Builder Finds Out Why Not to Name Homes After Anne Frank

Or Harriet Tubman, per resurfaced listings that are taking some heat
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 17, 2024 9:20 AM CST
Builder's 'Harriet Tubman,' 'Anne Frank' Homes Aren't a Hit
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/Feverpitched)

It's admittedly a challenging job to write compelling real estate copy, in the hopes of inspiring potential customers to buy. One New Mexico homebuilder, however, may have gone a little overboard in its descriptions of two home designs that have "baffled" those who've seen them, per the Daily Beast. "Just like Harriet Tubman, the icon of American courage and freedom, this home stands out amongst the crowd," reads a since-deleted Zillow listing for a Rio Rancho home, referencing the famous activist and abolitionist. The listing goes on to boast of the abode's "entertainers' kitchen," and "optional vaulted ceilings."

A second listing "honors" another famous person. "In her diary, Anne Frank discussed her view of the seasonally changing tree," the listing notes. "In honor of her, we have designed our Anne plan to maximize the view [that] we feel would be suitable for Anne herself." It adds: "The layout in this ready-to-be-built plan is maximized for views and entertaining." The New York Times notes that the original listings, which have apparently been around for years but only recently resurfaced online, come courtesy of Albuquerque homebuilder Abrazo Homes, which also has home designs named after different beer categories (IPA, pilsner, stout, etc.).

Abrazo Homes co-founder Brian McCarthy said the company has long named floor plans after famous women, including Audrey Hepburn, Frida Kahlo, and Coco Chanel. McCarthy concedes, however, that the Tubman and Frank names and accompanying text may have been tone-deaf. "We recognize that the language used in the plan description is insufficient and understand how it might come across as insensitive and lacking awareness," he says, adding that marketing materials have since been "updated." "It's unfortunate that this oversight has diminished our sincere efforts to pay homage to some of the most remarkable women in history."

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A Baruch College real estate expert calls the listings "strange" but "creative," while the Mary Sue wants to know how these descriptions were ever greenlit. "It seems like even well-intentioned people have no idea how to actually honor those who have fallen victim to bigotry, or fought against it," the site notes. "Look, Anne Frank and Harriet Tubman are important historical figures. We should honor them! But maybe not with cookie cutter suburban houses?" (More strange stuff stories.)

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