Castle Doctrine: Protecting real estate consumers in DysTrumpian era


The Consumer Federation of America, an organization that includes 300 groups, just finished their annual Financial Services Conference and the event begged the question, what is the future of consumer advocacy in a DysTrumpian era? This hard-hitting opinion in the Washington Posts asks if a Trump economy will teach kids to be “con men.”  Here’s what’s at stake:

“…big companies and moneyed interests [are] eager to fleece unsophisticated or shallow-pocketed borrowers, investors, consumers, workers and small-potatoes entrepreneurs.

To the untrained ear, Trump’s campaign rhetoric suggested he might be on board with Obama’s mission.

Trump spoke frequently of how the system was “rigged” against the little guy, and how — because no one knows the system better than Trump — he alone could un-rig it. But now that he’s heading into office, Trump has flanked himself with a fleet of anti-regulation, anti-consumer subordinates who appear hellbent on dismantling the Obama administration’s hard-won pro-little-guy protections.” (share this URL via social media)

Who will protect consumers from the oncoming assault? Leading consumer advocates from non-profit and government agencies around the country gathered at their annual two-day event, and their concerns are reflected tweets using the hashtag #CFAFS2016.

One keynote and a break out panel​​ addressed the need to protect investors, particularly those saving for retirement, by preserving the hard-won “Fiduciary Duty” rule president-elect Trump is likely to repeal​.  Hoping to link a recent court decision protecting homebuyers from conflicts of interest, Real Estate Cafe asked what’s the best way to extend fiduciary reform into real estate in a series of tweets.

#RE2020:  Protect consumers, deliver billions in savings

To my knowledge, no real estate consumer advocates participated in the gathering but another panel addressed privacy and the abuse of personal data collected online.  That is one of the emerging issues in real estate, and creepy real estate apps get our nomination for “Stealth Story of 2016.”  Consumer advocates and tech innovators need to collaborate with conscientious Realtor groups, like the @CRTLabs, to extend #FiduciaryFirst principles to include the role of #InformationFiduciary.  As Doc Searls told that group, “Shelter is Privacy 101;” and his Castle Doctrine explains why managing personal data from smart homes and real estate transactions is a consumer’s right in an era of surveillance capitalism.

Let’s use the Boston Realty Party, our annual gathering(s) of real estate innovators and consumer advocates on (or near) the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, to reconnect and update perspectives on what real estate might look like by 2020, the end of Donald Trump’s presidency.  Scary thought, but the real estate ecosystem is already changing, the question is who will reshape the future? Want to use these links to try?

To extend California’s landmark victory against dual agency, consumer advocates need to be involved in efforts by real estate insiders to update the agency disclosure form in Massachusetts. Anyone else alarmed that this meeting is being held at the Mass. Association of Realtors?  Classic example of the fox guarding the chicken coop?

What else will we see if we don’t organize to prevent a DysTrumpian future?

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Posted in Buyer agent, Consumer protection, Defensive Homebuying, Designated Agency, Dual Agency Detective, Dump Dual Agency, RE2020, Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights, RECALL: Real Estate Consumer Alliance, reVRM

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