February 18, 2005
Breaking up the Real Estate Cartel, Then & Now
Not sure if the article below entitled, "Breaking the Brokers," was published in Newsweek in April 2004, or on MSNBC in February 2005, when it was forwarded to me, or both. Regardless, the title reminds me of some heated debate at the Mass. Homebuyers Club’s two-day conference at the World Trade Center twelve years ago, April 2-3, 1993.
That event was called "The Consumer Revolution in Real Estate" and featured over 30 panelists from the public & private sectors (click on show program for partial list), plus keynote speakers Ralph Nader and Stephen Brobeck of the Consumer Federation of America. One of the most controversial panels was called "Breaking up the Real Estate Cartel" and it drew sharp comments from the then president of the Mass. Association of Realtors. Ironically, the executive director of the National association of Realtors did not deny being a cartel; instead, he told Business Week the Realtors were a "good cartel."
More than a decade later, the mainstream press, Newsweek and MSNBC omitted reference to a cartel but clearly captured the resentment consumers have for bloated real estate commissions in this article.
Breaking the Brokers
As housing prices keep heading through the roof, more sellers are balking at paying full commissions. Some agents are even joining in this homegrown rebellion
By Daniel McGinn
For information on a full menu of money-savings options available to cost-conscious home buyers and sellers today, call The Real Estate Cafe at 617-661-4046 for information about our "sneak preview" February 26th and 27th at the New England Home Show at Boston's World Trade Center... the same location as the Consumer Revolution in 1993. (Two years later, the Mass. Homebuyers Club spawned The Real Estate Cafe, one of the first fee-for-service real estate concepts in the country.)
February 14, 2005
Valentine's Day Cartoon Caption Contest
Fellow real estate consumer advocates: Fred Meyer's quick suggestion to change the caption of the Valentine's Day cartoon, which also appears under the "Dual Agency Detective" section of this blog, caused me to erase the original quote and post this blank version online. If you click on the image at left, a full-sized image will pop-up. Feel free to download it, and adopt it for your own needs. If you want to share your Valentine's Day makeover with others on this forum, just click "comment" and post your suggested caption / bubble quote.
Fred's suggestion is to amend the artwork so the balloon caption reads
"You don't love me? You don't represent me?
After all the time we've been together!"
And to a add this caption: "The Valentine Dual Agencies Got"
Heartbreaking news for real estate consumers
Just in time for Valentine's Day, here's the cartoon used in a Massachusetts statehouse blitz when the original designated agency legislation was proposed in Massachusetts. As we know, the controversial legislation hidden in last years budget bill could open a new era of heart break for real estate consumers unless industry regulators adopt strict guidelines for certifying informed consent as proposed by REAFRA.
February 11, 2005
Leaking results of savings survey
Over the past six months that pursuit has led to hundreds of tradeshow booths at the Mass. Association of Realtors conference in September; the New England Mortage Brokers Association in October; the National Association of Realtors convention in November; Connect 2005, a real estate technology conference in January; and finally the International Homebuilders Association in January. Now after five more weeks of updating a database of savings opportunities in 2000 vs 2005, it's time to begin leaking those results of that comprehensive study of approximately 175 companies to current and potential clients through this blog.
Maintaining an industry wide "menu of savings" is an ongoing challenge. We need your feedback so we don't overlook a "best of breed" company or misunderstand someone's "value proposition." Beyond tracking those savings opportunities, our goal is to help seed a new generation of "embedded real estate reporters" or citizen journalists. To do that, we will pay you to contribute in this experimental blog. If you are a client, we'll reduce your fee by $25 for each comment and $50 each comment that includes a photo or video clip. For more details, call 617-661-4046 and ask about The Real Estate Cafe's "tipping policy."
Moblogging After Home Builders Show
After attending the BuildersShow.com in Orlando, I flew to South Beach and video taped some of the nightlife using my new Treo 650. Steve Garfield, a leading video blogger in Boston was so impressed with the quality of the Treo 650 video that he posted it online at his VSPAN weblog.
If you can shoot video this good inside nightclubs, imagine what real estate consumers will do in the future, particularly if they are given a financial incentive to share their grassroots expertise as The Real Estate Cafe does with it's "tipping policy."