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The Following Appeared In A Letter From A Homeowner To A Friend. (GRE Essay) - With A Free Essay Review



PROMPT: Of the two leading real estate firms in our town—Adams Realty and Fitch Realty—Adams Realty is clearly superior. Adams has 40 real estate agents; in contrast, Fitch has 25, many of whom work only part-time. Moreover, Adams’ revenue last year was twice as high as that of Fitch and included home sales that averaged $168,000, compared to Fitch’s $144,000. Homes listed with Adams sell faster as well: ten years ago I listed my home with Fitch, and it took more than four months to sell; last year, when I sold another home, I listed it with Adams, and it took only one month. Thus, if you want to sell your home quickly and at a good price, you should use Adams Realty. Write a response in which you examine the stated and/or unstated assumptions of the argument. Be sure to explain how the argument depends on these assumptions and what the implications are for the argument if the assumptions prove unwarranted.

The author concludes that Adams Realty will sell a home quickly and at a good price as it is superior of the two leading real estate firms. However, the author’s conclusion is based upon some unwarranted assumptions.

The author states that while Adams has 40 real estate agents, Fitch has only 25, many of whom work only part-time. With this statement the author assumes that having a larger workforce guaranties better work. Although, the assumption maybe correct, still the author fails to point out to the number of real estate agents that work round the clock in Adams Realty. If, for instance, out of 25 agents of Fitch, 20 work full time, and out of Adams’ 40 workers, 15 work full time, then the figure may weaken author’s argument.

Further, the author continues to state that Adams’ revenue last year was twice as high as that of Fitch and included home sales that averaged $168,000, compared to Fitch’s $144,000. With this statement, the author assumes that since revenue and average home sales are greater for Adams, hence Adams is a more established firm then Fitch. However, generating more revenue in total does not prove so. Adams may have sold 40 houses and earned $400,000 ($10,000 average profit per sale), while Fitch may have sold only 10 houses and still earned $200,000 ($20,000 average profit per sale). Although the revenue earned by Adams is more, still Fitch Realty is a more efficient firm according to the assumed statistics. Furthermore, Adams’ average revenue may be more then Fitch’s but since the author fails to establish that the locality where the house was sold was the same, this may not prove a valid argument for author’s assumption. For instance, if the average home sales of Adams is $168,000 in a very good neighbourhood where the profit margin that Adams gain is $168 (10%), while Fitch sells a house in a comparatively poor neighbourhood and earn a profit of $288 (20%), still Fitch would be a better real estate firm. Even if both the figures are combined, then too the author fails to establish that Adams will will fetch a better price for a home sold.

Additionally, the author states that homes listed with Adams sell faster. This is based on author’s own experience wherein it took 4 months for Fitch to sell the house 10 years ago, while Adams sold in one month this year. Herein, the author fails to prove that the conditions were similar 10 years ago while selling the house. If 10 years ago, the demand for house was not as much as now, and the economy of the place was worse then today’s, then comparing the time periods of the two sales is not a parameter to decide the superiority of the firms. Also, 10 years ago, Fitch Realty may not be as good firm as it is now. Hence, basing the argument on an event that took 10 years ago, and concluding an assumption in present will not support author’s conclusion.

In conclusion, although the author has stated facts and figures in support of his argument, still, they are insufficient to conclude the author’s assumption that Adams Realty will sell a house quickly and will fetch at a good price for it.

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ESSAY REVIEW

You say that the author concludes that Adams Realty will sell a home quickly and at a good price as it is superior to Fitch. That's an odd way of putting the argument. The argument really is that Adams is superior in that it can, allegedly, sell houses more quickly and for a better price. So you're really being asked what are the assumptions behind the contention that it can sell a house more quickly and for a better price, which is the question that only the second half of your essay answers. To be sure, the author also implies a correlation between the size of the workforce and the quality of the company, and it is important to identify that assumption, but it's also important to note that that assumption does not really have any impact on the conclusion at which author arrives. The author doesn't claim that the size of the workforce impacts the speed with which a house is sold or the price for which it sells. You might think that that is what the author was more or less getting at, but when you do that you're just speculating, and since there are other assumptions that have an obvious impact on the conclusion, there's no reason to waste time speculating.

What are the other assumptions? Although you deal with the question of revenue and average price of houses sold, you get bogged down for quite a bit in further speculation about how the author might have conceived a relationship between Adams’ alleged superiority and its superior revenue. So you think, for instance, that the author is articulating a belief about which company is "more established" based on revenue, but clearly the author doesn't say that. Your speculation is not unreasonable, but it is merely speculation.

At the end of that paragraph, however, you get to the relevant point. The author is assuming that the superior average home sales price at Adams reflects the superior performance of the company. Note that the argument appears to depend exclusively on this assumption since there is no other evidence or reason offered to justify the contention that Adams, unlike Fitch, can sell houses for a good price. It's important to note this fact because the instructions say "be sure to explain how the argument depends on these assumptions." (So let's emphasize in passing that the instructions for these essays need to be taken seriously. Make sure you do what you are asked to do before doing anything else). That assumption could prove unwarranted for a number of reasons (Adams, as you point out, might have been selling houses of inherently greater value) and if it is, then the suggestion that Adams can get one a better price for one's house than can Fitch is also unwarranted.

Your discussion of the assumptions underlying the author's claim that Adams will sell a house more quickly is basically sound.

Best, EJ.

P.S. "Than" is used for comparisons, not "then." Also 10% of 168,000 is 16,800.
Submitted by: Manisha
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