November 06, 2008

RSVP: Private research LIVE from Realtors EXPO

Home buyers, sellers, and fellow real estate innovators:  Wish you could attend the National Association of Realtors convention in Orlando this weekend but can't?  Interested in participating virtually?

I arrive Friday mid-afternoon and plan to spend all four days visiting 500+ vendors at the Realtor Expo to identify "best of breed" money saving opportunities for home buyers and sellers. Last July, I acted as the LIVE BLOGGER at Inman New's ConnectSF08 and am willing to provide private market research reports LIVE from the floor of the exhibit hall for a few select clients.

Are there are any vendors or competitors on this interactive floor plan you'd like me to check out?

As in the past, I can provide feedback by phone, email, text. This weekend, I hope to experiment with video, live or recorded, as well as screen sharing and video conference calls.

Fees begin at just $25 – $50 per vendor you'd like me to investigate depending on the research question and how you'd like the results presented. That modest fee would cover 15 to 30 minutes, additional time is negotiable.

07:21 PM in Change Agents, Counterintelligence, Fee-for-service, FSBO: Best Practices, Market trends, Real Estate Blogs: Best Practices, Tech Trends, Timing the market | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 13, 2007

Will homebuyers create their own "Twitter posses"?

Powerofus_twitterposses Thanks to PBS.org's Idea Lab for introducing me to the phrase, "Twitter posse."  Their vision of reporters asking questions via Twitter reminds me of Real Estate Cafe blog posts about "home buyers turned embedded real estate reporters."  Three years ago, February 11, 2005, we said:

"...our goal is to help seed a new generation of "embedded real estate reporters" or citizen journalists."

A more pointed question, "Will mobloggers pop the real estate bubble?" followed on April 17, 2005, four months before the housing market peaked in Massachusetts and a year before we invited bubble bloggers and citizen journalists to contribute to our Real Estate Bubble Map.

We've only begun to scratch the surface of potential uses for Twitter in real estate, so why limit brainstorming about Twitter Posses to reporters?  Just substitute the word "home buyer" for reporter in the original Idea Lab post and you'll see that "homebuyer posses," "househunting posses," or "neighborhood posses" could become commonplace:

A potential home buyer could enlist a dozen or two dozen passionate, driven home buyers to serve as a kind of Twitter posse. Whenever she was about to tackle a big story or difficult interview, the home buyer could begin a mobile dialogue with fellow home buyers.

What I like about the concept: It brings a much-needed air of transparency to the house hunting process.  It expands the home buyer's field of vision.

Combine that with interactive mapping, or add Twitter posts to our Real Estate Bubble Map, and consumers could create a powerful new way to share market insights by typing 140 character messages into their smart phones as they tour open houses, drive through new neighborhoods, etc.

Any home buyers or sellers in Boston or elsewhere already using Twitter?  Any real estate professionals, particularly buyer agents, already organizing "househunting posses"?  (Any developers want to work on the idea?)  Post examples below, or @realestatecafe on Twitter.  You can follow our latest Tweets on our blog, or http://twitter.com/realestatecafe

10:33 AM in "We" companies, Bubble map, Extreme Househunting, Mapping, Moblogging in Real Estate, Real Estate Blogs: Best Practices, RECALL: Real Estate Consumer Alliance, Social Networking, Writing tools | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 01, 2006

Add properties to bubble map before "Un-conference"

Pbwiki_bubblemap Exactly one year ago today, the Real Estate Cafe participated in a radio broadcast entitled, "The Beginning of the End of the Bubble" which featured some of our recorded interviews.  Today, we celebrated that anniversary with more good news:  the leading real estate technology news service featured our real estate bubble maps as an example of "Real Estate 2.0."  Our interactive maps are getting attention because they allow users to post their own examples of a falling prices, particularly homes selling for below assessed value in Greater Boston.  We created the bubble maps because news reports, including one this evening, continue to point to modest declines in median prices as evidence of a "soft landing for the housing market.

If you share our belief that median prices are masking deep discounts on many properties, we invite you to add properties to document what's really happening at the street level.  Here's an example of what one homeowner has already done, plus a description of our "Tipping Policy": commission credits for paying clients who post properties to our map.

RealEstateBubbleMap.com, an experimental wiki authorized users can edit, will be presented as a case study Monday at an Un-Conference on Citizen Journalism at Harvard.  Before then, we invite you to post additional properties to the Boston bubble map if you live locally, or create your own local bubble map if you live in one of the 71 "extremely overvalued" housing markets nationwide. If there is interest, we'll host a Bubble Hour chat or conference call before, during, or after the presentation Monday for local clients, or real estate bubble bloggers and their readers nationwide.  Email us at RECafe@mac.com if you would like to participate.

10:50 PM in Bubble map, Market trends, Real Estate Blogs: Best Practices, Real Estate Bubble, Tech Trends, Writing tools | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 29, 2006

Using wikis to empower "do-it-yourself" homebuyers & sellers

Recafe_wikimenu_1"When it becomes time to make ideas real, wiki lets us keep playing while we work. Wiki is how we turn discussion into documentation, rap-session into planning-session, and meeting into collaboration--online."
James Carlson Director, Bucketworks

Exciting to read that the innovative folks at RainCityGuide in Seattle, one of the best real estate blogs in the nation, are also experimenting with wikis; but it appears we may be approaching the collaborative power of wikis from different starting points.  While RainCityGuide will be looking to fellow real estate professionals to collaborate on content, The Real Estate Cafe is looking to real estate consumers, both homebuyers and sellers.

On and off over six months, The Real Estate Cafe has been quietly building a "menu of wikis" with four to five main areas.  A snapshot of the current version of our main page, which is still password-protected, is shown above (click on image for larger view) or read text on the link below.  If you'd like in see where we're headed or explore collaborations, or just selling your own home "for sale by owner" in Massachusetts and want to learn more about the steps in the process -- wiki-style, email RECafe@mac.com.

If you're wildly excited about wikis, maybe we'll see you here in Cambridge, Massachusetts for WikiMania 2006.  Today (March 30, 2006) is the deadline for submitting a proposal to host a workshop or tutorial at this year's Wikimania.

Maybe RainCityGuide and The Real Estate Cafe (and potentially others?) can collaborate on a workshop comparing how real estate professionals and consumers on both coasts use wikis to meet their real estate needs.  Should be interesting to watch if this particular opportunity is really ahead of it's time as Dustin at RainCityGuide speculates:

"Another idea I have is almost definitely ahead-of-its-time, but could be interesting, is that anyone selling a home is free to create a webpage that describes their home on the.raincityguide.com. It will cost you nothing but time, and if you are creative enough, it might get you some interesting publicity."

MENU OF WIKIS (preview of http://www.realestatecafe.com/wiki/, currently password protected)

1. FSBOWIKI
FSBOSupportGroup.com members, let's create a FSBO resource center and coauthor a step-by-step knowledge-base and so thousands of people selling their own homes "for sale by owner" in Massachusetts can save money and save lives.

Steps in the "For Sale by Owner" process

2. REAL ESTATE CONSUMER BILL OF RIGHTS
Use this forum to continue drafting Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights;

3. INTELLIGENT REDESIGN
Invite participants in the yearlong Intelligent REdesign series to to use these resources or to add to them as they prepare their own proposals;

4. REAL ESTATE CONSUMER COMPLAINTS
Develop a comprehensive knowledge-base documenting anti-competitive policies and business practices in Massachusetts and across the country;

ARCHIVE

COLLABORATING ON TESTIMONY FOR DOJ / FTC HEARING
The goal of this Wiki section of the wiki was originally to collaborate on testimony for the DOJ / FTC hearing in October 2006. Now, it's ongoing goal is to invite real estate consumer to join real estate consumer advocates and real estate change agents from around the country to inform the government's ongoing legal proceeding against DOJ / FTC the real estate industry.

11:52 PM in "We" companies, Change Agents, Do-it-yourself, Inside The Real Estate Cafe, Real Estate Blogs: Best Practices, RECALL: Real Estate Consumer Alliance, Social Networking, Writing tools | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 12, 2006

Regional round tables discuss housing bubbles online & off

This morning, we learned that one of the leading real estate blogs in the country, Curbed.com, has been hosting a series of monthly real estate round tables to discuss the state of the housing market in New York City.  The Real Estate Cafe and other leading bubble bloggers in Boston began a similar series of collaborative chats 12 days ago, and we were thrilled that our first "Bubble Hour" generated 36 pages of content including over a dozen graphs.  Please let us know if you'd like to participate in the next Bubble Hour, and whether you would prefer to participate in an online chat or a offline meeting by emailing RECafe@mac.com. The Massachusetts Association of Realtors will announce their official February housing report on March 23, 2006.

Until then, you can help shape the content of the next Bubble Hour by posting your question below, or recording a message on our blog reader line (617-876-2117) for future use in our real estate podcast. We're eager to add more content to our real estate bubble "audio time capsule."  Field reports and market observations from home buyers and sellers in Greater Boston and across Massachusetts are most welcome.

09:58 AM in Bubble Hour, Market trends, Real Estate Audio Time Capsule, Real Estate Blogs: Best Practices, Real Estate Bubble | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 23, 2006

Boston bubble bloggers begin meeting OFFLINE

Fellow Boston bubble bloggers,

Over the past few months, a number of us have corresponded about getting together OFFLINE with other bubble bloggers in Boston / New England.  If getting together for one or both of the proposed events below make sense to you and your blog readers, feel free to pass this on or link to it.

1st Boston bubble blogger meeting:  Exploratory meeting for "citizen journalists"

Several Boston bubble bloggers have confirmed their participation in the following.  If your schedule permits, join us for any of these three:

1.  Starbucks (Mass. Ave & Wendell St. in Cambridge) from 6:30-6:55pm;
2.  Berkman Center (see link for location) from 7:00pm to 8:00 or 8:30pm.
3.  Optional discussion over coffee / dinner afterwards, (Maybe Darwin's, JohnnyDs, or another location.  Call cell phone 617-388-5818 to confirm.)

Berkman's guest speaker from Newsvine should help all of us get more visibility for our individual blogs and enhance our mutual goal, as independent citizen journalists, of informing consumers about real estate market trends in Greater Boston / Massachusetts.

2nd Bubble Blogger meeting:  Reviewing & analyzing MAR stats

The Mass. Association of Realtors (MAR) will be releasing their data on January sales on Tuesday, Febuary 28th.  Should we get together the same day or the day after to review and analyze their statement and what some are now commonly calling their "spin"?

I think we should invite the public to participate in this meeting, and even extend an open invitation to MAR, real estate professionals, and sellers who do NOT think there is a real estate bubble.  (FYI - MAR released a statement yesterday entitled, "Bay State housing market shows signs of returning to normal."

Ideally, we could meet somewhere with a wifi connection for laptops.  Better still would be a venue with a wall-sized projection screen.  I have a projector and screen, any suggestions for venues?

1.  Cambridge:  Darwin's, wifi but no projection screen room;
2. A hotel near MAR, easily accessible from Route 128 & Mass Pike (would require fee of about $150, but we might be able to get a sponsor or ask participants to share the cost);
3.  Other possible locations?  Please post in comments below, or send to recafe@mac.com.

As always, you can call our reader line at 617-876-2117 to record a comment for potential use in a future podcast. 

12:14 PM in Defensive Homebuying, Price trends, Real Estate Blogs: Best Practices, Real Estate Bubble | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

December 08, 2005

What's in a [real estate blog] name?

The excerpt below was sent to a fellow real estate blogger in San Francisco who wanted to know why The Real Estate Cafe named it's blog, "Counter Intelligence:"

"Over the past decade, we've used a handful of restaurant metaphors to communicate that we provide services to our clients "a la carte," and that we've encouraged our customers, clients, and any others to share their perspectives peer-to-peer to get a more insight into what's really happening in different segments of the real estate market in Greater Boston and beyond. 

In cafes, those kinds of conversations usually occur over coffee tables and sometimes at lunch counters.  Since the real estate industry puts out so much self-serving spin (see our recent blog post on the National Association of Realtors anti-bubble reports), we felt it is important to provide a forum for alternative perspectives, hence the name "Counter Intelligence." 

Call it anything you like, we're delighted when anyone visits our site, and doubly delighted when they share their opinion in writing or by calling our reader line, 617-876-2117, and recording a brief sound bite [for our real estate podcasts]. 

11:12 AM in Counterintelligence, Inside The Real Estate Cafe, Moblogging in Real Estate, Podcasts, Real Estate Blogs: Best Practices, Real Estate Bubble, Social Networking | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 11, 2005

Real Estate Blogs: "Post or Perish"

Blogpressure1_2For the past 50 days, The Real Estate Cafe has been living it's own case study, trying to find out whether blogging really influences how many people visit our site.  Yes, during our mini-sabbatical, we've been working on some exciting things behind the scenes and collecting lots of audio files for a podcast.  And yes, we were interviewed by the Center for Realtor Technology (even though we are NOT Realtors) for their report on blogging in real estate which was released today. But most importantly, we participated in RadioOpenSource.org's program on "The Beginning of the End of the Real Estate Bubble," and two clips from our real estate bubble audio time capsule were played on the national broadcast (which was their first on XM radio!  Exciting!)

Truth be told, we have also been suffering (at least tongue in cheek) from "Bloggers Depression."  But after reading this remarkable publication, complete with reassuring illustrations like the one above, it's a relief to know we are not alone and that we no longer need to suffer in silence!

So a word to the wise.  Any Realtors reading this who think they can jump into the blogosphere and see an immediate surge in their Google rankings and online leads, be forwarded that creating "the ultimate traffic-building tool," as the Center for Realtor Technology (CRT) calls it, may come at the cost:  your free time (what free time, right?) and mental health.  Posting daily takes discipline and diligence, and if you stop you may experience the same thing we have:

Our pageviews have dropped 90 percent in the last 50 days. 

Bottomline:  Consumers, both buyers and sellers, and looking for local experts who can provide timely, credible insight into their market.  In a town where "publish or perish" is the mantra for faculty hiring committees and junior faculty alike, the new buzz words for would be real estate bloggers is "post or perish." 

05:20 PM in Real Estate Blogs: Best Practices | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack