October 15, 2007

Bono in Boston to challenge real estate industry to join (Product)RED?

Nextgen_redgrave_v1_2 Where is real estate's Steve Jobs? a leading real estate industry guru wrote yesterday, asking who real estate consumers can trust.

IMHO, a single visionary is unlikely to emerge and less likely to transform the trillion dollar real estate industry than the collective actions of like-minded innovators. In the absence of a formal coalition, maybe an outside influence, perhaps a world-class celebrity, can help push the industry past a tipping point. At least that's my hope with Bono's keynote speech tomorrow at the mortgage bankers' conference in Boston.

A Reuters headline says he's simply there to lure mortgage brokers to the event, but it's more likely he's there to challenge the real estate industry to get involved in (product)RED or create their own AIDS related fund raising campaigns. That was the subject of this blog post seven months ago:

Creating a real estate version of (product)RED

Regardless of what Bono says tomorrow, any change agents -- or home buyers and sellers -- who are interested in building a voluntary, industry-wide coalition to help real estate consumers save money AND SAVE LIVES are invited to use these resources as idea starters for their own cause marketing and fund raising ideas:

04:58 PM in "We" companies, ASAP: AIDS Shelter Alliance Partners, Change Agents, Commission Reform, Million Dollar March, Real estate philanthropy, Savings & Rebates | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 07, 2007

Gates call for "creative capitalism" stirs real estate philanthropy dream

After delivering his challenge today at the Harvard commencement, wonder what Bill Gates would think of the viability and fundraising potential of "Discount brokerages band[ing] together" to raise funds for AIDS orphans?

We can make market forces work better for the poor if we can develop a more creative capitalism—if we can stretch the reach of market forces so that more people can make a profit, or at least make a living, serving people who are suffering from the worst inequities. ...

If we can find approaches that meet the needs of the poor in ways that generate profits for business and votes for politicians, we will have found a sustainable way to reduce inequity in the world.

This task is open-ended. It can never be finished. But a conscious effort to answer this challenge will change the world.

Could start-up funds from the Gates Foundation seed a coalition of money-saving real estate business models, which could collectively capture a fraction of the estimated $30 billion dollars real estate consumers will save annually to save lives?  Here's my own real estate philanthropy dream. What's your response to Gates' call for "creative capitalism?"

08:43 PM in ASAP: AIDS Shelter Alliance Partners, Change Agents, Million Dollar March, Real estate philanthropy, Savings & Rebates | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 05, 2007

Creating a real estate version of (Product)RED

As real estate wealth has soared by trillions of dollars annually, the internet has made it possible for agents to realize unprecedented levels of success.  So maybe it shouldn't be a surprise that a lead story last week discussing the book Billion Dollar Agent, asked whether that sales threshold has become the real estate industry's new standard for success. 

Against that rising tide, other real estate innovators have chosen to compete on another measure of their success:  consumer savings.  In fact, a half a dozen who (like The Real Estate Cafe) have surpassed one million dollars in consumer savings were featured at a press conference hosted by the Consumer Federation of America in December 2006.

Could the industry's next measure of success be business models that help homebuyers and sellers save money AND save lives?  What it would take for the real estate industry as a whole or individual innovators to create a real estate version of (Product)RED, the highly visible fund raising campaign for the Global AIDS Fund?  Whether operating independently or from within that campaign, wouldn't donations from moneysaving or traditional real estate business models help (Product)RED turbo-charge it's mission?

To help seed that discussion and build some momentum, The Real Estate Cafe would like to invite billion dollar agents, alternative business models, as well as real estate consumers to begin brainstorming about how they can respond to the AIDS pandemic.  One possible response -- an annual, friendly fund raising campaign for AIDS orphans called "Million Dollar March" -- is described in an earlier blog post, "Building a Real Estate Philanthropy Dream, ASAP."  My hope is that real estate industry and millions of consumers will be inspired by the vision and passion Oprah's recent television special,"Building a Dream," to create and pursue their own philanthropic dreams.  Your ideas and examples of initiatives already underway are invited.

03:26 PM in ASAP: AIDS Shelter Alliance Partners, Change Agents, Million Dollar March, Savings & Rebates | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 01, 2007

Building a Real Estate Philanthropy Dream, ASAP

For many, March 1st is the unofficial kick-off of the Spring homebuying season, but for The Real Estate Cafe it's even more significant for three reasons:

1.  Twelve years ago today, March 1, 1995, The Real Estate Cafe signed it's original lease at 221 Concord Ave, Cambridge, MA.  With that leap of faith,we became the nation's first internet-based, walk-in housing information center.  At the time, high speed T1 internet connections were rare and no one -- not even real estate agents -- could access the MLS on the internet.

2.  We'd like to use that anniversary to take another leap of faith:  we'd like to invite you to help relaunch the Million Dollar March.  Originally submitted to the MIT Ideas Competition in September 2003, the proposed Million Dollar March is:

A friendly, annual fund raising competition to demonstrate how local communities across the United States and other countries can use real estate related revenues and savings from e-commerce real estate transactions to provide shelter subsidies for AIDS orphans through ASAP:  AIDS Shelter Alliance Partners.

This year we may use innovative collaboration tools like a wiki or SecondLife.com to invite thousands of homebuyers and sellers, as well as real estate innovators, around the country to participate in the campaign by (1) contributing their own ideas, (2) organizing their own local fund raising campaigns, and (3) signing donation pledges (see PledgeBank idea starters below).

Alumni fund raising model
Download ASAPledge_Harvard091906v3.pdf

Citywide fund raising model
Download ASAPledge_City091606v7.pdf

3.  For our part, The Real Estate Cafe is using our 12th anniversary to announce our new menu of fees, our first rate increase in approximately a decade.  But don't let that discourage you:  if you agree to donate 10% of your rebate to non-profit organizations, you can lock into our longstanding rate of $100 per hour.  (A minimum of $1,000 must be distributed to one or more non-profit organizations serving AIDS orphans through ASAP:  AIDS Shelter Alliance Partners / Million Dollar March.)  Why focus on AIDS orphans?  Watch the rebroadcast of Oprah's special "Building a Dream" this Saturday, March 3, or read this blog post on six "megaforces" facing the global community.

10:09 PM in ASAP: AIDS Shelter Alliance Partners, Change Agents, Million Dollar March | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 08, 2007

December sales below assessed value added to Real Estate Bubble Map

Looking for comps to substantiate a low-ball offer on a property in Greater Boston?  The Real Estate Cafe just added another 127 sales below assessed value, recorded in December 2006 across 25 of the most expensive cities and towns in Greater Boston, to it's award-winning real estate bubble map.   
We also posted a link to past housing price corrections to a national news site, which is looking for contributions from readers, presumably real estate professionals and consumers alike.  Your comments are welcome there, or below.

PS. Yesterday, the same news service mentioned our market research in a discussion about the advantages of working with small, independent real estate agencies:

Bill Wendel, owner of the Real Estate Cafe, a buyer’s brokerage firm in Cambridge, Mass., said it can help for small companies to take a marketing approach that is “upside-down or backwards.” As an example, he said, some real estate companies may brag about the volume of listed homes that sold for over $1 million, while Wendel’s company publishes a list of “Million Dollar Markdowns” with homes that were a good value for buyers.

02:31 PM in Bubble map, Market trends, Million Dollar March, Price trends, Real Estate Bubble | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 16, 2006

Buying or selling this Easter? Help bring someone back to life

Back2life $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 [email protected] 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?

12:28 AM in ASAP: AIDS Shelter Alliance Partners, Million Dollar March | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack