Why Real Estate Wisecracks Prompt a Smile

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In addition to producing some of America’s greatest literature, Mark Twain was its century’s most successful humorist. One of his most quoted wisecracks was one that bears on real estate: “Buy land—they’re not making it anymore.” It made people laugh because it’s so obviously true.

That’s a common thread for witty real estate sayings through the ages—they only bring a smile because there’s no denying the truth behind them. When you come across one of those lists of Famous Real Estate Sayings, most are serious—but some have a little sparkle:

Ralph Waldo Emerson is credited with a good one:
“A man complained that every day on his way home, he had to pass by his neighbor’s long field. I advised him to buy it and it would never seem long again.”

• A long time ago, Jim Rohn, founder of the motivational movement, observed:
“Most homes valued at over $1,000,000 have a library. That should tell you something.” *
*Rohn’s original figure was $250,000, which also tells us something about inflation

• Jazz great Ray Brown is credited with the pithy:
“The best time to buy a home is always five years ago.”

Louis Glickman, the owner of Carnegie Hall, was even pithier, with his:
“The best investment on earth is…earth.”

The National Park Service (a most improbable source) is credited with:
“Take care of the land. Someday you’ll be a part of it.”

• A more likely source was cowboy humorist Will Rogers. His advice:
“Don’t wait to buy real estate. Buy real estate and wait.”

If Will Rogers were still around to come up with some wisecracks as well, he might say about anyone who doubts the truth behind those sayings, “the joke’s on them!” When you are contemplating your own real estate investment, since you can’t ‘buy five years ago,’ the closest thing to the new best time is now.