Monthly Archives: April 2008

Using Twitter to introduce home buyers to FSBOs

Marathonbuyers_042108This time of year, most real estate agents are helping sellers prepare their homes for the Spring housing market.  But as fee-for-service real estate consultants who specialize in representing buyers, The Real Estate Cafe wants to introduce our clients: 

  • To sellers BEFORE they list their homes in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), and
  • To homeowners who are selling "for sale by owner" (FSBO).

That’s why we celebrated the Boston Marathon Monday by updating some buyer profiles from our 1,000 Click Club, a highly-motivated group of buyer clients who have viewed at least 1,000 pages on the MLS.  If you’re a seller who falls into either category above, we’d be glad to introduce you to our buyers.  We assure you that our menu of fees are quite modest by comparison to traditional real estate commissions, and the potential savings are substantial.

For example, one of the buyer / sellers matches we helped earlier this year will save approximately $80,000.  We can’t guarantee those kinds of savings, but if you’re a seller who’s struggling to get your home ready for the Spring market, we can offer you three hours of decluttering / organization / home staging for just $99 for three hours (limited offer).  We’d also like to invite a limited number of sellers to attend one of our upcoming "for sale by owner" seminars, most likely in Arlington, MA or to schedule an in-home presentation.  (One of our dreams is to teach 50 to 100 sellers how to save $1 million as a group.  We passed that milestone for buyers during one recent 12 month period, see map of client savings).

We’ll publish more buyer profiles, special offers, and seminars for buyers and sellers in the future.  You can receive updates by following us on Twitter.com/RealEstateCafe

Posted in Extreme Househunting, Fee-for-service, FSBO: Best Practices, FSBO: For Sale By Owner, Savings & Rebates, Social Networking, Timing the market

Back to the future:

We bought our house in 1987, the year when values actually doubled in 12 months. Prices peaked in 1988, dipped in 1992, and began to rise again in the mid 1990’s. Some people who bought homes at the high prices of the late 1980’s and now want to sell are lucky if they sell their home for more than they paid. The cost of a real estate commission may make the difference between breaking even and losing money.

Do It Yourself Real Estate: How I bought and sold my homes without paying realty commissions
Barbara Smith

Posted in Uncategorized

New banner ad features map of client savings totaling over $1 million

Looking for feedback on our new banner ad directing Boston.com readers to a map of client savings totaling over $1 million during a recent 12 month period, plus a Wall Street Journal article featuring The Real Estate Cafe’s 100% commission rebate option. We’ll post a link to Boston.com’s newly redesigned real estate section after it goes live.


             

Posted in Do-it-yourself, Fee-for-service, Inside The Real Estate Cafe, Savings & Rebates

Copy Nader email

Greetings, Vote Nader.org,

Fifteen years ago today, Ralph Nader delivered a keynote address at a two-day conference in Boston called, "The Consumer Revolution in Real Estate."

Last year, I spoke with Ralph at a book signing at the Harvard Coop about releasing the content of his 1993 speech online.  He seemed interested at the time and invited me to follow-up.  To celebrate the 15th anniversary, I’d like to get written authorization to release both the text on the wiki below (which is password protected) and the video online?

http://realestatecafe.pbwiki.com/NaderSpeech1993
Please request access through wiki

With recent headlines about congressional efforts to rescue homeowners from foreclosure (see BusinessWeek article: The Plans to Save Underwater Loans" http://tinyurl.com/2v9kgh) and Ralph’s recent appearance on NBC to talk about fraud in the housing industry, I wanted to be careful not to release the text of the 15 year old speech or video clips without your knowledge and permission.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/23830011#23830011

Please let me know if there are restrictions or concerns about how and where the content can be used.  At a minimum, I would like permission to:

1.  Publish a link on the wiki to the full text;

2.  Publish selected paragraphs or quotes on blog, and / or wiki;

3.  Publish selected short video clips to blog, and / or wiki.

4.  Show the full video at a real estate round table with home buyers, sellers, and real estate  professionals.

If your team would also like to reuse the content for your own purposes, I would be glad to grant permissions and potentially explore collaborations.  As presidential candidates, congress, and others debate foreclosure intervention strategies, and propose reforms to prevent another trillion dollar collapse of the housing market in the future, perhaps Mr. Nader can call for a vigorous investigation of conflicts of interest in the residential brokerage industry and their costs to individuals and society. 

Here’s one example posted in my comment to  BusinessWeek’s blog post, "Bad Brokers:

    "My so-called buyer’s agent (who promptly switched roles at contract signing without explanation), initially advised me to bid $750,000 for my house of choice, which was listed at $699,900. When I told her that such an offer was beyond my price range, she was quite adamant that I not offer anything under the list price. When I finally backed out the deal because of her bait and switch scam, I later heard that the house in question sold shortly afterwards for $682,000–in other words, nearly $70,000 less than the bid suggested by my so-called buyer agent."

    "This type of price inflation (caused by seller’s agents masquerading as buyer’s representatives) must have a very distorting impact on housing costs. The economic fallout is enormous: ordinary citizens are forced to move out farther in search of decent, affordable places to live, which leads to a host of problems connected with traffic congestion, suburban sprawl, etc."

    "As I perceive it, the real estate cartel’s use of dual agency [a.k.a. "designated agency"], which works to the detriment of the average consumer while enriching dishonest agents through the practice of double-dipping, contributes significantly to the manifold problems we see in the residential housing market and therefore should be fully exposed."

BusinessWeek blog post:
http://tinyurl.com/2ryrdd

Bill


"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."
Former Chief Economist, National Association of Realtors

Bill Wendel
The Real Estate Cafe
Serving a menu of money-saving services since 1995
97a Garden St.
Cambridge, MA 02138
617-661-4046 office / cell
realestatecafe@gmail.com
http://twitter.com/realestatecafe
http://www.realestatecafe.com
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http://www.realestatecafe.pbwiki.com

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Posted in Uncategorized

DRAFT: April Fool’s Day 2008

Time to begin a discussion about systemmic flaws and conflicts of interest in the current real estate transaction, and cost of blind bidding wars, not just to individual buyers but to society. 

If attorney general office m

Two years ago: 

Is designated agency an April Fool’s Day joke?

http://realestatecafe.blogs.com/real_estate_cafe/2006/04/is_designated_a.html

RealEstateCafe

August 16, 2007 02:15 PM

What do real estate agents think about "bad brokers?"

http://tinyurl.com/2ryrdd

Speaking as a buyer agent, I hope it is just a matter of time before
the press begins asking if questionable real estate brokerage practices
contributed to the overvaluation of housing markets and unfolding
mortgage meltdown.

Here’s an example of another kind of "bad broker" from our blog post
entitled, Double Bubble: How counterfeit buyer agents inflated the
housing bubble:

"My so-called buyer’s agent (who promptly switched roles at contract
signing without explanation), initially advised me to bid $750,000 for
my house of choice, which was listed at $699,900. When I told her that
such an offer was beyond my price range, she was quite adamant that I
not offer anything under the list price. When I finally backed out the
deal because of her bait and switch scam, I later heard that the house
in question sold shortly afterwards for $682,000–in other words,
nearly $70,000 less than the bid suggested by my so-called buyer agent."

"This type of price inflation (caused by seller’s agents
masquerading as buyer’s representatives) must have a very distorting
impact on housing costs. The economic fallout is enormous: ordinary
citizens are forced to move out farther in search of decent, affordable
places to live, which leads to a host of problems connected with
traffic congrestion, suburban sprawl, etc."

"As I perceive it, the real estate cartel’s use of dual agency
[a.k.a. "designated agency"], which works to the detriment of the
average consumer while enriching dishonest agents through the practice
of double-dipping, contributes significantly to the manifold problems
we see in the residential housing market and therefore should be fully
exposed."

The homebuyer above concluded, "Isn’t there any investigative team
or media personage with the courage and tenacity to shed light on this
problem?"

Full blog post online at:
http://tinyurl.com/yp8ocw

Proof of concept: Managed competition:  Auto insurance

Posted in Commission Reform
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