Monthly Archives: October 2005

Asking prices in Boston falling faster than anticipated?

A post yesterday on Business Week’s real estate blog entitled "Home price danger zones" once again cited Boston as the nation’s most vulnerable housing market, according to PMI Group’s quarterly survey of major housing markets.  In the past, the good news for sellers has been that "House prices are sticky, so moving to another phase in the real estate cycle can be a slow process," as the BusinessWeek blog reports.  However, that conventional wisdom comes from real estate cycles before the Internet era

Will housing markets correct more quickly, when millions of consumers can access current market trends instantly online?  No one knows yet, but there are signs that asking prices in Boston are falling faster than anticipated.  Asking prices in 16 suburban towns dropped nearly 15% in recent months according to MLS stats cited in the Weston Town Crier, and a Boston real estate agent who blogs has began speculating about what would happen if prices in the city drop by 10%.

The fact that home buying plans have plunged nationwide to their lowest point in a decade and locally unsold listings are expiring at a record pace could make home prices fall more quickly, too.  What’s your take?  You can post your comment here, or call our reader line at 617-876-2117 to record a one to three minute sound bite that we may use as a podcast episode in our Real Estate Bubble Time Capsule.

Posted in Market trends, Real Estate Bubble

Christopher Fox Economic Views: I think we’re turning Japanese

Posted in Real Estate Bubble

Do home buyers and sellers have the right to free choice without fear of discrimination?

In a democracy that values personal and economic freedom, doesn’t this third point of the proposed Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights seem obvious (or to quote the Declaration of Independence, "to be self-evident")?

DRAFT REAL ESTATE CONSUMER BILL OF RIGHTS

3. Right to be respected as an individual. 
Consumers of real estate services vary as to particular real estate
needs. There should be no difference in the way an individual is
treated by a real estate professional especially if that individual
chooses not to be represented or chooses to use a real estate
professional whose services offered may be different in custom or
practice from other real estate professionals.

To the contrary, real estate consumers who exercise their right to choose "alternative" real estate service providers, like new flat-fee MLS listing services, run the risk of discrimination.  The same is too often true if they list their own properties "for sale by owner."  Those are the kind of the complaints that the United States Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission are likely to hear on October 25th when they host their public hearing on anti-competitive trade practices in the residential real estate industry.  If you’ve been a victim of this kind of discrimination, we’d like to hear about it.  Exercise your own free speech by (1) posting your comment below, (2) sending a private email to recafe@mac.com, (3) recording a message by calling The Real Estate Cafe at 617-876-2117;

Or best of all, exercise your freedom of speech AND assembly by (4) logging onto Essembly.com to nominate your own idea for the proposed Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights using the discussion boards there for home buyers and home sellers.  We look forward to hearing from you!

Posted in Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights

Virtually annoying – The Boston Globe

Posted in Uncategorized

Paul Krugman on NPR in Boston

Google search: “paul krugman” AND “real estate bubble” “housing bubble”

Posted in In the News, Real Estate Bubble

Teaching points from Best of Breed real estate blog

Wow, just discovered a new best of breed real estate blog with lots of teaching points, intelligent posts, and good / timely data: .

1.  Their market updates were the first thing to catch my eye.  Google and other search engines, not to mention buyers and sellers LOVE information, which is probably why this post was picked up by HousingBubble2:  Northern Virginia Real Estate Guide: UNOFFICIAL September Data.  These guys have posted 20 market updates, which appears to be about 14/ to 1/5th of all their listings.  (Curiously, they have nearly as many featured listings.)

2.  Reading their "Agent or Consultant" post made me think we are fellow real estate consultants, rather than traditional listing agents:

3.  Next, looks like they share our experience when you can talk intelligently about the housing bubble.  Why do blogs who post about the real estate bubble get so many hits? 

We are one of the few (or only) agents that provide data and commentary
on the real estate market in Loudoun County, Virginia via our blog. Our
commentary is based on trends in data, anecdotal evidence picked up
from talking to other local agents as well as our own real world
observations. We don’t sugar coat it.

4.  If you love real estate statistics, got to love their graphs and charts.  Wonder if they are creating their own graphics, or lifting them from MRIS?  Particularly the market snap shot?

5.  Finally, their clients only blog section is intriguing.  We could do the same easily since I routine post items to the GroupHub for clients, that never make it to the full blog because they are too rough.  We should checkout how they organize the client information to see if there is a way for us to get clients to talk to each other, either in person or online.

Posted in Real Estate Blogs: Best Practices

Google says #1 for Massachusetts Real Estate Blogs

Link: Real Estate & Mortgage Blogs.

Sooz,

This site comes up first when you use Google Blog Search.  Think we should review some of the blogs they link to and ad them to our own list?

Posted in Uncategorized

Rate My Host Blog

Link: Rate My Host Blog.

Get A Top 10 Ranking Without Paying A Cent
Thursday, October 13, 2005, 09:11 AM – News
Get A Top 10 Ranking Without Paying A Cent
By Glenn Murray : SEO Copywriter & Article PR specialist *

If there’s one thing that Google loves, it’s content. Done right, a content rich website is almost guaranteed to rank highly. But how to get that content? You can write it yourself, but that takes a lot of time. You can pay an SEO copywriter to write it for you, but that takes a lot of mon�y. If only there was another option…
What if you could get your content for fr�e? And not just a little bit of content; a lot! What if you could get an almost unl�mited supply of keyword rich, expertly written content, specific to your subject matter, absolutely fr�e of charge? Would you snap it up and upload to your site in an inst�nt? Of course you would! Well here’s the good news: you can! Read on to find out how you can get a top ten ranking in the search engines without paying a single cent…

Yes, Content Gives You A Great Ranking

Content is king. This is widely acknowledged as fact, but if you need further convincing, consider the following two points:

Point 1 – In Google’s own words, one of the keys to a high ranking is to "create a useful, information-rich site" (from Google Information for Webmasters.

Point 2 – Google insider, codenamed ‘Google Guy’, advocates a list 26 steps to building a high ranking site. Step 5 of the list says, "build one page of content and put online per day at 200-500 words" (from Brett Tabke’s 26 steps to 15k a Day,/a>, advocated by Google Guy in a WebMasterWorld QA session.

But Why Does Content Give You A Great Ranking?

I won’t go into any further detail about IF Google loves content. I will, however, briefly explain WHY. Google’s love affair with content is based on two key attractions:

1) Google loves sites with a lot of content because it assumes they provide a lot of useful information. And remember, that’s the whole reason Google exists – to help people find useful information. The more helpful Google’s results, the more traff�c (and revenue) it gets.

2) Google loves sites that have a lot of links pointing to them because this means other webmasters hold your site in high regard, and Google assumes this means the content is useful. And naturally, if you create a useful site, other webmasters will link to it because this makes them useful to their visitors (thereby developing site loyalty), and they gain credibility and authority because they’re associated with you.

Posted in Uncategorized

Rate My Host Blog

Link: Rate My Host Blog.

Audio Marketing

Adding audio to your order page could catapult your sal�s by 437%. Audio makes your message much more personal and adds to your credibility. People also like to associate a face with a voice. Place a small picture above your recording and see how this affects your sal�s conversions.

Posted in Uncategorized

Shouldn’t real estate consumers be free to choose based on informed consent?

Surveys conducted by the real estate industry over the past decade repeatedly find that some consumers want the convenience of one-stop shopping.  In response, real estate consumer advocates advise consumers to look carefully at the trade-off between time-saving convenience and cost, and to protect their right to make free, informed choices.  That’s the goal of this second article of a proposed Real
Estate Consumer Bill of Rights.  Initially drafted in 1999, how would you update it for 2005 and beyond?  If federal regulations were finally changed to allow banks to provide residential brokerage services, would this language need to be expanded? 

DRAFT REAL ESTATE CONSUMER BILL OF RIGHTS

2. Right not to be coerced into using products or service providers.
No consumer should be forced, without the consumer’s full informed
consent, into using any particular service or product. Consumers should
especially be cautioned where the real estate professional may, by
office policy, be required to act as a dual representative or shift
services without the consumer’s full informed consent. Consumers have
the right NOT to use real estate brokerage services and to “self-represent” if so determined by the consumer.

As written in an earlier blog post entitled, Cell phone bill of rights? Why not real estate?, The Real Estate Cafe will:

Posted in Commission Reform, Dual Agency Detective, Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights, Unbundling the Commission
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