higher than the asking price, then why would the selling price be lower than the bidding price?

    if the “remaining units are not what [buyers] need or can afford”, then why would they “pick a unit and be done with it”?

    “the perfect apartment is not out there” – WTF? According to whom? What are the criteria?

    “Inflation is on the horizon” – isn’t it almost always?
    But wait: just before the ad warned of inflation, it told me I had the option of waiting 3 years before buying. Wouldn’t three years’ worth of inflation increase the price more? And what about the “beginnings of price escalation”? Between price rises and inflation, wouldn’t waiting be a bad idea rather than the second best piece of “advice” the ad can give?

  6. Whitney

    #1. (Logical Disconnect) : “Numerous contracts signed on many great properties” means that wealthy buyers ARE finding properties, and that there isn’t a “dismal selection.” What the hell is there to be “saddened and disillusioned” about?
    #2. (Delusion) New York was in no way exempt from the recession. I know that and I’ve never been there and don’t know a single person who lives there. Their assumption that “bargains hardly ever happen on the best apartments in a city like New York” is ignorant.
    #3. (Logical Disconnect) How the hell do you “feel” price escalation without actually seeing asking prices rise?
    #4. (Logical Disconnect) There is a decrease in brand new housing, yet they “can’t afford” the non-brand-new housing? If they can’t afford the 2 year-old+ housing, they wouldn’t even look at the brand new housing.
    #5. (Delusion) The “high pressure” suggestion for wealthy buyers to just buy whatever pops up before someone else takes the place, paying no attention to whether it’s the perfect place, is ridiculous. The whole point of buying luxury is to get the perfect place. And the whole point of having a lot of money is that people line up to sell you their place…because you have money…and not very many buyers have a lot of money.

    I think it’s funny that this little article is implying that luxury buyers are in a panic.

  7. Evan

    I realize they were shooting to create urgency – but I just found it a downer and was annoyed at the end-instead of motivated to jump over to their website and “register for the fight”.

  8. Lynn

    Beside what the first 2 said…

    Buy any crappy thing now while you can AND pay a much higher tax assessment while you’re at it.

    • Adam

      That was what jumped out at me. Hurry up and spend a bunch of money on an apartment, and oh by the way, your taxes just went through the roof.

  9. patrick

    Ramit, this letter is ridiculous. why do you subscribe to this trash? i hope it’s only for our amusement. I only bothered to deconstruct the first paragraph below, and even then I could’ve taken it further.I can’t believe some people think this is credible.

    First paragraph:

    ‘as predicted’ Who predicted, exactly? and when? and why should I care? and why are they credible?

    ‘the first quarter has begun with a vengeance’ compared to what? and avenging what exactly? and isn’t the first quarter always generally better in real estate than the winter quarter? I’m sure the summer quarter will begin with a vengeance too because more houses trade hands in summer than the other seasons, mainly due to weather.

    ‘with numerous contracts signed on many great properties’ this could mean anything from 3 contracts signed to 20,000 and up. and signing a contract doesn’t necessarily mean that the buyer will follow through and be able to complete the deal with financing. Although, bringing up that problem would assume that contracts were signed, something we have no objective proof of in this letter. also, what quantifies a property as ‘great’, anyways?

    ‘often with multiple bidders or interested parties’ what exactly is an interested party? I’m fairly interested in manhattan real estate if I can buy it for 1 dollar a property. does that make me an interested party? if no, then who does qualify? and often? how often? what percentage of properties had multiple credible bidders? and don’t great properties almost always have multiple bidders, some of whom aren’t entirely credible or who’s bid is way lower than the asking price? otherwise how great of properties could they be?

    ‘this has left many buyers saddened and disillusioned’ uh, first off, if they’re buyers, doesn’t that imply that they bought? I assume they actually mean bidders, because if somebody actually was a buyer and bought the house, I’m not sure why they’d be saddened. and only many buyers (bidders) are saddened and disillusioned? Couldn’t this mean that many bidders are ecstatic? and many are much more worried about little league games than the house they lost a bid on and has already sold? and why do we care they are sad? should I buy more because they are sad?

    ‘this is what buyers are seeing/feeling right now in the luxury manhattan market, home to the ‘wealthy homeless” come on, are you really purporting to be talking for all buyers in the luxury manhattan market? and you know what they’re seeing/feeling? every one of them? what about the people that supposedly signed contracts on properties already? does this apply to them as well? and the ‘wealthy homeless’? really? if they’re wealthy I’m sure they can afford a motel 6 to spend the night, at least, which would probably disqualify them as homeless. and where are they living now? if a person was able to become weatlhy, and couldn’t buy a house, I’m sure they would be perfectly capable of solving their ‘homelessness’ easily. they’re wealthy!

  10. Andrew Lynch

    I think Whitney spotted a lot of them, so I’m trying to find stuff she didn’t mention.

    If there have been “numerous contracts signed on many great properties”, how can the buyers be “saddened and disillusioned”? Do they not like the great house they’ve just bought?

    There are a lot of weasel words ( like “as predicted” (by whom?), “this seems to be”, (according to whom?) and the constant use of “buyers” without specifying which particular buyers – are we talking about first-time buyers, families, young professionals, retirees? There is a total lack of precision in terms, which is used to hide the fact that the copy contains absolutely no data. This is probably designed so that people can project their own situation onto what is being described here, rather than read something that is explicitly talking about other people.

    And it’s a bit of a stretch to call someone “homeless” if they can clearly afford to rent a place somewhere. It’s not like there are tons of people out there sleeping rough under their 1000 thread count sheets, burning their Armani suits in a barrel to keep warm.

    Lastly, the advice to rent now and wait for 3 years for a new unit to be finished is fine I guess, but then it tells you to commit to something sooner rather than later – do you want me to buy in the next 3 years or not?

    Like people have mentioned, the whole article is designed to create a sense of urgency. Otherwise INFLATION IS ON THE HORIZON SO WE HAVE TO FIGHT JUST TO GET ANY OLD APARTMENT OMG BID NOW ON EVERYTHING

  11. Helen

    The whole article is based on false beliefs, guesses and assumptions (dismal selection of properties, halt for 2 years on new building, no bargains)

    Most sentences create meaningless links between two subjects (Logical disconnect). For example, “Wealthy are Homeless”. Not being able to get a new property doesn’t make you homeless, losing your current one does. If the wealthy are not able to buy a new property, then who ARE the buyers of the available decent properties? Is it the bargain hunters that are quick and get a low offer accepted quickly? Or is there a new level of wealth that allows them to outbid others? The whole article expresses the negative side of the market now and how you have to have increased wealth to buy and yet their advice is to join in!

    Then it continues to present half facts and seeks to contradict them in the next line! e.g. “maybe the asking prices are not rising (although some are) but the bids are.”

    This article does not specify who the market is currently benefiting. Is it the sellers? As they are able to put their prices up and get closer to asking price. In which case there should be an abundance of good properties!

    Before reading the article my own perception of the property market in NY was that people are currently trying to cut costs, save, increase income and limit spending. The article tries to play on existing assumptions of the reader but gets it totally wrong and assumes that we all are fully aware that everyone is trying to buy.

    They use a poor angle and try to back it up with guesses which leads to an ineffective call to action.

  12. Cukamunger

    I think the biggest delusion is that there is any real estate open on the Manhattan market that isn’t freakishly expensive. Don’t people search the obituaries just to see if a dilapidated apartment lease might be available? Wasn’t that a big theme in the movie, “Sex in the City”?

    Second biggest delusion, people want to read a dissertation under a pretty photo. It was impossible for me not to skip to the purple box at the end and become disinterested. When I went back to read it, all I could think was “The end is coming!!! Stupid people of the world, freak out!”.

    Final thought: I would love to have a skylight like that.

  13. Dan Barrett

    YOU GUYS! You guys. Please, stop nitpicking this ad, and focus on the real problem:


    • Paul


  14. Victoria

    The photo shows a spare, clean apartment. Good start. Then the whole writing part devolves into some kind of depressing doomsday real estate prediction, ending with an urging of pick what you can find or forget about it. Are these people trying to sell something, because if so, this is the worst sell ever. They list a number of problems with no desirable solutions. I am not looking to a real estate newsletter for economic predictions. Why don’t they tell us the wheres and hows of the people who were SUCCESSFUL in their search for a home? Tell us what markets are still OPEN. If there is a dearth of A-grade finishes due to 2 yr construction delays, then tell us where the most modern places for the buck ARE available. The whole tone of the ad is bread-line scarcity mentality. Like these folks forgot the world goes on and opportunity is where you make it.

  15. J.R.C.

    Yup, the article at a glance looks like it is either delusional or offers no value. But instead of picking apart all the many reasons it’s silly, I am going to continue to focus on getting my wife and I access to each other’s Roth IRAs so we can hurry up and make our 2011 contributions. (Did you know to do this in North Carolina for Merrill Edge accounts you need to grant each other ‘durable power of attorney’ and it has to be notarized? Oh the hoops that need to be jumped through. No wonder ordinary people don’t do this, what a pain.)

    Quit trying to destract us from focusing on the important things that will help us make big wins in our lives Ramit! We could just as easily pick on the “It’s my money and I want it now!” J.G. Wentworth commercials and why they’re illogical.

  16. Tom

    My main gripe with it was …

    I started to read it, and got bored a quarter of the way through. I am a reader, so people who aren’t big readers would likely have less staying power on it.

    It’s boring to read.

  17. Matt M

    Everything about this ad is terrible:

    Is the picture related to the ad? Is this a “signed contract” building, was it sold quickly to a high bidder, or is it just a pretty picture to get you to read the manifesto?

    The numbered list doesn’t sum up the point.
    1) A very dismal selection of great properties to choose from: this seems to be a constant gripe

    better copy:
    1) Great properties are rare! This is our buyers’ most frequent complaint.


    This ad/article identifies problems (poorly and vaguely), but doesn’t offer any solutions. If you aren’t solving your potential customers’ problems, they will never be your paying customers. If you’re writing for a subscriber, writing down problems and not solutions will cause people to unsubscribe because it’s worthless.

    This copy is just a depressing list of complaints.

    As Ramit drills repeatedly, “get inside your customers’ heads”, next offer a solution. (aka the briefcase technique).

    Regardless of whether it’s an ad or an article, this expert should be offering solutions.

    If it’s an ad:
    The constant refrain: Great properties are rare!
    Our referral service will provide apartments that meet your criteria (neighborhood, size, amenities, etc) within 48 hours of listing.

    You have now identified the customer’s problem and offered a solution. They will pay you for this.

    If it’s an ‘article’:
    The constant refrain: Great properties are rare!
    See our feature on page 10 of the best places to find hidden real estate treasures

    When they finally get to the “advice” section, they make it sound like waiting 18-36 months for a new construction to finish is a fate worse than death.

    The copy is greedy, sleezy, depressing and ineffective. It doesn’t identify the customer/audience or their needs. It’s operating from a scarcity mentality with a luxury audience.

    As long as people are willing to pay millions for apartments, people will find ways to get them built.

    Also: The fireplace doesn’t match.

  18. robert

    One disconnects/delusions:
    Asking price not risen…. And Selling price closer to asking price….
    Assessment are up 60%.

    This is a losing deal in paying for these properties.

  19. Jonathan Vaudreuil

    “As predicted, the first quarter has begun with a vengeance…”

    – noun
    Infliction of injury, harm, humiliation, or the like, on a person by another who has been harmed by that person; violent revenge.
    – idiom: with a vengeance
    With force or violence; greatly; extremely; to an unreasonable, surprising, or excessive degree.

    I’m not sure which is worse: suggesting that the beginning of 2011 is inflicting pain upon the rich people whose violent actions towards old calendars brought agony upon the earliest days of January; or the idea that newsletter writers unleashed their inner Nostradamus and predicted something so surprising that even by telling everyone about it, this event was still surprising to even the predictors!

    “…with numerous contracts signed on many great properties, often with multiple bidders or interested parties. This has left many buyers saddened or disillusioned. This is what buyers are seeing/feeling right now in the luxury Manhattan market, home to the ‘homeless wealthy.’
    “1. A very dismal selection of great properties to choose from: this seems to be the consistent gripe.”

    – adj
    Constituting or forming a large number; numerous.

    – adj
    Wonderful; first-rate; very good.

    – adj
    Causing gloom or dejection; characterized by ineptness or lack of skill, competence, effectiveness, imagination, or interest; pitiful.

    One minute we have amazing properties galore. The next? I dare not risk deciding what the newsletterers meant by ‘dismal.’ Maybe the properties are rejecting potential buyers with ancient magic doors. Maybe the available apartments lack the kind of lighting seen in the picture. Maybe the buyers are utter morons, or just dullards who need a place able to compensate for their lack of personality.

    “2. Buyers who had hoped to find the ‘bargain’ in the past 2 years have come to the realization that bargains hardly ever happen on the best apartments in a city like New York.”

    Utter morons it is.

    “3. When something good is identified, be it new or not, the buyers who lose out on the property, either because their bid was too low, or they didn’t act quickly enough, are left feeling depressed and dejected.”

    In other words, if you were rejected by the ancient magic doors, you should be feeling much better than your utter moron counterparts.

    “4. Buyers are FEELING the beginnings of price escalation. Maybe the asking prices are not rising yet (although some are) but the bids are. And the selling prices are often closer to asking.”

    – noun
    A person who buys; purchaser.

    Why do people who have already purchased their property give a damn about price escalation while having movers delicately arrange their Victorian furniture? I thought this was a problem for the utter morons and those who don’t know the secret words to get past ancient magic doors. And how do you feel price escalation? If it’s beginning then odds are you don’t know it’s happening, especially if you’re an utter moron. Then the bids are going up, but there were no ‘bargains’ to begin with, yet sale prices aren’t reaching asking prices. I wonder if they’re not feeling price escalation but confusion escalation, because that’s about where I’m at (unless I’m an utter moron whose brain has turned on momentarily before retreating for another long nap).

    “5. A diminished selection of ‘brand new:’ With new construction stalled for 2 years, buyers who were accustomed to looking at chic lobbies and common areas, and A-grade interior finishes, are finding that the best units in these buildings are sold, or the units remaining are not what they need or can afford.”

    There you go again calling these utter morons/magic door rejects “buyers” when they haven’t bought a damn thing! They’re homeless after all! Then you post a picture where it’s clearly not new, between the ancient moldings, the redone hardwood floor, and the fireplace which has obviously been scratched by the previous tenants’ miniature pet cheetah or sloppy guard ninja. If newsletterers cannot find a new pad for their picture, how the hell can anyone else?


    Utter morons, listen up.

    “If you are planning to buy now, look at everything quickly…”

    Because if the magic doors don’t kick you out, you’re too dumb to process it anyway to hurry up.

    “…pick a unit and be done with it:”

    Much like the way you decided on your wife.

    “The perfect apartment is not out there, and the longer you wait, the more you will pay for it. Otherwise, rent now and plan on buying in a new construction building and wait the 18 months – 3 years for completion. But be prepared to commit to something sooner than later…. Inflation is on the horizon!”

    The year is 1984, and 3 social misfits in NYC decide to go into business together in order to combat the forces behind ancient magic doors. To gain the city’s trust they hire a redhead receptionist and a random black man so it’s not obvious that white guys with dark hair are clearly the most prepared humans to combat this atrocity. They call themselves: GHOSTBUSTERS.

    But soon they find themselves up against a demon from another dimension, who, in their epic confrontation, forces them to choose the shape of the destroyer of luxury apartments. The fat one thinks of a massive, lumbering, and delicious man made of marshmallow, more powerful than the Pillsbury doughboy and Michelin man combined. He was the ultimate force of inflation, the destructor of high end dwellings, bringing about an end to the good old days to one smelling like a burnt barbeque.

    If you don’t buy before that inflation monster rears its ugly head and desecrates you new apartment with its foul burnt barbeque odor, you’re screwed, buddy.

  20. Armon

    The thing is… they will actually sell units with this newsletter pitch.

  21. Perfect Dad

    Here is the main disconnect: They claim they are advertising to the wealthy, but really they are advertising to the stupid. You are not their target market Their target is New Yorkers with two digit IQs and seven digit bank accounts. Very specific – Bravo! Probably the spoiled and wasted grown children of real successful people, maybe folks with big inheritances, ex-spouses that won good settlements, young royalty from other countries, lottery winners, etc.

    You couldn’t sell with this to a Trump or a Sethi, but I know many poor, risk averse, analytically challenged, fear-driven and gullible people who would eat this up. If they happen to have some money then bingo! They’re calling. Gotta make the smart move and save themselves from that feeling of inflation!

  22. Eric S. Mueller

    That thing reads like a time share sales pitch. “Oh, no, if I don’t drop $50,000 RIGHT NOW I’ll never be able to vacation in Williamsburg AGAIN! EVER! Must do it now, whether I can afford it or not!”

    Are wealthy people really that impulsive and easily swayed? I’d assume many of them are wealthy because they don’t succumb to the emotional reactions of the middle class when confronted with copy like that.

  23. Michelle Shain

    The biggest delusion I see is that the writer seems to think I give a crap about how some nameless, faceless buyers are FEELING. Like their emotional states have any bearing on my real estate decisions.

  24. Derek

    I think all the major points have been covered, the copy focus is on scacety (with no real proof) and a call to action to get something (anything) quickly, but I don’t see who I’m supposed to contact when I take action. I guess this might be the cover and I should contact the agents for properties inside the booklet.

    Also, I just hate the look of the room. Everything lined up square with the walls, no angles, very sterile.

  25. Steve

    The many problems with the copy and design of the ad distract from the big lie: that you must BUY NOW. While I’m certainly not part of the “homeless rich,” I would rather pay a set rent than speculate in the high-risk and often low-yielding real estate market.

  26. Rebecca

    I’m with Brent, can this “luxury” newsletter not afford a designer who knows how to lay out an article with white space? The article looks like the fine print on a contract! Nor, apparently, can they afford a real copywriter. “A very dismal selection of great properties to choose from; this seems to be a consistent gripe” is so bad it makes the leprechauns in my head tell me to BURN THINGS.

    I’m not sure if this is logical disconnect or bad writing or both, but I wonder how people will be doomed to pay more for a perfect apartment the longer they wait, if in fact “the perfect apartment is not out there.”

    I also question the “rent now” directive– if there are so few properties for sale that meet the needs of the wealthy and are reasonably priced, would it not seem to follow that it would be similarly hard to find rental units that are acceptably luxurious without being overpriced? After all, Manhattan is not exactly known for its cheap rents. Makes me wonder if this “article” isn’t actually an ad for a luxury rental property management company trying to sell people on grabbing a rental, any rental, for relatively short term residence. After all, in NY, it’s a LOT easier to dramatically raise the rent on an apartment after it’s been vacated than it is with a lease renewal– a rental that turns around its residents every couple of years is a landlord’s dream, financially.

    The term “homeless wealthy” is so delusional it makes my head hurt.

  27. Addy B

    I can’t believe this is real. Ramit, have you doctored this newsletter for fun?

    Otherwise…just wow.

    Formula = Let’s raise every irrational anxiety we can think in the next of and then offer a pretty vague solution for umm ….something.

    What incentive does this newsletter have to take such a distracted approach? Does this work? ((I’m so naive))

  28. Addy B

    oops * think of in the next 5 mins and then…

  29. Karen

    Did Woody Allen write this ad? Is this a New York kind of thing?! Anxiety…Depression…then throw down $$$$ and acquiesce to it all. I’m in real estate, and I could never imagine an ad like that where I live.

  30. Norbert

    Well first they use the first technique in every realator’s handbook: Scaring people into making a quick decision by telling them that they have competition i.e. other people interested in buying. They also try to get into the person’s head by listing different reasons some people don’t/haven’t went through with it yet. Once they’re in your head and you get to trust them they convince you that there is no “perfect” apartment and that you should settle for what you can find. There are perfect apartments, everyone just has a different definition. To someone living on a street a perfect apartment would probably just be a warm, safe place. To a college kid, a perfect apartment would probably just be affordable, safe, lax on rules, and close to a bar.

  31. Lee

    In addition to the many delusions already pointed out, this ad is waste of money on the part of whatever real estate agency paid for it because its basic message that you shouldn’t use their service. For a company in the business of making commissions by selling apartments, it is stupid for them to point out how impossible it will be to find a place I will like, and how I might as well give up and rent. That doesn’t give me an incentive to hire them or look at their listings.

    Tell me what you will do for me — how are you going to sell my apartment faster or for more money? How will you help me find a place I like? How are you going to make the daunting Manhattan real estate market LESS of a problem for me, rather than MORE? In Manhattan there are thousands of indistinguishable real estate agents, all of whom are in competition with each other for listings and sales. Why should I call YOU as opposed to the thousands of others?

    Instead, they are basically telling me they can’t do anything for me at all. That can’t be good for business.

  32. Tom

    Definitely attacking people’s feelings of vulnerability.

  33. Mady

    I have found that it is almost impossible to predict the market. I was so surprise that even in the weeks preceding the big housing bubble burst hardly anyone figured it out it would happen.

    There is no data backing out their claims.

  34. AD

    “The Homeless Wealthy” wouldn’t resonate with the target audience because they’re not homeless. You’re buying, maybe looking for a new home, but you’re not homeless.

    I didn’t bother reading the rest of it. I imagine they wouldn’t either.

  35. Josh Moore

    Hi Ramit,

    The first and most obvious one to me is simple. In the top right it shows the words “Luxury Letter” and then a picture of a nicely set out house. The implication is that only people who own a home have access to a luxurious lifestyle and layout within their home.

    In truth, people can rent any type of home, whether it is small, medium, large, furnished, unfurnished, etc. and can deck it out any way they like. Purchasing a house is still a consumer purchase, not a wise investment. People are irrational and buy on emotion rather than logic (or so would say the stoic sage).

    I could live a luxurious life while renting and sleep well knowing my money is moving in faster vehicles than property at this point of time in my life.

  36. Adam

    “monthly luxury real estate newsletter”, that would be my first inclination that what I’m reading is a delusion

  37. xmasy

    Are they telling you to buy or wait? Mixed messages!!
    Because only home owners get tax assesment and they are saying its a 60% increase….so why buy!

  38. AD

    I think the finer points I would mention have been covered already, but the biggest overall disconnect for me is that a real estate company is giving prospective buyers a dozen reasons why now is the worst time to buy or be an owner (taxes up 60%) in NY.

    I was in real estate for a year, and I saw how the good agents worked. One would pick her clients up in a limo and give them a fancy pen to sign their papers at closing, and this was for standard homes all under $300,000. She made the process simple (because she handled everything) and made her clients feel like rock stars. This flier makes my head hurt and makes me want to be a renter.

  39. Utsav

    To all the commenters criticizing the ad’s “scare tactics” – raising people’s fears on “missing out” is a perfectly legitimate (and effective) sales tactic. Perhaps you’ve even seen it on IWTYTBR…

    Agree with Josh, the biggest delusion is the underlying assumption that buying is a good investment, which as Ramit has POINTED OUT A MILLION times, is often not the case

  40. MoneyIsTheRoot

    The scare tactics are similar to that of the credits offered by the federal government for purchasing a home the last couple years. First it was the 7.5K that was amortized and paid back over so many years, they told us it would never get better than that. Then came along the 8k credit free and clear. And now that those credits are gone, the market is still dropping, at least in the Metro Detroit area where I live. You could find a better deal now than before the tax credit expired…the only true benefit is to rebuild an emergency fund after using your cash for a down payment…


    They have a sense of urgency — a tone that if you don’t ACT NOW (i.e. before you’ve had a chance to think it through, with a cool head), you’ll MISS OUT!

    Rule of thumb: whenever you hear that tone of urgency, you know someone’s probably trying to talk you into a bad idea. Otherwise, the seller would have the confidence to know that you could think about it all you want and still rationally arrive at the conclusion that they’re offering a great deal.

    This ad also preys on people’s fears … one of the oldest tricks in the book.

  42. mo

    there’s no contact information — i have no name, no email, no phone number to reference.

    • Nigel Chua

      Yeah, come to think of it, that’s true. Maybe they’re trying to direct people to the link inked at the bottom: “”? but it’s dead link (as of 17/3/2011 11:42 am Singapore time).

  43. joseph

    where’s the TV?

  44. Nigel Chua

    1) Firstly, the wealthy are not homeless. The ad was more focused on marketing to the emotions of the person who perceives they have wealth

    2) Secondly, the “as predicted, the first quarter has begun with a vengeance…” starts with something that has disconnected/no meaning

    3) Their great “advice” – look at everything quickly, pick a unit and be done with it. What a stupid advice.

    4) It seems like an ad to invest in luxury properties…but at the bottom it points to that is pointed to (think it’s a luxury real estate website) – another inconsistency.

    5) Properties ARE being traded, so it doesnt make sense to imply that there’s no properties

  45. Nigel Chua

    More inconsistencies
    1) the link to is a dead link, on top of being forwarded to
    2) I’m not exactly sure what is their real message (they’re not clear AT ALL)
    3) number 5: the best units are sold, and the remaining units…are not those that they can afford. —????? what the hell? Unless the advertiser is stating that the best units are the cheapest ones, or the remaining ones are units that people shouldn’t afford…

    Too many inconsistencies in this newsletter, thanks for bringing it up Ramit.

  46. Evan

    Honestly, I can barely get to the copy. From what angle did the photographer manage to get the whole room and at the same time depict the mirror reflecting the far left portion of the room? The photo alone creeps me out. Does this photo truly look normal to others?

  47. Ray Johnson

    The number one point that is most prevalent through this advertisement is the scare tactic . It’s like they are trying to scare you into purchasing a condo in NY or else you will be left out.

  48. DunCAN

    I wouldn’t be using this agent to sell my property.
    If ‘stock’ is in such short supply, be positive and get a better price for your client!

    It’s not rocket science, maybe I should move to NYC and bring Aussie spin to the real estate sales world there.


    ps… not sure I could fit my 4 kids in a NYC loft/studio 😉

  49. Ken Doyle

    The main inconsistancy I see is not with the really bad copy, but with all the comments. all these opinions on what is wrong with it but no one wants to try to do the job of fixing it. I am not a great writer, but isn’t the point here to see a problem and go about creating a solution for it.

  50. Miguel Gomez

    I see some things that would need some revision:
    -Is it a newsletter or a sales pitch? Is it a sales pitch about buting a property I may not like (not the “perfect” apartment)?
    -For me, there’s a huge disconnect between urging you to buy an apartment and they telling about the outrageous tax assessments. If taxes are so high, why would I want to buy?
    -If there’s a “dismal selection” of great properties, why would I want to buy?
    -What is the call to action for this piece? To buy? To keep renting (even if I am a “wealthy homeless)? To protest the tax assessment?

  51. Mike Toste (Lake Norman Mike)

    While I as a real estate agent also market towards the luxury buyer, I think the major disconnect here is in implying that the wealthy and luxury buyer doesn’t get what he wants. To put it simply, yes they do. What would upset the wealthy reader in this is that the writer of said piece would dare insult the reader’s intelligence to say he must give up what he/she really wants and go for something quickly, all the while most anyone of any amount of wisdom knows never to make large purchases in a quick manner. (PS. I was able to see the image by using the internet archive ,way back machine, in case you want to re-insert the photo into this post as its a great example to learn from )
    Love the real world examples.