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October 04, 2005

Cell phone bill of rights? Why not real estate?

BorrowersbillofrightsYesterday, news outlets in Boston began reporting that Massachusetts legislators had introduced the first Cell Phone Bill of Rights in the nation.  (A simple Google search seems to challenge that, as a similar bill was introduced in California a year and a half ago; but that's a side point.) 

The $2 trillion dollar a year question is:  "Why is it that consumer advocates and legislators in progressive states like Massachusetts and California can rally around feel good legislation, like MASSPirg's Cell Phone Users' Bill of rights, but neither state has been a first mover on a Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights?"  To my knowledge, no real estate consumer bill of rights exists at the state or federal level, despite Consumer Union's (non profit publisher of Consumer Reports) calls for one 4.5 years ago in Congressional hearings on banks entering the real estate brokerage business. 

Yes, there are tens of millions of cell phone users nationwide (which is probably why WBUR hosted a talkshow in November 2003 called Cell phone nation), but don't most cell phone plans cost less than a $1,000 per YEAR?  Compare that to real estate.  Mortgage payments of less than $1,000 per MONTH in Massachusetts or California are rare to non-existent.  The most expensive "smart phones" cost about $500, and it's nearly impossible to find a single-family home in many communities in Massachusetts and California for LESS THAN $500,000!

Do the math.  Doesn't that suggest that a Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights would be a thousand times more important than a cell phone bill of rights?  So, what would it take to get a Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights going, who should cosponsor it, and what would you like to see included?  To get started, what can real estate consumer advocates learn from borrower's bill of rights developed at the state and federal levels? 

Over the next ten days, we'll blog about 10 things that might be included in a Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights.  If we create enough momentum, we post those ideas into a wiki, and invite readers to coauthor a draft bill of rights.  If it is credible enough, we'll submit it 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 you to post your comments on this blog, or call us at 617-876-2117 to leave a one to three minute sound bite (which we may include in an upcoming podcast).

Bill Wendel | 07:09 PM in Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights | Permalink


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» Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights from The FSBO Blog
The Real Estate Cafe has started a 10-day series of posts proposing a Real Estate consumers Bill of Rights. If it is credible enough, theyll submit it as written testimony to the upcoming (October 25, 2005) Competition Pol... [Read More]

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» Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights from Real Estate Blog Squad
The Real Estate Cafe has started a 10-day series of posts proposing a "Real Estate consumer's Bill of Rights." If it is credible enough, they'll submit it as written testimony to the upcoming (October 25, 2005) Competition Policy and the [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 6, 2005 11:20:43 AM


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The issue with the real estate bill of rights is that real estate is substantially different than cellular phone service. Cell service is basic in that it is two way communication that is regulated through federal agencies. Real estate is a multi-facited transaction that involves multiple entities including owners, agents, brokers, title companies, insurance groups, local municipalities, city planners, federal agencies, financial groups and public investment organizations. With all of these stakeholders, creating a reasonable and fair bill of rights for real estate is extremely difficult.


Posted by: Randall Wilson | Feb 6, 2006 12:46:19 AM

http://www.HomePriceMaps.com integrates how much homes SOLD for nationwide using the google mapping technology. Simply select city and state from the city menu and click search. If you don't see data for your area simply email [email protected] with your zipcode and or address and they'll update the site with your info and email you within a few days.

Are you a real estate professional looking for a way to map your listings? Check out the www.HomePriceMaps.com website and if you like what you see email [email protected]

Posted by: abe hoffman | May 16, 2006 2:51:07 PM

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