Call for Complaints: Top 10 Issues Facing Real Estate Consumers

Smoking gun exposes in-house Bidding Wars

Friday,’s real estate blog screamed, Misleading listings have buyers fuming.  The complaint drew few echoes; instead readers said, in one way or another, there are much bigger problems in the real estate industry that need reform.

Monday, thousands of Realtors descend on Washington, DC for their annual Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo, where they’ll lobby members of Congress. If you could get a private audience with Senator Elizabeth Warren, what would you tell her is wrong with the real estate industry?

What if there were a political organization made of homebuyers, not Realtors, and they used online surveys, grassroots listening sessions, post-its (like those shown above), and handheld writeboards at open houses this weekend to broadcast their complaints?

What would yours say?

To their credit, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) may be interested in your feedback, too.  NAR’s Strategic Planning Committee — which meets Tuesday in Washington to discuss next steps in it’s “REthink the Future of Real Estate” campaign — hopes to engage 20,000 members in local workshops to challenge them to envision different scenarios.  One of them, the Ostrich scenario, pokes fun at agents, brokerages and association officials who want to keep their head in the sand and pretend like “the good old days” will continue indefinitely.

Unfortunately, the return of bidding wars seems to be rewarding this attitude in the short run but it won’t last long.

Change is inevitable and survey after survey says that real estate agents will morph into consultants at some point in the future.  In the meantime, pioneers like the Real Estate Cafe have been offering a money-savings Menu of Fees & Rebates for nearly 20 years.  Would you believe one of our Harvard our clients has rebated enough to save three years of college tuition, and an MIT client has saved two years?

Over the past two decades, we’ve also tried to act as consumer advocates, championing reforms to protect and empower homebuyers and sellers like you.  Here’s our list of the Top 10 Issues Facing Real Estate Consumers in 1995, the year we went into business.  What’s on your list?

Want to vent?  We’d love your help updating that Google spreadsheet above and invite you to participate in our new Google+ Community — Real Estate Consumer Alliance — to update the Top 10 list for 2013.  If you prefer, use this form to schedule a meeting offline so we can listen to what your individual complaints or if you want to participate in a group discussion of problems that might interest Senator Warren and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  If there is interest, maybe we’ll host our own virtual Town Hall Meeting.  Want to collaborate?

Posted in "We" companies, Bidding wars, Commission Reform, Consumer protection, Consumer surveys, Dual Agency Detective, Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights, RECALL: Real Estate Consumer Alliance, Unconference

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