We found – 28 articles for Bill of Rights

WSJ exposes privacy issues in real estate, need for Consumer Bill of Rights

For homebuyers, sellers and homeowners, National Consumer Protection Week (3/3-9/19) started early.  Today, a headline in the Wall Street Journal exposed yet another wave of Facebook privacy violations — this time revealing that Realtor.com sent Facebook “…the location and price of listings that a user viewed, noting which one were marked as favorites.”

Real Estate Cafe has been writing about the need for real estate consumer bill of rightsinformation fiduciaries, and a new deal on real estate data for years but the urgency has never been front page news until today.

Surveillance Capitalism in Real Estate

My hope as a real estate consumer advocate is that this is where the investigative reporting and regulatory responses begin.  Consumers, including millions of house hunters and every household in the nation, would be surprised — maybe shocked — to learn how real estate apps track their personal data and sell them as leads.  In some cases, apps track online behavior and access financial data to score buyer leads.  In other cases, predictive (some would say predatory) apps track data to identify who is most likely to sell.  Most troubling, other apps boast Stalker 2.0 functionality that can track emails of past clients and flag those that are going through some kind of life transition that might become a business opportunity for their clients.

Real estate apps not only track personal data, in-house dashboards used by mega-brokers allow them to see confidential information on both sides of the transaction so they can sell properties before they are listed on the MLS and collect a double payday. Not just sell properties, but potentially manipulate over-eager buyers in BLIND bidding wars.  See the discussion on need for a bidding war backlash.

Hopefully, these practices underline the urgent need to address real estate and smart home use cases in the scope of national privacy legislation being considered by the US Congress.

Need for Information Fiduciaries 

A diagram of Zillow’s “Living database of all homes,” which includes personal data about homebuyers, sellers, renters, and homeowners, shows the massive scope of their empire and raises questions about consumer privacy.  Their aggressive new push into flipping homes complicates that with questions about conflicts of interest.  Both underline the need for disclosures and privacy protections modeled on the European Union’s GDPR — General Data Protection Regulation.

022C005F-E1A4-472D-88A1-870437F19F0A

Over the past two years, RE2020 — an OPEN collaboration site dedicated to cocreating a new money-saving real estate ecosystem — began threads to protect consumers:

1.  Update of the Homebuyer Bill of Rights, #REBillOfRights, originally drafted in 20 years ago;

2.  Extend agency duties beyond the real estate transaction to the need for Information Fiduciaries.

This exchange between Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Harvard Law professor Jonathan Zittrain underlines the need for information fiduciaries:

What we do know is that Mark Zuckerberg seems confused by his own company’s actions. Asked by Zittrain about his pet idea that Facebook be expected to act as a “information fiduciary” where it is morally and legally responsible to look after people’s data in their own interests, Zuck replied: “The idea of us having a fiduciary relationship with the people who use our services is intuitive.”

But he then argued that the company’s “own self-image of ourselves and what we’re doing is that we’re acting as fiduciaries and trying to build services for people.” Which will be news to anyone that has been following Facebook’s concerted and persistent efforts to hide what information it gathers, and what it does with that information.

Zuckerberg even gave an example of what would be going too far: “If you want to talk in metaphors, messaging is like people’s living room, and we definitely don’t want a society where there’s a camera in everyone’s living room.” To which, of course, Zittrain pointed out that Facebook is literally selling a new device, Portal, that is an internet-connected camera for people’s living rooms. Zuck sort-of recovered by noting that his device uses encryption.

Congressional hearing & local events

In less than a week, the US Senate Committee on Commerce will host a public hearing to “examine what Congress should do to address risks to consumers and implement data privacy protections for all Americans.”  Their press release says “In an age of rapid innovation in technology, consumers need transparency in how their data is collected and used.”  That’s like a sports team only playing defense, but an understandable role for regulators.  On the offensive side of the ball, innovators in the private sector will eventually cocreate a real estate ecosystem that empowers consumers to manage and monetize their personal data to save an estimated $30 billion dollars annually.  That part of our call for a “New Deal on Real Estate Data”, aka #NewDealREData

Eager to connect with fellow consumer / privacy advocates who are open to that vision  and want to set the emerging real estate ecosystem on a Real Estate Consumer Bill of Digital Rights.  If the hearing is broadcast on C-Span, want to host a watch party on Feb 27th in Boston, perhaps at Harvard’s iLab or Smith Center in Harvard Square?

http://bit.ly/DataPrivacyHearing (share via social media)

Just learned of an event at Harvard’s Berkman Center on Feb. 26, 12-2pm entitled, Waking Up to the Internet Platform Disaster.  Let’s use that event to revisit how we can use NCPW to expose real estate as the sleeping giant of the consumer movement.

http://bit.ly/DigitalWakeUP (share via social media)


Footnote:  Thanks to Pat Rioux, former Buyer Agent, Listing Entry-Only pioneer in Massachusetts for catching with the tweet below.  Affectionally known among real estate consumer advocates as Ms. Information, Rioux is now a health data expert, and we hope she continues to keep an eye on privacy issues at the intersection of Health & Housing data.  Hope you can see, this is worse than we thought!

 

Posted in Consumer protection, Defensive Homebuying, Dual Agency Detective, HousingID, IntentCasting, Personal data, Privacy, RE2020, Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights, RECALL: Real Estate Consumer Alliance, Tech Trends, VRM | No Comments »

Controversial practices used by incumbents & innovators renew call for Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights

Redfin_Switch

“Upstarts are beating incumbents at their own game” the headline shouted this morning in a leading #RETech news service; but within minutes, comments fired back with a screenshot raising questions about controversial business practices.

http://bit.ly/RETables

Privately, real estate consumer advocates have shared unrelated video with regulators documenting misrepresentations made by another real estate giant. With an FTC / DOJ workshop on anti-competitive business practices on June 5, the stakes are high in this incumbents vs #REStartUps battle – a potential $30 BILLION dollars annually in consumer savings.

If practices used by incumbents and startups are both raising questions, what’s the best way for ordinary consumers to decide who’s right and who’s wrong? Understand and assert your rights, consumer rights.

Against that backdrop, it is both ironic and appropriate that this controversy is unfolding on the 17th anniversary of the call for a Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights. On May 1, 2001 a petition signed by 38 real estate consumer advocates was submitted to the Federal Reserve Board to form a Real Estate Consumer Alliance and draft a Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights:

http://bit.ly/RECALL2001

The next day, an attorney for Consumer Union, the non-profit publisher of Consumer Reports, echoed the call asking “Are consumers being treated fairly by real estate brokers? Are commissions priced fairly?” in his testimony before the Committee on Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit.

As mega-brokers morph into data companies and Facebook failings underline the need to protect personal data and privacy, let’s use the anniversary to update the #REBillOfRights. Here’s a partial history of attempts to draft a real estate or homebuyer bill of rights, including one by Redfin, dating back to 1999:

http://bit.ly/REBillRights

While some may prefer to focus on playing defense against unfair and deceptive business practices, other innovators outside the real estate industry are eager to help consumers leverage new digital “superpowers” to manage their digital identity and save money. To join that open collaboration, visit #RE2020:

http://bit.ly/ConsREvRights

Join us virtually or in person at ImpactHub Boston’s Open Project Night, this evening at 50 Milk St in the Financial District, 6:00-8:30pm.

http://bit.ly/BosOPN_May2018

Posted in Consumer protection, Defensive Homebuying, Designated Agency, Disrupt Real Estate, DIY Homebuyers, Dual Agency Detective, Fee-for-service real estate, HousingID, Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights, RECALL: Real Estate Consumer Alliance | No Comments »

Consumer Protection Week: Got Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights?

Borrowers Bill of Rights

Are the stars aligning?  Two weeks after the White House issued a blue print for a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is participating in its secondNational Consumer Protection Week.  Time to revisit the Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights first published in 1999?

As bubble-weary house hunters ask if 2012 will mark the bottom of the housing market, the need to protect them from another boom / bust cycle or simply overpaying for their home through manipulative, blind bidding wars is, IMHO, a moral imperative.

Background

Eleven years ago, The Real Estate Cafe played the lead role creating a Petition which causedConsumer Union, publishers of Consumer Reports, to call for a Home Buyer Bill of Rights in Congressional testimony in May 2001.  We’ve blogged about rights and reformsrepeatedly since then, and invited fellow real estate consumer advocates to use our wiki to update a working version of the Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights on the 5th & 10th anniversaries of the Congressional tesimony.

Here’s a short history of the Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights as we know it.  Can any readers help us turn this into an interactive timeline?

Call to Action

Some predict 2012 will be the Year of Customer Activism. What do we need to do to make that happen in real estate?

Can we use the Nation Consumer Protection Week hashtag, #NCPW to invite home buyers and sellers around the country, plus real estate consumer advocates like the Consumer Federation of America (@ConsumerFed) and Consumer Advocates in American Real Estate (CAARE.org) to seed conversations about protecting real estate consumers in local housing markets?

Why?  Because housing prices have fallen back to 2001 levels, and we cannot afford — as individuals or a nation — to see another decade of wealth wiped out by the repeat a boom / bust cycle.  Since residential real estate brokerage practices are outside the regulatory scope of the CFPB, and state regulatory agencies are dominated by Realtors, it’s essential to ask consumers what they think the Top 10 issues are facing them as home buyers and sellers.

The Real Estate Cafe made it’s first list of the Top 10 Consumer Issues in Real Estate in 1995, and have updated it periodically.  Since housing prices have lost a decade, want to know what we called the Best & Worst of 2002 from the real estate consumer’s perspective?

dont-be-fooled-again-best-worst-of-2

PS.  Trying to decide whether it makes sense to rent or buy?  An NPR talkshow recently discussed challenges younger homebuyers face entering the housing market at this time. Here’s our comment.  Yours, of course, are welcome below or via Twitter @RealEstateCafe

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Call for Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights expanding?

Hearthatcall
Glad to read that fellow real estate innovators are blogging about a real estate consumer bill of rights and that a CNN reporter may be working on a story.  Given that, maybe it would be worthwhile for readers to collaborate on a short history of efforts to create a Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights.  Since everyone in Boston is talking about the “Rolling Rally” today for the World Champion Red Sox, hope you don’t mind if I use a baseball metaphor to categorize time:

1st Inning:  To my knowledge, Erle Rawlins, a buyer agent / consumer advocate in Dallas, Texas wrote the first draft of a real estate consumer bill of rights in 1999.  A working draft is currently online on The Real Estate Cafe’s wiki.  Our goal is to invite the public to comment and coauthor on the wiki.

2nd Inning:  Two years later, in May 2001, a coalition of leading real estate consumer advocates nationwide — including buyer agents, fee-for-service consultants, and for sale by owner publishers — cosigned a petition calling for a Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights which Consumer Union, publishers of Consumer Reports, echoed in their testimony in Congressional hearings on banks as brokers:

“We also call on Congress to hold hearings on the real estate marketplace. …Are consumers being treated fairly by real estate brokers? Are commissions priced fairly?” asked Consumers Union legislative counsel Frank Torres during testimony May 2nd before the U.S. House of Representative’s Committee on Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit.

Perhaps what we should be talking about is a Real estate Consumer Bill of Rights.”

3rd Inning:  Note sure of the dates, by my recollection is that some government agencies began discussing a borrower’s bill of rights.  Here’s a link to one version by the Mortgage Bankers Association published on their website, StopMortgageFraud.com, copyright 2002.  (Your comments and links to other borrower’s bill of rights are most welcome.) 

4th Inning:  In May 2006, The Real Estate Cafe reminded fellow real estate consumer advocates that it had been five years since the call for Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights had been heard in Congressional testimony.  That was six months after we initially blogged about the topic.

5th Inning:  To my knowledge, Redfin released their version of a real estate consumer bill of rights about seven months ago, on or around April 2, 2007.  Personally, I was pleased to see Redfin expand talk about creating a real estate consumer bill of rights and encourage others to separate the need for consumer protection from their critique of Redfin. 

6th inning:  The call for a real estate consumer was greeted enthusiastically in informal conversations at a workshop on mortgages and lending hosted by the Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA), Chairman of the House Committee on Financial Services at the Federal Reserve Bank in Boston on Friday, October 26, 2007.

Where will those private conversations with legal and consumer advocacy groups lead?  I hope there will be a growing recognition that a Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights is long overdue and more timely than ever.  Whether you are a homebuyer, seller, or professional, we’d love to know what you would like to see included in a Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights.  As written in the past, I’d love to see real estate commissions separated.  This short video / slide show, created nearly two years ago, bullet points 10 mega-trends leading towards that tipping point.

Posted in Change Agents, Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights, RECALL: Real Estate Consumer Alliance, Unbundling the Commission | No Comments »

Anniversary of Bill of Rights

Link to Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights, as well as Bill of Rights

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights

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).

Posted in Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights | No Comments »

Call for Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights: 5th Anniversary

BillofrightsFive years ago this week, a coalition of leading real estate consumer advocates nationwide — including buyer agents, fee-for-service consultants, and for sale by owner publishers — cosigned an petition calling for a Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights which Consumer Union, publishers of Consumer Reports, echoed in their testimony in Congressional hearings on banks as brokers:

"We also call on Congress to hold hearings on the real estate marketplace. …Are consumers being treated fairly by real estate brokers? Are commissions priced fairly?" asked Consumers Union legislative counsel Frank Torres during testimony May 2nd before the U.S. House of Representative’s Committee on Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit.

"Perhaps what we should be talking about is a Real estate Consumer Bill of Rights."

Bloggers, consumer advocates, and real estate innovators — not to mention the US Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission — are renewing investigations into competition in real estate with a new urgency fueled, in part, by discrimination against flat-fee MLS listing services and their customers, plus industry-supported efforts to establish minimum levels of service for brokerages in an increasing number of states.

Homeowners trying to sell "for sale by owner" also face subtle and overt forms of discrimination, as do homebuyers using alternative real estate business models.  If you’ve been a victim, we’d like to hear from you privately at RECafe@mac.com. 

Congressional hearings or not, doesn’t it make sense — as it did five year ago — to ask regulators and other public officials to begin talking about a long-overdue Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights?  Last October, The Real Estate Cafe began blogging about individual articles, and would be glad to restart that discussion before the National Association of Realtors Midyear Legislative Meetings in Washington, DC, May 15-20, 2006.  We invite your comment below; on our record a podcast line:  617-876-2117; or if you’re really interested in getting involved, our wiki.

Posted in Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights, RECALL: Real Estate Consumer Alliance | No Comments »

Conflicts of interest beg for Real Estate Consumer Bill of DIGITAL Rights

FiduciaryReformTweet

Seventy-two hours apart, a leading real estate technology news site begins by reminding real estate professionals of their fiduciary duties (Agency = Expertise + UNDIVIDED Loyalty), then another article advises would-be listing agents to farm for sellers with a “Join my buyers waiting list” hook.

Will this “help you get more sellers for that particular neighborhood,” or increase awareness of the heighten threat of conflicts of interest in real estate?

Last week, one of the panels at the Consumer Federation of America’s annual conference was entitled, The Digital Revolution and Personal Information: Consumer Benefits and Concerns.  In fact, one of the panelists, Frank Torres called for a Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights in Congress nearly 15 years ago when he was with Consumer’s Union.  As you can see from the link below, the call to protect real estate consumers has a long history and a coalition of consumer advocates around the country — still real estate is the sleeping giant of the consumer movement:

http://bit.ly/REBillRights (please share tiny link via social media)

As the release of the Apple’s iWatch brings wearable apps into the mainstream, questions about privacy — who owns data, who can access or share it, and how it can be used with or without my permission — should renew calls for Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights, DIGITAL rights.

With Big Data Comes Big Responsibility, that’s what MIT’s Sandy Pentland told Harvard Business Review the Harvard Business Review last Fall, and IMHO his call for a “New Deal” on data should be extended to a New Deal on Real Estate data — particularly personal data.

http://bit.ly/BigDataDeal (please share tiny link via social media)

Real estate commissions are so high, it’s not hard to imagine consumers saving billions of dollar annually by leveraging their personal data in the emerging open eco-system in real estate.  If you’d like to help co-create that money-saving ecosystem by the year 2020, or benefit from it as a DIY homebuyer or seller, please follow #RE2020 online (or contact RealEstateCafe@gmail.com)

As shown on the tweet above, we hope to collaborate with a powerful new coalition of consumer advocates (which includes AARP and the White House) to extend their call for fiduciary reforms from financial services into real estate.  For more information, visit http://SaveOurRetirement.com or follow the hashtag #SaveOurRetirement .

Posted in Consumer protection, Defensive Homebuying, Disrupt Real Estate, Dual Agency Detective, Investigative Reporting, RE2020, Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights, RECALL: Real Estate Consumer Alliance | No Comments »

Back to the Future: Save billions in real estate fees by 2020?

Twenty-three years ago today, Ralph Nader energized a budding buyer brokerage movement with his first speech on real estate. Since then real estate consumer advocates have suffered numerous defeats, and homebuyers and sellers are literally paying the price… cartel pricing on real estate commissions in an industry that’s been able to avoid disruption.

Can a new crop of money-savings real estate business model push the industry to a tipping point?  Maybe — even the real estate industry admits there are fifty ways they’re vulnerable to disruption, see http://DangerReport.com

Back to the Future

The Consumer Federation of America first called the real estate industry a cartel in 1991, and predicted that consumers would save ten billion dollars annually simply by uncoupling the two-side commission (something that still has not happened).  That was pre-internet.  By the end of the decade, McKinsey & Company estimated that potential savings could rise to $30 billion annually because online real estate transactions would create efficiencies and reduce fees from real estate agents and mortgage brokers.  Regrettably, that still has not happened.

In retrospect, maybe it was fitting that Nader’s 1992 speech was on October 28, the Feast of St. Jude — the patron saint of lost or impossible causes.  Rather than hiding from our shortcomings, innovators are invited to engage in smart failing exercises.  Further, All Saints Day and Day of the Dead provide an opportunity to honor fellow real estate consumer advocates who devoted their lives to changing the industry.  In his new book, Nobel prize winning economist Robert Shiller criticizes overly enthusiastic perceptions of FREE markets; and highlights the importance of unknown “heroes” willing to step in and protect consumers when regulatory agencies and politicians sit on the side lines — silenced by politics or legislation written by industry lobbyists.  That certainly was the case for Bill Dennison, Ken Knapton, Jerilyn Coates, and Becky Swann.

Our shared money-saving mission

Finally, we’re not given up hope on our own life’s work.  For our 20th anniversary, Real Estate Cafe has set twin goals:

  1. Co-creating an open ecosystem in real estate capable of delivering $30 billion in consumer savings annually by the year 2020; and
  2. Redirecting 10-20% of those savings to non-profit initiatives or impact investments.

We’d like to invite the next generation of money-saving real estate business models, DIY homebuyers and sellers (FSBOs) to join us in that five year campaign by using the hashtags #RE2020 and #ImpactREbates every time they save money, make a donation or an impact investment.

New opportunity to hack real estate?

What’s more likely to happen first, the Chicago Cubs will win the World Series as predicted in the movie, Back to the Future II, or a consumer advocates will break-up the real estate cartel? Thankfully, after twenty-thee years, we’re not the only ones still excited about the potential for new digital technologies to transform the real estate industry.  In this May 2015 article in FastCompany, @Ideofutures says “real estate tops the list of industries that blockchain could disrupt”:

http://bit.ly/BitcoinRE (please share this tiny URL)

Real estate consumer advocates and technology innovators inside and outside the industry may have the opportunity to test that hypothesis at a hybrid online and in-person hack at MIT called FutureCommerce:

http://futurecommerce.civics.com (please share this tiny URL)

Next Steps

Real Estate Cafe is eager to seed a real estate track within the event and have offered to facilitate visioning exercises to help participants think beyond the existing real estate business model to an open eco-system capable of delivering billions annually in consumer savings.  If there is sufficient interest, we’re willing to begin real estate working group BEFORE the actual event on November 20 -22, 2015.  Let us know if you’re interested by emailing realestatecafe@gmail.com.

Posted in Blockchain, commission rebate, Disrupt Real Estate, Impact Rebates, RE2020, RECALL: Real Estate Consumer Alliance, reVRM, Savings & Rebates, Tech Trends, Unbundling the Commission | No Comments »

Can group buying deliver billions in savings annually to real estate consumers?

A week after it was published, a story about Groupon’s first real estate offer is still the most forwarded article on Inman News, the leading real estate technology web site. Beyond that, my Google alerts continue to forward a flurry of news stories, including one on AOL which questions whether the coupon is a good deal for buyers and another which asks if Groupon can save the real estate market.

My own reaction, as quoted by Inman News, was less enthusiastic:

“While there may be some bragging rights to being selected as the first-ever Groupon ad for real estate, that doesn’t translate into offering the most value or best savings proposition if competing companies routinely offer rebates on buyer agency commissions or flat fees on MLS listings,” Wendel said in an email. “Hopefully, any homebuyer or seller tempted to pay $25 should stop long enough to do some comparative research.”

If they do, he said, “they are likely to conclude that it doesn’t make sense to pay to go into anyone’s lead generation system when competing real estate companies offer greater savings opportunities with no upfront cost.”

Teachable moments like that are valuable, but the real payback of Groupon’s entry into real estate isn’t about coupons; it’s the opportunity to seed systemic change by refocusing industry innovation on consumer savings, an estimated $30 billion dollars annually. Just as ordinary citiizens are making their voices heard as Congress debates what kind of government will emerge from the “Great Recession,” consumers and change agents should ask what kind of reforms and new business models are needed to deliver billions of dollars in savings to homebuyers and sellers annually.

A year after the near collapse of Wall Street, it looked like real estate innovators were refocusing on that mission as described in our blog post, Comeback of the Consumer Value Proposition in Real Estate.  (Ironically, the government got into the game, twice, but their $8,000 tax credit actually caused overeager homebuyers to miss larger savings — an estimated $38,000 in Boston — simply by waiting for price reductions.)

But back to the bottom line: how much is $30 billion?  My guess is that it took Bill Gates a decade or two to amass a $30B net worth; and last week, the Democrats and Republicans nearly shut down the US government before agreeing to cut $38B in spending (the largest real dollar spending cut in American history according to the NYTimes).  Hard to believe that real estate consumers could save $30 billion annually, but a number of studies have estimated that number (for details, see footnote #1 on Mark Nadel’s Critical Assessment of the Traditional Residential Real Estate Commission Rate Structure).

If home buyers and sellers realized their economic value as a lead, they would ask real estate companies how much they’d be willing to PAY THEM upfront, rather than paying Groupon or anyone else $25 to get a discount at closing.  Towards that end, new technologies and business models are being developed to enable homebuyers and sellers to issue Personal RFPs, or requests for proposals, to generate customized money-savings proposals, rather than group discounts, from competing agents based on specific services requested in their RFP.

What consumers need is a way to aggregate savings opportunities that already exist in the marketplace or that they can create through PRFP’s from a wide range of sources including sellers, lenders, brokers, vendors as well as government agencies. What’s the best way to coauthor a folksonomy or tagging system of savings opportunities (not just coupons) to deliver billions of annual savings to home buyers and sellers?”

For more information, see our previous blog post, Groupon for Real Estate or GroupCon? Choose MEGA-savings, not marginal coupons!

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Posted in Change Agents, commission rebate, Commission Reform, Consumer protection, Coupons, Group buying, Price reductions, reVRM, Savings & Rebates, Tech Trends, Timing the market | No Comments »
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