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Cross-examination: Has Redfin lost it’s religion?


Excellent article by VOX on the evolution of Redfin, but it would be improved by a critical cross-examination of statements like this from Redfin’s CEO Glenn Kelman:

EXCERPT:  Redfin set out to change real estate. Then real estate changed Redfin.

“…the original, bare-bones [Redfin] brokerage model would never appeal to a mass audience. So in November 2008, as the real estate market was imploding, Redfin took the plunge.

‘Redfin started life as a cult,’ Kelman wrote on the Redfin blog. ‘But our goal has always been to become a religion.””


Discussion point #1:

The article goes on to talk about how Redfin reduced it’s commission and began taking listings which from my perspective as an believer in the Common Law of Agency, is the equivalent of losing their religion.

Is that too critical an assessment, or do others share that perspective?

Discussion point #2:

No doubt Redfin’s brand has loyal followers — an estimated 6 million unique site visitors each month:

But like other Mega-Brokers, does their desire to build market share undermine their capacity to act as a fiduciary for individual homebuyers, when there are fundamental conflicts of interest?

1. Dual agency / Designated Agency
It’s impossible to simultaneously try to get the highest price for home sellers and the lowest price for homebuyers, and

2. Competing buyers in-house
How does an individual homebuyer benefit when their brokerage is representing competing buyers interested in the same property?

Discussion point #3:

To what extend does the mainstreaming of Redfin’s business process and reduction of their rebates reflect pressure from outside investors who together have put $165 million into the company over the past decade?

Does their desire to become a national brand leave them vulnerable to more nimble network of independent brokers who can offer both deeper discounts / larger rebates without conflicts of interest?


To underscore the benefit of working with small independent brokers or “indie” agents and Redfin’s lack of credibility as a a religion one simply needs to question two assertions on their home page:

1.  Can you really tell competing buyers you are going to put them first when you’re submitting competing bids on the same property?

2.  If I am a buyer, particularly one who has been burned repeatedly by bidding wars, do I really want to work with a buyer agent who’s website boasts, “Turn one offer on your home into a bidding war?”


From our perspective as consumer advocates over the past 20 years, those questions expose some of Redfin’s conflicted beliefs.  If you’ve lost faith in their brand, you’re not alone and we invite you to learn more about our crusade — #RE2020. Our mission is to raise awareness about money-saving real estate business models who collectively could empower homebuyers and sellers to save $30 billion dollars annually by the year 2020.

Redfin set out to change real estate. Then real estate changed Redfin.  Real Estate Cafe has remained true to it’s original mission and our DIY homebuyer clients.  And we’re not alone.  There are other money-saving business models who still walk their talk, plus some impressive new start-ups who have responded to calls to disrupt real estate.

Follow #RE2020 on Twitter to learn more.

Posted in Bidding wars, Buyer agent, commission rebate, Disrupt Real Estate, Dual Agency Detective, Fee-for-service real estate, RE2020, Real estate rebates, RECALL: Real Estate Consumer Alliance, Savings & Rebates

WANTED: Innovators & advocates to help real estate consumers “save tens of billions annually” in fees


If you scan the months listed on the right side of this page, you’ll see a gap between blog posts during October 2014 and January 2015:

10/07/15:  Disrupt, reform or realign real estate: Opportunities to connect dots & build synergy

10/09/15:  Using calls to “disrupt real estate” to raise awareness of money-saving alternatives


01/08/15:  Collaborating with housing & real estate labs to save BILLIONS annually!

01/17/15:  CFPB & FTC protect options, empower real estate consumers to save money

During that gap, we weren’t idle…. Like many other real estate innovators, we were repeatedly posting comments on a controversial article in Enterpreneur Magazine entitled:  “Who will step up and disrupt the real estate industry”?  In the background, we were also quietly organizing an event to introduce innovators to leading real estate consumer advocates.  As the image and text above shows, we used the 262 anniversary of the Boston Tea Party to host a conversation about co-creating an open ecosystem in real estate by the year 2020, capable of delivering billions in consumer savings annually. (Hashtag:  #RE2020)

As we blogged yesterday, we hope to use a number of upcoming anniversaries to expand that conversation and continue to respond to calls for change coming from inside and outside the real estate industry.  Our goal is to encourage innovators, reformers and money-savings real estate business models — not to mention millons of DIY homebuyers and sellers — to think of themselves as a movement and to explore ways to create synergy to expand consumer savings.  As an informal group or adhocracy we call RECALL:  Real Estate Consumer Alliance, our hope is to deliver $30 billion annually by the year 2020.  Want to know where that figure came from — see the use of the phrase “tens of BILLIONS” (emphasis added) in the transcript below:

Congressional Hearing:  The Changing Real Estate Market (please share via social media)

FLASHBACK: Congressional Hearings on Anti-Competitive Real Estate Practices

Saturday July 25 is the 9th anniversary of congressional hearings on anti-competitive business practices in the real estate industry.  Industry insiders have been digesting an extensive report by Inman News on the possible impact of the current wave of money-saving real estate start-ups.  You can learn more about why survey results should catch the attention of anti-trust regulators again by reading this blog post and scanning the Facebook comment below:

07/17/15:  Will fee-for-service movement launch “Agency Revival” or DOJ/FTC inquiry into real estate?




IDEA STARTER:  Should we host a virtual conversation to take a look back at the Congressional Hearings on Anti-Competitive Real Estate Practices and a look forward at the impact hybrid real estate models may have on the industry?  You can begin engaging that topic on the link below.  What other questions should we seed beforehand and who should we invite to participate?

Will “hybrid” real estate startups cause an “Agency Revival”?

Posted in Commission Reform, Consumer protection, Disrupt Real Estate, Dump Dual Agency, RE2020, Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights, Real Estate Roundtables, RECALL: Real Estate Consumer Alliance, reVRM, Unbundling the Commission, Uncategorized

#SmartFailing in Real Estate: Rebates, flat fees & fee-for-service over past 20 years


SMART FAILING: Trying to develop a new real estate business model to downsize commissions?  Whether you’re trying to reward DIY homebuyers with rebates, or help FSBOs — for sale by owner properties — avoid the real estate industry’s bloated commission structure, what can you learn from the past 20+ years of efforts to disrupt the real estate industry?

Real Estate Cafe is marking it’s 20th anniversary by seeding a conversation about what real estate will look like in the year 2020.  Our goal isn’t to dwell in the past, but to help develop an informal coalition dedicated to helping real estate consumers save an estimated $30 billion annually by the year 2020.  We call it #RE2020 — and invite you to follow that hashtag on Twitter and other social media.

Why should a new breed of money-saving business models succeed where others have failed?  Let’s begin that conversation by taking a look at a couple of items for the RECafe time capsule:

  • First the photo of what a home page looked like in July 1996 when we hosted a round table at the Real Estate Cafe with Ralph Nader and other leading real estate innovators (more on that later), and
  • Second what industry pundits were saying at the time about the coming downsizing in real estate.

Here’s one of the relics in the Real Estate Cafe’s time capsule — it is a dead document or does it contain secrets about roads not taken, or opportunities that were ahead of their time?  We’ll unfold that theme in coming weeks and months.  Join us by following @RealEstateCafe on Twitter.

The Coming Downsizing in Real Estate: The Implications of Technology

The implications for the real estate industry are potentially enormous. In January, 1995 there were approximately 100 real estate Web sites that offered real estate for sale. By year-end, there were over 4000 real estate related Web sites. Exhibit 6 provides a sample selection of 36 randomly chosen Home Pages and a brief overview of their services offered. While some sites are Home Pages of individual properties for sale, others include offerings of over 500,000 listings across the country. Complete marketing and purchasing information is lacking in the majority of the Web sites, but it is looming on the horizon of this new real estate frontier.

Full report:


Want to participate in our SmartFailing adventure or have some fun with futuristic predictions that missed the mark?  Here are three things you can do:

1.  Scan Smartfailing the vintage future and enjoy the photos.  Got some of your own for real estate, should we co-create a slideshow — maybe for REBarCampSF (August 3, 2015)?

2.  Share resources on Smart Failing, here’s one:

5 Steps for a Better Innovation Culture through Experimentation and Failure

3.  Join a series of events we’re planning online and off in Boston and beyond.  Our recent tweets point to what we’re planning:

4.  Want to collaborate or co-host a local event focused on helping real estate consumers — both DIY homebuyers and FSBOs — save billions of dollars annually?  Join RECALL:  Real Estate Consumer Alliance

Posted in commission rebate, Discount real estate, Disrupt Real Estate, Fee-for-service real estate, FSBO: For Sale By Owner, RE2020, Real estate rebates, RECALL: Real Estate Consumer Alliance, Savings & Rebates, Tech Trends

Will fee-for-service movement launch “Agency Revival” or DOJ/FTC inquiry into real estate?


Yesterday, Inman News — arguably the leading real estate technology news service — launched an impressive report on a new generation of money-saving, disruptive real estate business models.  What they call “hybrid real estate” others, including the former chief economist (shown above) of the National Association of Realtors, have called fee-for-service for two decades.  Is it a idea or movement who’s time has come?

Don’t ask Inman Select’s readers, because they’ve have gone silent — at least for day one.  That caused us to write this comment on their Facebook group:

Just passed midnight on the East Coast and puzzled as to why 5,336 members of this Inman Coast to Coast group have yet to check LIKE or post a single comment? Stunned into silence by survival questions or embarrassing findings like this? 4 out of 10 respondents said they are generally less inclined to cooperate with a hybrid brokerage than a traditional brokerage, and 56 percent said that many agents discriminate against hybrid brokerages.

It’s been 10 years, time for more DOJ / FTC hearings / trainings on anti-competitive business practices?

In the similar comment on this author’s Facebook page, an innovative attorney turned real estate professional wrote:

What’s a hybrid ? Is there a normal way to do RE business ? What is it ?

Here’s my 10 point response:

Good questions (I can see your legal mind at work).  Several thoughts on your question and more:

1.  Lumping a variety of alternative business models into the “Hybrid” catch-phrase is a disservice to consumers, both buyers & sellers, who are searching for money-saving options (real estate rebates, flat fees, etc.)

2.  If hybrid makes any sense, it’s only from the industry’s perspective.

3.  My recollection is that Brad Inman chose the word Hybrid because it wasn’t clear what agency relationship — if any — some of the new business models are offering buyers and sellers using their site.  (There’s some irony in that, see #8 below.)

4.  Asking if there is a “normal way to do real estate” and who should define it goes to the heart of the anti-competitive practice Inman’s survey has revealed.  (Hope someone from DOJ or FTC is reading the report!)

5.  The question also exposes some of the issues NOT addressed in the report, like why is the trillion dollar real estate industry still operating on an obsolete-two sided real estate commission that is set by the seller’s agent?

6.  If you turn the clock back 10 years, one of the government interventions considered at that time was uncoupling or divorcing real estate commissions, so buyer and sellers can negotiate their own fees.  Is it time to revive that conversation or let start-ups like and veterans (no pun intended, see footnote) of fee-for-service continue to hack away at the dominant model as we have for the past 15 – 20 years?

7.  As some hybrid real estate models offer non-agency level services, will that cause an “Agency Revival” led by traditional real estate agents who want to justify their fees?  As we blogged before the release of the Inman report, we’d welcome that unintended consequence and use it to expose / repeal Designated Agency in Massachusetts!

8.  Ironically, conflicts of interest are already widespread in real estate because of the hypocrisy of Designated Agency.  Won’t forming teams — one of the responses recommended by the report to compete more effectively with #HybridRE and the last paragraph of the report — will only cause more conflicts and insider trading?

9.  No where in the report is there a hint that rebates offered by the featured companies are trivial by comparison to REAL savings REAL buyer agents can offer buyers.  That will become increasingly clear as the housing market changes, and we’ll write more about that on an ongoing basis.

10.  If you’re a real estate professional, what’s your take?  If you’re a consumer, want us to help you explore money-saving options to meet your needs as a DIY homebuyer or seller?

* FOOTNOTE:  SoloPro’s Founder has a formal military background, whereas long-time fee-for-service professionals like the Real Estate Cafe have been using guerrilla tactics on the ground and in cyberspace for decades.

Posted in Commission Reform, Consumer protection, Discount real estate, Disrupt Real Estate, Dump Dual Agency, Fee-for-service real estate, Hybrid real estate, Investigative Reporting, Real estate rebates, Unbundling the Commission

@POTUS > Crack down on Conflicts of Interest in real estate, too?


Before the week ends, Inman News will publish their 10,000 word report on the rise and potential impact of new “hybrid real estate” sites on the bloated real estate commission model in the US.  From the perspective of a longtime real estate consumer advocate, it’s ironic that the same industry that pushed legislation to abrogate the Common Law of Agency through statehouses from approximately 1993 to 2005 is now using fiduciary services to justify their conflicted but allegedly full-service, full-commission business models.

Meanwhile, there seems to be a growing awareness of the importance of fiduciary duties elsewhere in the economy.  This Spring, Consumer Federation of America and a coalition of consumer groups — including AARP’s 40 million member organization — promoted an impressive campaign.  The call for financial advisors to remove conflicts of interest was actively supported by the White House and the charismatic Secretary of Labor, Tom Perez who spoke yesterday at the White House Conference on Aging as did President Obama.

That gave critics of Designated Agency a high profile opportunity to link our campaign against conflicts of interest in real estate to a broader agenda. Anyone who would like to support that call can retweet or share this tiny URL to the President and US Department of Labor: (please share link on social media)

Finally, it’s outside my expertise but there is also a growing awareness of the impact of investment on the sustainability of the planet.  To my surprise and delight, the word “fiduciary” appeared 27 times in this 20 page call for new paradigm called “Sustainable Capitalism.”  (please share link on social media)

Would love to get feedback from agency law experts like attorney / former regulator Maureen Glasheen and founder Doug Miller on both the call to expand the traditional interpretation of agency duties and section on Break of Fiduciary duties included in the report above.  Anyone else want to comment or participate in campaign to repeal or neuter Designated Agency laws?  July 25, 2015 marks the 9th anniversary of Congress Hearings on anti-competitive business practices in real estate:  (please share link on social media)

That’s 11 days from now… should fellow real estate consumer advocates look at what Inman publishes Thursday and decide how to use that occasion this July and again this Fall — the 10th anniversary of the FTC / DOJ hearings that preceded Congressional hearings?

Posted in Buyer agent, Commission Reform, Consumer protection, Defensive Homebuying, Designated Agency, Disrupt Real Estate, Fee-for-service real estate, Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights, RECALL: Real Estate Consumer Alliance, Savings & Rebates

Will Pope’s encyclical expand Housing Justice Movement?


Homeownership rates are falling in Massachusetts and across the nation, and housing is back in newspaper headlines and nationally syndicated talk shows.  Here’s one perspective, that knowingly or unknowingly, points to the Pope’s encyclical on the environment and the prospect of a grassroots movement for housing justice:

Greedy spec builders want the most bang for their buck so the put oversized houses on undersized lots and then cannot sell them. A more modest house would have moved. There are only so many Mr. and Mrs. One Per Cents.

There are only so many 1%’ers if there is no external demand / pressure on local housing markets from global real estate investors. An annual update just released by Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies lists rising home prices as one of the culprits for the homeownership decline, but the words “investor” and “speculators” do not appear in the Boston Globe’s coverage of the document. Contrast that coverage in the New Yorker and inventory snapshots from the former People’s Republic of Cambridge and it’s neighbor, DelusionVille (formerly Somerville):

Cambridge MLS inventory snapshot 6/16/15:
26 listings last year priced $900K+, now 42 or 49% – up from 28% in one year – Unsustainable? #AffordableHousing

Somerville MLS inventory snapshot 6/23/15:
Active single-family listings in Somerville have DOUBLED compared to 2014, 7 of 9 price over $800K remain unsold

Excerpt from New Yorker article, Real Estate Goes Global:
“The challenge for Vancouver and cities like it is that foreign investment isn’t an unalloyed good. It’s great for existing homeowners, who see the value of their homes rise, and for the city’s tax revenues. But it also makes owning a home IMPOSSIBLE (emphasis added) for much of the city’s population.”

Would be homeowners who have been priced out of the market should pay attention to what’s happening in other cites where ordinary citizens are beginning to push back against real estate speculators: SF, Toronto, and Vancouver are setting the pace, see images from #DontHave1Million campaign:

Writing in Boston, one angry reader blurted out, “Since when is home ownership a right?”  His question is a good one, one that has not escaped the Pope’s new encyclical on the environment and the Catholic teaching on the social mortgage, the debt we owe each other as members a just society:

94. The rich and the poor have equal dignity, for “the Lord is the maker of them all” (Prov 22:2). …This has practical consequences, such as those pointed out by the bishops of Paraguay: “Every campesino (definition = peasant farmer) has a natural right to possess a reasonable allotment of land where he can establish his home, work for subsistence of his family and a secure life. This right must be guaranteed so that its exercise is not illusory but real. That means that apart from the ownership of property, rural people must have access to means of technical education, credit, insurance, and markets”.

Contrast that ideal to the reality of what’s happening in housing markets across the country, homeownership is down to the lowest levels in two decades, and “Every Single County in America Is Facing an Affordable Housing Crisis.”

With 4 out of 5 New Big City Rental Buildings targeting the rich, is it any wonder that just yesterday, a Huffington Post article asked, Is It Time for a Housing Justice Movement?

EXCERT: So the question arises, can the housing justice movement that is taking off in Seattle spread across the nation?

My hope is that the Pope’s encyclical will help expedite that movement and lead to a tangible reordering of priorities and policies to address the gross inequities in too many housing markets in the US and around the globe:

93. Whether believers or not, we are agreed today that the earth is essentially a shared inheritance, whose fruits are meant to benefit everyone. …“the Church does indeed defend the legitimate right to private property, but she also teaches no less clearly that there is always a SOCIAL MORTGAGE (emphasis added) on all private property, in order that goods may serve the general purpose that God gave them”. Consequently, he maintained, “it is not in accord with God’s plan that this gift be used in such a way that its benefits favour only a few”.

95. The natural environment is a collective good, the patrimony of all humanity and the responsibility of everyone. If we make something our own, it is only to administer it for the good of all.

Full encyclical text:

Posted in Affordable housing, Bubble Hour, Great Senior Sell-Off, Housing bubble, Housing Justice, iCovery, Luxury housing, Pope's Encyclical, Price trends, Real Estate Bubble

Mega-Broker Portal: Will homebuyers be left Upstream without a buyer agent?


Anyone else trying to make sense of the controversy surrounding Upstream, the code name for the mega-Broker Public Portal? Yesterday, Inman News published a guest opinion asking:  “Will Upstream be good for everyone?”  Not only was this author’s answer NO, but his prediction appeared as the subhead to the story:  “This seems like nothing more than another round of NAR vs. the DOJ.”  Other Inman readers, including the comment in the image above, added more reasons why. (share this URL if you’re an Inman subscriber)

Buyer agents:  blind spot or irrelevant?

Surprisingly, the only reference to buyer agent or buyer agency is a disparaging remark in one of the comments.  Should that be expected in a controversy about listing data, or does it reflect a blindness to agency duties and the fading role / relevance of buyer agents?  Blanket statements like these excerpts used to be fighting words — where’s the outrage?

“Your Listing, Your Lead” should be our mantra

“The broker, and only the broker will be in control of where it’s data goes.”

Maybe it’s premature to expect a comprehensive critique, and consumer advocates and tech innovators will eventually respond to Brad Inman’s assessment:

Finally, after a year of meeting in private, the Upstream founders are out of the closet. Now, their actions and motives can be openly discussed and debated.  And knowing what they are up to, pressure can be put on them to do the right thing.

What is the right thing to protect the public interest — particularly in an era of open data where emerging tools allow consumers to control access to their data? Yesterday’s fight was about who controls listing data, but a more important question is on the horizon — who owns and controls the data flowing from billions of sensors as SmartHomes and the Internet of Things become building blocks in a new real estate ecosystem?

Tracking the controversy

What is the best site / social media channel to follow to try to get a better / (and hopefully accurate) understanding of Upstream?  Has anyone created an infographic showing what problem / who’s problem Upstream is trying to solve?  Finally, what intended or unintended impacts will Upstream have on consumers — particularly homebuyers and the buyer agents they hire to represent them?

Future proofing versus emerging trends

What impact will Upstream have in the short-term, mid and long term, when:

  1. In 2020, the Great Senior Sell-Off will cause a glut of listings and pocket listings and low inventory are replaced by expired / canceled listings and auctions?
  2. Or in 2025, when the trillion sensor economy will have a disruptive impact on multiple industries, including health care and real estate?

If “my listing, my lead” is the mantra, where is the homebuyer’s right to their own advocate in this Realtor family fight?  Conversely, where is the homeowners’s right to make an informed decision about how to maximize exposure for their listing?  Will games Upstream unintentionally trigger new regulations to protect consumers?

Wonder if the DOJ, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or Senator Elizabeth Warren’s staff are listening?

Flashback: Real Estate Cartel revisited?

September marks the 10th anniversary of this FTC & DOJ workshop on competition in real estate. Writing then, Blanche Evans of RealtyTimes said the industry was unfairly persecuted because the government agencies and the speakers they selected to testify did not understand “fundamentals of the real estate industry — namely that the broker owns the listing.”

Do the proponents of Upstream and commentators understand or care about agency law?


​Unless my browser search is not working properly, NONE of the Inman stories below includes a single reference to buyer agent or buyer agency in the text or comments. Nor does the RISMEDIA story that Upstream defenders reference:

Project Upstream Revealed (share this URL)

What should RECALL — Real Estate Consumer Alliance — do to address that blind spot?  Or am I the one who’s blind, what are fellow real estate consumer advocates and buyer agents already saying?


UPDATE:  A comment on another Inman News story published May 16, 2015 made this observation:  “MLS is no longer the only market! Listing agents post properties without putting them on the MLS saving their seller the buyer agent commission, or pocketing it themselves.” Here’s a link to story on Upstream funding from NAR & the comment above:  (share this URL if you’re an Inman subscriber)

Posted in Buyer agent, Consumer protection, Defensive Homebuying, Disrupt Real Estate, Great Senior Sell-Off, IoT: Internet of Things, Pocket Listings, Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights, RECALL: Real Estate Consumer Alliance, reVRM, Uncategorized

Uber-fication of Real Estate? Fee-for-service consultants available on-demand (for past 20 years!)


Very pleased that NPR’s nationally syndicated talkshow @OnPointRadio aired a program today about the on-demand economy:

Uber, But For Everything

We look at the “Uber-fication” of the marketplace.  On-demand services for almost anything, everything, are catching on. Changing our economy and our lives. (share this URL)

One caller pointed to changes in the legal industry, and it will be interesting to see what the new book The Great Disruption (Google Books) says about potential impacts on the residential real estate brokerage industry.  Some industry critics and the Realtors’ chief economist predicted made this bold prediction 20 years ago:

“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.”

Why have pioneers like the Real Estate Cafe failed to gain marketshare over the past 20 years?  Any new alternative money-saving real estate business models hope to change that?  Want to talk about where the industry might be by the year, 2020 (#RE2020)? Let’s start by deconstructing the Realtors new Danger Report: (share this URL)

Apparently, Realtors are taking the on-demand threat more seriously, and as the screenshot above shows they are concerned about the potential Uberization of the industry.  Beyond that their DANGER Report, issued three weeks ago at their midyear conference in Washington, DC, identified 50 potential threats to the existing real estate business model. Here are 10 dangers facing real estate agents: (share this URL)

Danger or blessing in disguise?

Should real estate professionals and policy makers be concerned about safety net issues? Right now, nearly all real estate agents are commission-based independent contractors who may go months without a paycheck; so unlikely other industries, “The Great Disruption” may offer potential benefits to industry professionals as well as cost savings to real estate consumers.

Want to discuss where the real estate industry will be in the year 2020? Follow, use #RE2020 on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc. And let’s compare how this conversation has changed over the past five years:

Will real estate agents become obsolete or morph into fee-for-service real estate consultants? (share this URL)

Posted in Commission Reform, Discount real estate, Fee-for-service, RE2020, Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights, Real-time real etate, reVRM, Savings & Rebates, Tech Trends, Unbundling the Commission

#MicroHousingLab 4/17-26: Are “Spinsters” leading the DIY co-living movement?


Commenting on WBUR / OnPointRadio program today on Spinsters:  At some point researchers say aging boomers, presumably both sexes, give up on finding a soulmate and look for / co-create a micro-tribe of their own. That may explain why woman are taking the lead rediscovering the joys and health benefits of group living. In fact, the Boston Globe says:

“Already, 4 million 50-plus women live in US households with at least two other women of similar age.”

These are not 60’s style free-love communes in remote places, but sometimes trophy homes in chic neighborhoods in San Francisco or DIY micro-cohousing communities.

So, agree with the caller who said why use such an old fashioned loaded word like “Spinster,” when some of the most active seniors are the ones pioneering new housing types?

Here are some more links to learn more:

Boomer Housemates have more fun

10 trends pointing to Group Housing, Intentional Communities too?

Got Golden Girl envy or curiosity?  Explore / share your own visions of living together alone / living alone together at #MicroHousingLab 4/17-26:

Posted in Affordable housing, Co-Living, Creative class, Crowdfunding, Crowdsourcing, Downsizing, Group buying, Group housing, Intentional Communities

Inequality hits home! Is housing affordability key to livability?


CARPE DIEM:  Two big events today!​

Inequality hits home!  Let’s use the release of AARP’s Livability Index today and Nobel Prize–winning economist Joseph Stiglitz’s talk tonight in Harvard Square to discuss how America became the most unequal advanced country in the world and what we can do about it.

The Great Divide:  Unequal Societies and What We Can Do About Them

The Price of Inequality: How Today’s Divided Society Endangers Our Future

Order tickets here before $5 dollar tickets for Stiglitz talk sells out!


Let’s use the Livability Indexes for two very different communities Chelsea & Cambridge to talk about what makes a place livable… How would you customize the sliders on AARP’s new site ( to find someplace you can afford and like to call home?


Livabiity: Admiral’s Hill Lofts Chelsea, MA


Livability: Cambridge, MA 02138

​If you’d like to help shape the future of housing / explore tiny houses, micro-housing & coliving as possible solutions, share your ideas at the #MicroHousingLab 4/17-26

Any baby boomers interested in using #LivIndex to explore downsizing & relocation options?   Meet others tonight over a flight of beers at Cambridge Common after Stiglitz talk?

Posted in Affordable housing, Co-Living, Consumer protection, Crowdsourcing, DIY Homebuyers, Downsizing, Housing bubble, Relocating
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