April 22, 2006
Analyzing March housing data before official release
Calendar of Bubble Events in Boston
Tuesday, April 25
MAR releases March 2006 housing stats
The Massachusetts Association of Realtors will release their “official” housing stats for March 2006 on Tuesday April 25. If there is interest, we can begin our own “unofficial” calculations now using housing data from a number of sources including the MLS and registry of deeds. If you have a question you'd like us to try to answer, please post it to the comments section below, email it to RECafe@mac.com, or leave a message on our reader line: 617-876-2117. Space is limited for the next bubble hour, so please email us if you would like to participate online or in person. Transcripts from the last two bubble hours are available by request.
April 16, 2006
Buying or selling this Easter? Help bring someone back to life
$140 per year, or about 38 cents per day—that’s all it costs to keep someone alive now with AIDS medication in developing countries. For another 16 cents per day, you can keep a child alive based on estimates in a recent front page story in the New York Times: Slowly, Africa Starts to Care for AIDS Children.
In contrast, thousands of homeowners across Massachusetts save millions every year by selling their own homes "for sale by owner," and real estate rebates are becoming more common for buyers and sellers according to the Wall Street Journal. So is it unrealistic to talk about raising $1 million dollars between now and World AIDS Day, December 1st, 2006 to provide shelter subsidies for AIDS orphans? That’s the goal of the Million Dollar March. In time, we hope that an industrywide coalition of traditional and new moneysaving real estate businesses join ASAP (AIDS Shelter Alliance Partners) to create a multi-million dollar annual fundraising campaign. Are we dreaming? Not if ASAP can tap into the wealth created by the $2 trillion dollar a year residential real estate industry, and industry changes estimated to deliver $30 billion annually in consumer savings.
To learn how you can maximize your savings now, email RECafe@mac.com or call us at 617-661-4046 to schedule a 90 minute slideshow / FREE consultation. If we help you save thousands of dollars by selling your own home or working with a new moneysaving real estate business to buy or sell a home, will you help bring someone back to life this Easter?
April 02, 2006
Housing price seasonality in Massachusetts
Click on the graph above for a closer look at seasonal variation in median sales prices for single family homes across Massachusetts before making "The Big Move" this Spring, or you could be making a "Big Mistake."
Note, this graph helps explain why median sales prices in Massachusetts are down 9.5 percent from their peak last summer. Inflation-adjusted prices are down even further. Will median housing prices rebound this summer? That depends, in part, on offers made by overeager buyers in coming weeks. Peak sales prices in June reflect offers typically made in April and May. What's our advice? Make sure you're making the "Right Move," and don't mistake a marketing push for a market opportunity. Asking prices will soften after the 4th of July, when it's likely we'll see a record number of listings get the "Big reMove," and savings opportunities increase for the balance of the year.
April 01, 2006
Is designated agency an April Fool's Day joke?
See anything wrong with this picture? Too many brokerages in Massachusetts don't; that's why home buyers and sellers need to protect their financial interest by asking "their" real estate agency whom they represent. Yes, Massachusetts law requires real estate licensees to disclose their ageny relationship at the first personal meeting to discuss a specific property, but too often agents fail to comply with this mandatory regulation. Even when they do, those brokerages who see nothing wrong with designated agency have no obligation to explain potential conflicts of interest so buyers and sellers can make truly informed decisions.
That's why The Real Estate Cafe has argued, for years, for a public information campaign at the start of the Spring homebuying season to protect real state consumers. Why not use the Ides of March to warn buyers and sellers that designated agents can betray their financial interests? Why not use April Fool's Day to caution consumers not to fooled by designated agents?
Ten years ago, a state regulator participated in a consumer seminar at the "original" Real Estate Cafe to discuss a Wall Street Journal article entitled, "Will your agent become a dual agent?" With nearly 50,000 MLS listings on the market across Massachusetts and a changing -- if not falling -- housing market, it's essential to ask "your" agent the same question, and understand the financial implications of potential conflicts of interest.
If your agent does not present an agency disclosure form to you, email us at RECafe@mac.com and we'll send you one to protect yourself. Before you sign a designated agency consent form, download the consumer pamphet online and discuss the checklist of ten dual agency issues with "your" agent. If you're not satisfied with their answers, The Real Estate Cafe can refer you to a brokerage firm with zero tolerance for conflicts of interest.