Blog Archives

Crowdsourcing insights into a slumping housing market in Boston

December 11 will mark the 9th anniversary of joining, a forum for homebuyers to crowdsource insights during the real estate recession.  Over that period, Real Estate Cafe contributed over 100 posts, and two offer context for the current housing market.  Obviously, they were

Posted in "We" companies, #REonTap, Bubble Hour, Bubble map, Housing bubble, Market trends, Price reductions, Savings & Rebates, Seasonality, Sweetest Deals

Bidding War Drone: In-House Intelligence Report raises questions

So far, no one has been injured by a real estate drone taking photos of their listings or homes for sale, but we’re glad the FAA is implementing regulations to prevent that in the future. Contrast that to bidding wars.

Posted in Bidding wars, Bubble map, Buyer agent, Consumer protection, Defensive Homebuying, Designated Agency, Dual Agency Detective, Investigative Reporting, Luxury homes, RECALL: Real Estate Consumer Alliance

Got DIY content? It pays to do your homework here!

  “It pays to do your homework here!” That was one of the headlines used in the first full-page ad placed by the Real Estate Cafe in April 1996. To dramatize that we were turning the real estate industry upside

Posted in Bubble map, Buyer agent, commission rebate, Commission Reform, Defensive Homebuying, Discount real estate, DIY Homebuyers, Fee-for-service, Proactive househunting, Real Estate Bubble, Savings & Rebates, Tipping Policy

Groupon for Real Estate or GroupCon? Choose MEGA-savings, not marginal coupons!

Glad to see one of the most innovative thought leaders in e-commerce moving the “Groupon for Real Estate” conversation from industry insiders to the blogosphere, but note that Pat Kitano’s blog post is real estate agent-centric and may assume traditional

Tagged with:
Posted in "We" companies, Bubble map, commission rebate, Commission Reform, Consumer protection, Coupons, DIY Homebuyers, Dual Agency Detective, Dump Dual Agency, Fee-for-service, Group buying, Homebuyer Clubs, RECALL: Real Estate Consumer Alliance, reVRM, Savings & Rebates, Unbundling the Commission

Updating Million Dollar Markdowns

Greetings, readers, The Real Estate Cafe is in the process of updating our database of “Million Dollar Markdowns” featured in the Boston Globe story, Luxury for Less, and will release more information soon.  In the meantime, we invite you

Posted in Bubble map, Defensive Homebuying, Luxury homes, Luxury housing, M$M, Market trends, Million Dollar Markdowns, Price reductions, Price trends, Real Estate Bubble, Savings & Rebates, Sweetest Deals

Should “Blind” bidding wars be regulated? Time to launch iPetition?

In response to an article entitled, Year’s end lifts sales of condos in Boston, one of readers wrote: “Seriously, the bidding wars that have been going on for the past 2 years, that is what someone should write an

Posted in Bidding wars, Bubble Hour, Bubble map, Consumer protection, Defensive Homebuying, Dump Dual Agency, Mapping, Real Estate Bubble, Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights

Sneak Preview: Creating tours of “Million Dollar Markdowns” on Google City Tours

For nearly a year, The Real Estate Cafe has been using Google Maps to track luxury properties across Massachusetts with price reductions of approximately one million dollars or more.  So when we read that Google City Tours had been updated

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Bubble map, M$M, Mapping, Million Dollar Markdowns, Savings & Rebates

Should we use TwitPay to turbocharge our Tipping Policy?

The Real Estate Cafe’s original tipping policy gave commission rebate credits to active clients who contributed listings to our RealEstateBubbleMap: Boston. TwitPay could give us the opportunity to create a virtual Tip Box on every street corner! Do-it-yourself home buyers

Posted in "We" companies, Bubble map, Client Feedback, Do-it-yourself, Fee-for-service, Idea Bar, Inside The Real Estate Cafe, Moblogging in Real Estate, Real Estate Bubble, Savings & Rebates, Social Networking

Part I: Housing slump hits Cambridge: 1 in 3 single family homes selling below assessed value


Part I:  On Sunday, July 13, 2008, the Boston Globe published a lead story in City Weekly entitled, In real estate sales, not all cities are equal.

A blog post earlier today by Redfin stated that "several single-family houses sold for less than the assessed value" in Cambridge, but the magnitude of the price correction underway is far more substantial.  As shown in the graph above, approximately one in three single family homes sold below their assessed value in Cambridge during the first six months of the past two years.  (The Real Estate Cafe’s analysis was limited to the first two quarters of each year because we assume that a higher percentage of homes sell below assessed value during the second half of each year.)

The Real Estate Cafe first began tracking sales below assessed value during the first quarter of 2006; and by September 7, 2006, our research was featured in a Boston Globe story entitled, "Priced below assessment."  Contrary to Redfin’s assertion that "a house would have to be ravaged by fire" to sell below assessed value, a map in the Globe story revealed that 37% of the single family homes sold in Brookline were below assessed value, compared to 22% of the single family homes sold in Cambridge at the time.  (Click for sample of the homes selling below assessed value in Brookline in the past.)

Two years ago today, our first user added their own examples of falling house prices to our interactive real estate bubble map.  Inman News also featured our map in a mini-series on Real Estate 2.0 innovations, and we need your financial support to attend their real estate technology conference next week to continue our 15 year tradition of helping real estate consumers save money.

Preview of Part II:  Homes selling below assessed value has clearly become more commonplace, but what was newsworthy about the Globe’s recent story is the magnitude of how far below assessed value:  During the first six months of 2008, two homes in Cambridge sold for approximately $2 million below their original asking price; and more significantly, more than $1 million below their assessed value (based on our analysis of MLS data.  Watch for more details this week.

Posted in Bubble map, Market trends, Million Dollar Markdowns, Price trends, Real Estate Bubble, Savings & Rebates, Timing the market

Will homebuyers create their own “Twitter posses”?

Thanks to’s Idea Lab for introducing me to the phrase, "Twitter posse."  Their vision of reporters asking questions via Twitter reminds me of Real Estate Cafe blog posts about "home buyers turned embedded real estate reporters."  Three years ago, February 11, 2005, we said:

"…our goal is to help seed a new generation of "embedded real estate
reporters" or citizen journalists."

A more pointed question, "Will mobloggers pop the real estate bubble?" followed on April 17, 2005, four months before the housing market peaked in Massachusetts and a year before we invited bubble bloggers and citizen journalists to contribute to our Real Estate Bubble Map.

We’ve only begun to scratch the surface of potential uses for Twitter in real estate, so why limit brainstorming about Twitter Posses to reporters?  Just substitute the word "home buyer" for reporter in the original Idea Lab post and you’ll see that "homebuyer posses," "househunting posses," or "neighborhood posses" could become commonplace:

A potential home buyer could enlist a dozen or two dozen passionate, driven home buyers to serve as a kind of Twitter posse. Whenever she was about to tackle a big story or difficult interview, the home buyer could begin a mobile dialogue with fellow home buyers.

What I like about the concept: It brings a much-needed air of transparency to the house hunting process.  It expands the home buyer’s field of vision.

Combine that with interactive mapping, or add Twitter posts to our Real Estate Bubble Map, and consumers could create a powerful new way to share market insights by typing 140 character messages into their smart phones as they tour open houses, drive through new neighborhoods, etc.

Any home buyers or sellers in Boston or elsewhere already using Twitter?  Any real estate professionals, particularly buyer agents, already organizing "househunting posses"?  (Any developers want to work on the idea?)  Post examples below, or @realestatecafe on Twitter.  You can follow our latest Tweets on our blog, or

Posted in "We" companies, Bubble map, Extreme Househunting, Mapping, Moblogging in Real Estate, Real Estate Blogs: Best Practices, RECALL: Real Estate Consumer Alliance, Social Networking, Writing tools
Recent Posts
Recent Comments
    HTML Snippets Powered By :