Monthly Archives: November 2007

Mobile podcasting studio seeks to turn open houses into block parties

2070275096_c583934789_o1 Admittedly, an ice cream truck in Boston during the winter sounds a bit misplaced, but that’s why we’re using the "off-season" to convert this near-vintage vehicle into a mobile mapping / podcasting studio.

As we write a business plan and raise funds to repair the truck, we’re looking for creative partners, special event proposals, and a place to park the truck.  The vehicle is much traveled and much loved — think of it as the "Velveteen Rabbit" of ice cream trucks.  Some rust and needed repairs outside and in, but lots of makeover potential to become at least as appealing as this Hug Mobile.

We’re seeking 10 to 20 "Best of Breed," money-saving real estate web sites and local real estate partners (lenders, inspectors, closing attorneys, etc.) to cosponsor the truck and a menu of marketing opportunities — from site demos, to sidewalk seminars, to block parties and more. Our goal is to build a bridge between social networking sites and sidewalks by turning any open house into a block party.  (More details upon request.)   

Sorry we’ve missed the opportunity to serve hot chocolate during college tail gating season, but we’ll be ready next year. If things come together quickly, maybe we can do a "Homecoming Blitz" in time to cheer the Patriots from the playoffs to the Superbowl.  If we’re not ready in time for Christmas parties, the next marketing opportunity is Valentine’s Day 2008.  We’ve got lots of creative coop advertising ideas and invite yours as well.

Anyone interested in sponsoring a design contest to turn this ice cream truck into a drive-by block party?

Posted in "We" companies, Change Agents, Down home, Inside The Real Estate Cafe, Podcasts, Social Networking

Rebate Alert

Hand delivered $19,000 rebate to 1st client to select "$3,000 flat fee, plus performance bonus" from menu of fees 

Posted in Savings & Rebates

Comment on NYTimes has Bubble wrong?

Posted in Real Estate Bubble

Will real estate consumers organize into money-saving coops

No, not drawing on their experience of opening a real estate company,
but their legacy of being innovators and "change agents" in their own
respective professions. Contrary to the suggestion that Harvard &
MIT alum or too busy to be "do-it-yourself" home buyers and sellers, my
experience is that they are some of the most insightful and innovative
clients one could ever dream of serving. (In fact, we ALWAYS learn from
them!) No doubt, I wish they needed more help. The more help they need,
the more service we provide and the more money we get paid. As the
interent makes more self-service tools available, it has become
increasingly difficult to amass billable hours that total even one
percent of the price of homes those buyers are purchasing. Candidly,
makes look overpriced. Is that shameless self promotion, or
evidence that consumers are demonstrating how little help they need
these days.

I’d be glad to provide timesheets!  Can any of your full service, full-fee business you match that claim, too?

Guess who said:

“The next major revolution in real estate will be fee based
services replacing the blanket commission pricing that has dominated
the industry for so long.”

It was the National Association of Realtors’s own Former Chief
Economist, John Tucillo, AND it was a decade ago. So I repeat the
question, "What will take for real estate consumers, regardless of
whether they have Ivy League educations or not, to organize into
money-saving real estate coops?

I think that American icon of frugality Ben Franklin would say
enlightened self-interest. So how should a real estate agent respond?
Again, I quote Ben:

The best way to become rich is to enrich others.

I don’t expect the Harvard Alumni Association (HAA) to come banging
on my door just because one of their alumni will be getting a $20,000
rebate from my company tomorrow (see web link related to this point).
But if other companies adopt the "community commission" described
below, and a portion of rebates are donated legally, my guess is that
it will not be long before some alumni fund raising office figures out
there "thar’s gold in them thar’ real estate rebates! Before you know
it, there will be RFP’s (requests for proposals) inviting money-saving
business models to join a preferred vendor list.

With a few connections, that coalition of service providers might
find themselves with a link to HAA’s home page, someday, too. If you
think I’m, blowing smoke, check out what Northeastern Alumni are
already doing on HomeGift, another Boston-based innovator:


Posted in "We" companies

The Little Rebate that Roared

Referral fee rebate

Posted in Uncategorized

If airlines have fare sales, should real estate agents?

Businesssuckssale_2 If airlines have fare sales, should real estate agents?  We think so.  We understand buyers are waiting for prices to fall, but candidly, that’s translated into a cash flow crisis for The Real Estate Cafe.  Still, as one of the nation’s first fee-for-service real estate concepts we’ve had the experience to develop a menu of fees and rebates to get through slow times.  The key is offering compelling saving opportunities for clients — so compelling, we hope at least one new or existing client decides to select one of our "flat fee" options the next three days.  So, if you think you’ll be buying a home in the next six months and want to "buy down" your hourly consulting fee, we’d be glad to explain how you to save up to $75 per hour.  (Current client case study available upon request or just read what the Wall Street Journal said about our 100% rebate options.).  If our $3,000 to $5,000 flat fee options are beyond your budget, consider these SPECIAL OFFERS:

  • Prepay for 5 hours of consulting service ($500), get one hour FREE ($100 savings). 
  • Prepay for 10 hours of consulting service ($1,000), get three hours FREE ($300 savings).

Limited to the first three existing or new clients to respond. 

Posted in Commission Reform, Fee-for-service, Humor, Inside The Real Estate Cafe, Savings & Rebates, Timing the market

Rebut: NAR predicts Greater Boston home prices to rise as much as 10.8% in 2008

Posted in Real Estate Bubble

All Saints’ Day debate: Should sellers bury St. Joseph statues?

Earlier this week, a
friend sent an article from the Wall Street Journal about burying St. Joseph statues entitled, "When It Takes a Miracle To Sell Your House."  As show in the image above, the
story was the MOST EMAILED link on the Wall Street Journal, five
rankings ahead of Google’s new G-Phone.  Amazing, and amazingly
misguided IMHO.

Over the past few years, I’ve blogged repeatedly about the practice (click on "Continue reading" below for links).  In 1998, my initial objections were stated in a well-researched article, which journalists may find worth reading, entitled, "Beyond Superstition: Doing Justice to the ‘Just Man’."  Nearly a decade later, I created an interactive map called "St. Joe 2.0:  Geography of Faith" where anyone who believed in the practice could document their prayer experiences to St. Joseph and others could propose alternative spiritual practices.

after a Catholic conference on Social Justice was canceled in Boston
for lack of interest, my blog posts became more pointed: "Social Justice for Real Estate Dummies."

Unlike NPR’s Talk of the Nation which kicked off their program "Selling Your Soul to Sell Your House" with an interview about St. Joseph, the Wall Street Journal told their audience that some Catholics are offended by
the practice of burying St. Joseph statues upside down because they
believe it is superstitious.  Some Catholic bookstores objective to
selling the statues for the same reason.

For years, I’ve thought about offering a "St. Joseph Statue Buy-Back Program."  An employee of one local religious book store expressed an
interest in exchanging statues for coupons to buy books which would give real insight into Catholic teachings.  My recommendation, on this celebration of All Saints’ Day, would be The Saints’ Guide to Happiness.  (The author, Robert Ellsberg, was a classmate at Harvard and is the son of Daniel Ellsberg.)

Looks like the WSJ blog post is generating some heated discussion.  I’d love to invite anyone who wants to take a more positive approach towards "reinventing" this misguided devotion to St. Joseph to consider
our fund raising campaign for AIDS orphans or to propose their own ideas to the honor patron saint of the Catholic church and Social
Justice.  Isn’t it time sellers, real estate agents, and the press do justice to the "just man"?  Your comments are most welcome here or on our wiki.

Posted in In the News, Real estate philanthropy, Spiritual Home
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