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October 13, 2005

Shouldn't real estate consumers be free to choose based on informed consent?

Surveys conducted by the real estate industry over the past decade repeatedly find that some consumers want the convenience of one-stop shopping.  In response, real estate consumer advocates advise consumers to look carefully at the trade-off between time-saving convenience and cost, and to protect their right to make free, informed choices.  That's the goal of this second article of a proposed Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights.  Initially drafted in 1999, how would you update it for 2005 and beyond?  If federal regulations were finally changed to allow banks to provide residential brokerage services, would this language need to be expanded? 

DRAFT REAL ESTATE CONSUMER BILL OF RIGHTS

2. Right not to be coerced into using products or service providers.
No consumer should be forced, without the consumer’s full informed consent, into using any particular service or product. Consumers should especially be cautioned where the real estate professional may, by office policy, be required to act as a dual representative or shift services without the consumer’s full informed consent. Consumers have the right NOT to use real estate brokerage services and to “self-represent” if so determined by the consumer.

As written in an earlier blog post entitled, Cell phone bill of rights? Why not real estate?, The Real Estate Cafe will:

1. Use this blog to release one item a day over ten days as a starting point for a draft Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights;

2. If there is sufficient interest, we'll create a wiki and invite other real estate consumer advocates to to help create the draft Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights;

3. If there is sufficient interest, invite consumers to comment, edit, or add items to the draft Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights; and

4.  If our efforts are credible enough, we'll submit the draft Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights as written testimony at the upcoming hearing on anti-competitive practices in the residential real estate industry, cosponsored by the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission in Washington, DC on October 25, 2005.

We invite your comments online or by calling us at 617-876-2117 to leave a one to three minute sound bite (which we may include in an upcoming podcast).

Bill Wendel | 01:31 AM in Commission Reform, Dual Agency Detective, Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights, Unbundling the Commission | Permalink

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