October 03, 2008

How will the Bailout Bill impact home buyers & sellers? txt your answer

If you're unable to join us at the TweetUp tonight at TogetherInMotion, One Broadway in Arlington, text your response to our Wiffiti board so anyone online or at the TweetUp can read your perspective. 

Send us an email if you'd like to participate in one of our upcoming Bubble Hours or "Fear of Foreclosure" support groups for anxious homeowners.

05:45 PM in Bubble Hour, Client Feedback, Consumer surveys, Defensive Homebuying, Real Estate Bubble, RECALL: Real Estate Consumer Alliance, Tech Trends | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 29, 2008

BUBBLE HOUR: Slowest real estate sales since 1991 got you cheering or crying in your beer?

Bubblehour_beergoogles1Bubble watchers in Massachusetts, time to pull out the beer googles and celebrate today's headline in the Boston Globe about the slowest pace in real estate sales since 1991 with a Bubble Hour?

Sellers, does the same news have you crying in your beer, prepared to drop your price again, or tempted to drop your real estate agent (once your listing contract expires, of course) and try "for sale by owner" this Fall? 

If you're one of the 15,000 sellers across Massachusetts who's listing has already expired, been canceled, or temporarily withdrawn from the MLS during the past two months, The Real Estate Cafe is eager to talk to you about selling for sale by owner, or help you evaluate and select your next listing agent

We've just returned from LIVE BLOGGING the leading real estate technology conference in San Francisco, and are eager to demonstrate new money-saving tools and web sites. Do-it-yourself home buyers and sellers, would you like to see those demos in a small group or a personalized one-on-one presentation?  We're eager to take advance reservations for a "FSBO Cruise" in Boston Harbor aboard the Yacht Starship: $99 includes a private, one-on-one presentation of our "FSBO on Steroids" seminar plus a lunch buffet with four-star cuisine.

Sellers:  we don't see the housing bubble through rose-colored glasses, so if you are intimidated by selling "for sale by owner," The Real Estate Cafe can prepare a "Listing Agent Report Card" instead and try to negotiate a reduced commission.  If you pay in advance for our analysis, we'll rebate one-third of our referral fee.

05:30 PM in Bubble Hour, Do-it-yourself, FSBO: Best Practices, FSBO: For Sale By Owner, Market trends, Real Estate Bubble, Savings & Rebates, Timing the market | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 17, 2008

If airlines have fare sales, should real estate agents? Part 2

Businesssuckssale Poking fun at the current cover story in Barron's Magazine, "Bottom's Up: This Real-Estate Rout May Be Short-Lived," Bill Apgar of the Harvard's Joint Center for Housing predicted, "There will be 10 articles a month [like that] until we hit the bottom, and the last one will be right."

When will it be the right time to buy?  That's what all The Real Estate Cafe's clients are asking.  Some of their house hunts began two years before the market peaked, and are now into the third year of falling prices.  Nearly 50 of our active buyers have looked at more than 1,000 MLS page views. Twenty-one have looked at more than 1,000 MLS pages in the past year alone, but only four of them have paid any fees to The Real Estate Cafe.

Unlike listing agencies who represent sellers and charge 5% to 6% commissions, or dot.com start-ups that are venture funded, The Real Estate Cafe pays it's overhead almost entirely from hourly consulting fees paid by clients.  With so many buyer waiting out the housing bubble, those fees have slowed to a trickle.  Now, after 13 years, we need your financial support.

We constantly look for ways to help you save money, by learning more about the housing bubble and the latest technologies.  Today, for example, we attended a seminar on State of the Nation's Housing and a Foreclosure Prevention Workshop. This weekend, we'll participate in PodCampBoston (for the third time.)  Next week, we'd like to participate in two real estate technology conferences in San Francisco:  REBarCamp and Real Estate Connect.

To do so, we need to raise $2,000 to $3,000 quickly.  You can help us, help you save money by selecting one of the following special offers:

Money-saving offer #1:  Fare sale
Repeat the Fare Sale we used successfully in 2007 to get two to three clients to prepay $500 to $1,000 in exchange for 1 to 3 hours additional work for FREE.  Email for details.

Money-saving offer #2:  Experiment with monthly fees
Introduce an optional monthly subscription fee. If you agree to pay $250 per month, we’ll slash our our consulting fees, normally $100 to $150 per hour, to $50 per hour for five hours—that’s a savings of 50% to nearly 70%! Like frequent flier miles, hours you prepay accumulate and you can use them any time you like.  Email for details.

Money-saving offer #3. Attend educational seminars
Host a technology debriefing after our trip to San Francisco to share best money-saving tools and tips from the two real estate technology conferences. We would like to host two events, one for buyers and the other for FSBOs ("for sale by owner") within 10 days of the conferences at TogetherInMotion, One Broadway, Arlington, MA.  $49 per household, per event.  Email for details.

Finally, your best savings opportunity may already be part of our normal menu of fees & rebates.  For example, one of our $3,000 flat fee options enables you to buy down our hourly consulting fee from $150 per hour (without retainer) to $75 for 40 hours - that's a 50% savings before payment of any performance bonus.  (Contact us for more details on this option and others.)

We encourage buyers to wait for the housing prices to correct, but don't wait to take advantage of these savings opportunities. Once we raise $2,000 to $3,000, they'll be gone.

10:25 PM in "We" companies, Bubble Hour, Client Feedback, Fee-for-service, FSBO: Best Practices, Housing forecasts, Inside The Real Estate Cafe, Price trends, Real Estate Bubble, Savings & Rebates, Tech Trends, Timing the market | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 08, 2008

Bubble Hour topic: Money magazine forecast 10.5% decline, SF home prices in Boston by May 2009

Glad to see the pundits agree with the people, again. Boston buyers - interested in a Bubble Hour to discuss this forecast in Money magazine's Real Estate Survival Guide, summarized today on Boston.com's real estate blog:

Boston is forecast to see a 10.5 percent decline in single-family home prices by May 2009. While that's slightly higher than the projected 9.7 percent decline for the nation overall, there are 35 metropolitan areas expected to see bigger declines. In the past five years, prices had increased slightly more than 13 percent in the Boston area, according to Money's calculations.

The other four areas included in the list are also expected to see price declines: Cambridge (8.5 percent); Peabody (8.8 percent); Springfield (9.5 percent); and Worcester (9.2).

Would One Broadway in Arlington -- near the Cambridge, Somerville, Arlington, and Medford lines -- be convenient for people, particularly parents who can bring the kids to play while adults talk?

Open to suggests on when and where to host this Bubble Hour, as well as future gatherings and topics.  Follow https://twitter.com/RealEstateCafe for updates on time and place, as well as other BUBBLE BITES.  Watch for link to upcoming story on slowdown in Cambridge housing market, too. Preview of market stats and custom research available "a la carte."  Call The Real Estate Cafe at 617-661-4046 or email for details.

12:51 PM in Bubble Hour, Defensive Homebuying, Housing forecasts, Real Estate Bubble, Timing the market | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 04, 2008

Organizing real estate rebels, educating home buyers & sellers

Unconference_051008_3 Richard Howe's blog post, "Urban Rebels," provided a timely opportunity to use the 4th of July to update our rallying cry for a consumer revolution in real estate.  Howe is Register of Deeds for the Middlesex North District in Massachusetts, and has written extensively about foreclosures and their impact on neighborhoods and communities. 

Excellent, timely post. With three million households behind on their mortgage payments, and a projected two million headed towards foreclosure, could the time finally be ripe for a consumer revolution in real estate?

Some of use have been talking about that for more than a decade, but as Glaeser writes, industry insiders have had "strong incentives to fight for their regime.”  (See WSJ editorial originally entitled "The Realtor Racket" and download study on "Bringing More Competition to Real Estate Brokerage.")

Collaborating with fellow real estate change agents, we hope to invite home buyers and sellers in Greater Boston to restart conversations begun 15 years ago at the “Consumer Revolution in Real Estate” at our experimental new location: One Broadway, Arlington, MA.

We’ll experiment with seminars, real estate round tables, and web site demos. I’m particularly excited about reviving our Bubble Hours and hosting support groups for FSBOs & households facing foreclosure. Perhaps you can join us at an upcoming real estate unconference, or even present a topic / lead a discussion.

11:13 AM in "We" companies, Bubble Hour, Change Agents, Commission Reform, Foreclosures, FSBO: For Sale By Owner, RECALL: Real Estate Consumer Alliance, Social Networking | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 11, 2008

NOW, what do you think will happen to housing prices in 2008 & beyond?

Please take a few minutes to update this survey of housing price expectations in Massachusetts after a week of negative housing headlines. This survey is being conducted independently by The Real Estate Cafe but we are eager to share the results with the press.

CLICK HERE, not photo below, to start survey:  What do YOU think will happen to housing prices in 2008 & beyond?

Bottomout_20082012_2

04:11 PM in Bubble Hour, Consumer surveys, Housing forecasts, In the News, Market trends, Price trends, Real Estate Bubble | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 20, 2007

Pre-testing consumer survey of housing prices in Greater Boston: 2008 to 2012

Crystalball_2008 Over the past three years, The Real Estate Cafe has blogged about the real estate bubble. Now we'd like to get YOUR opinion about what will happen to housing prices in Greater Boston and an update on your home buying plans for 2008.

Right now, we're only looking for a few respondents to help us PRE-TEST our survey.  Can you spare a few minutes?  Your feedback will help us better understand the market and better serve home buyers like you.

Privacy Policy: Survey responses will be tabulated as a group without attribution to individual respondents. Your identify is confidential will not be shared with anyone.

10:22 AM in Bubble Hour, Consumer surveys, Housing forecasts, Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights, Timing the market | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 16, 2007

Picnic-style Bubble Hour: "We're not in Kansas any more"

Crystalball_wizardoz What a week on Wall Street!  How soon will housing prices in Boston respond to the credit crunch?  That's the subject we explored in our blog post last night that's already been visited by more than 400 readers.  Many of them have come from a link on local favorite, BostonBubble.com, so we're inviting readers, Real Estate Cafe clients, and others to join us TONIGHT, Friday, August 17, 2007 for a picnic-style "Bubble Hour" at the Hatch Shell on Boston's Esplanade, just before the outdoor showing of the classic movie, "The Wizard of Oz."

As always, Friday Flicks are FREE and start at sunset (approx. 7:30pm, we'll start gathering around 6:00pm so we can share insights into the falling housing market).  If it is not obvious where we are, please call us.

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If you're a real estate professional, or just obsessed with money-saving real estate tools and toys, as we are at The Real Estate Cafe, join us for a real estate round table beforehand across the Charles River at MIT's Muddy Charles Pub (TENTATIVELY, approx. 4-6pm).  Bring your laptop so we can surf some of the hot new sites featured at Real Estate Connect in San Francisco.  We're also eager to begin brainstorming about the proposed real estate unconference this Fall in Boston.

If it is easier for fellow real estate professionals to meet earlier in the day, or in another venue (or to postpone the technology debriefing until another date, please use this wiki-style event planner to "Talk about it."

06:03 PM in "We" companies, Bubble Hour, Housing forecasts, Real Estate Bubble, Social Networking, Timing the market | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 26, 2007

'80's Flashback: Housing economists catch-up with bubble bloggers

Ma_map_1990prices Buyer agent peers -- yes BUYER AGENTS agents not listing agents -- said The Real Estate Cafe was being alarmist two years ago when we began blogging extensively about market trends foreshadowing yesterday's headline in the Boston Globe:  "Housing slump may rival late '80's."

In fact, the same day we recorded our first real estate bubble podcast, then director of the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs ducked a question about whether buyers could sue designated agents (a.k.a. counterfeit buyer agents) for failing to advise them that the housing market was overvalued.  Although buyers agents rolled their eyes at the time, yesterday's forecast plus one earlier this year by an MIT economist predicting another 20 percent decline in housing prices suggest the question was not off base.  Here's what one of my real estate consumer advocate friends in Texas predicts:

As some home owners get "upside down" on their equity, or lose their homes by foreclosure, you may start to see a rash of litigation against the real estate "agents" who sold them their homes.  Probably the vast majority of real estate agents acted as "buyer's agents" in the transactions, so there is likely the possibility some of these "buyer's agents" didn't really perform up to their expectation of "protecting" the interests of their "buyer clients." 

Didn't NEEP (New England Economic Partnership) predict a soft landing for the housing market two years ago, with prices declining just 3%?  Wonder if my buyer broker peers, and sellers across New England, have updated their assessment of the housing market, too?  Web-savvy home buyers:  Be sure to use a buyer agent (without a conflict of interest) to steer clear of bubble trouble and maximize potential savings -- both from commission rebates and falling housing prices.

01:13 PM in Bubble Hour, Housing forecasts, Market trends, Price trends, Real Estate Bubble, RECALL: Real Estate Consumer Alliance, Timing the market | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

April 26, 2007

Housing market to weaken through summer

Yesterday, Economist Mark Zandi predicted that the housing market would continue to weaken through the summer.  You can listen to WBUR audio clip online. Our weekly schedule is now online at 30Boxes.com. If you'd like us to discuss a topic you, in-person or online, you can post an educational event on our experimental wiki calendar, too.

01:37 AM in Bubble Hour, Defensive Homebuying, Housing forecasts, In the News, Price trends, Real Estate Audio Time Capsule, Timing the market | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack