Blog Archives

DIY Homebuyers: Ask a question, answer or vote for others

Want to ask other homebuyers, sellers or real estate professionals a question? Simply type into the “Submit new question” box above, then click ASK. You can also use add comments to other questions, or VOTE to increase their ranking by

Posted in "We" companies, Bidding wars, Bubble Hour, Buyer agent, Client Feedback, Consumer protection, Consumer surveys, Defensive Homebuying, DIY Homebuyers, Savings & Rebates

FLASHBACK: DIY Web publishing for real estate 1999 vs 3Q2012

​DIY home buyers and FSBOs:  Think about real estate websites you’ve used, from real estate portals, like Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com, to real estate brands, like Coldwell Banker and Redfin.   What features to you like best? What frustrates you

Posted in Best of Breed, Client Feedback, Consumer protection, DIY Homebuyers, Do-it-yourself, Fee-for-service, FSBO: Best Practices, Idea Bar, Inside The Real Estate Cafe, Writing tools

Digital Playgroup eager to welcome iPad, newest member of Apple’s iFamily

Seems everyone is choo-ing over Apple’s new iPad, including my grandson.  At four months, wonder how soon this “precocious” little guy will begin interacting with the iPad?  Haven’t read enough about how the device actually works to know what’s possible,

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Posted in "We" companies, Client Feedback, Creative class, Digital Playgroup, DIY Homebuyers, Do-it-yourself, Idea Bar, Tech Trends, Valentine's Day

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

How will the Bailout Bill impact home buyers & sellers? txt your answer

If you’re unable to join us at the TweetUp tonight at TogetherInMotion, One Broadway in Arlington, text your response to our Wiffiti board so anyone online or at the TweetUp can read your perspective. 

Send us an email if you’d like to participate in one of our upcoming Bubble Hours or "Fear of Foreclosure" support groups for anxious homeowners.

Posted in Bubble Hour, Client Feedback, Consumer surveys, Defensive Homebuying, Real Estate Bubble, RECALL: Real Estate Consumer Alliance, Tech Trends

If airlines have fare sales, should real estate agents? Part 2

Businesssuckssale
Poking fun at the current cover story in Barron’s Magazine, "Bottom’s Up: This Real-Estate Rout May Be Short-Lived," Bill Apgar of the Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing predicted, "There will be 10 articles a month [like that] until we hit the bottom, and the last one will be right."

When will it be the right time to buy?  That’s what all The Real Estate Cafe’s clients are asking.  Some of their house hunts began two years before the market peaked, and are now into the third year of falling prices.  Nearly 50 of our active buyers have looked at more than 1,000 MLS page views. Twenty-one have looked at more than 1,000 MLS pages in the past year alone, but only four of them have paid any fees to The Real Estate Cafe.

Unlike listing agencies who represent sellers and charge 5% to 6% commissions, or dot.com start-ups that are venture funded, The Real Estate Cafe pays it’s overhead almost entirely from hourly consulting fees paid by clients.  With so many buyer waiting out the housing bubble, those fees have slowed to a trickle.  Now, after 13 years, we need your financial support.

We constantly look for ways to help you save money, by learning more about the housing bubble and the latest technologies.  Today, for example, we attended a seminar on State of the Nation’s Housing and a Foreclosure Prevention Workshop. This weekend, we’ll participate in PodCampBoston (for the third time.)  Next week, we’d like to participate in two real estate technology conferences in San Francisco:  REBarCamp and Real Estate Connect.

To do so, we need to raise $2,000 to $3,000 quickly.  You can help us, help you save money by selecting one of the following special offers:

Money-saving offer #1:  Fare sale
Repeat the Fare Sale we used successfully in 2007 to get two to three clients to prepay $500 to $1,000 in exchange for 1 to 3 hours additional work for FREE.  Email for details.

Money-saving offer #2:  Experiment with monthly fees
Introduce an optional monthly subscription fee. If you agree to pay $250 per month, we’ll slash our our consulting fees, normally $100 to $150 per hour, to $50 per hour for five hours—that’s a savings of 50% to nearly 70%! Like frequent flier miles, hours you prepay accumulate and you can use them any time you like.  Email for details.

Money-saving offer #3. Attend educational seminars
Host a technology debriefing after our trip to San Francisco to share best money-saving tools and tips from the two real estate technology conferences. We would like to host two events, one for buyers and the other for FSBOs ("for sale by owner") within 10 days of the conferences at TogetherInMotion, One Broadway, Arlington, MA.  $49 per household, per event.  Email for details.

Finally, your best savings opportunity may already be part of our normal menu of fees & rebates.  For example, one of our $3,000 flat fee options enables you to buy down our hourly consulting fee from $150 per hour (without retainer) to $75 for 40 hours – that’s a 50% savings before payment of any performance bonus.  (Contact us for more details on this option and others.)

We encourage buyers to wait for the housing prices to correct, but don’t wait to take advantage of these savings opportunities. Once we raise $2,000 to $3,000, they’ll be gone.

Posted in "We" companies, Bubble Hour, Client Feedback, Fee-for-service, FSBO: Best Practices, Housing forecasts, Inside The Real Estate Cafe, Price trends, Real Estate Bubble, Savings & Rebates, Tech Trends, Timing the market

How can we improve our money-saving Menu of Fees & Rebates?

Menurebates_v1It’s been more than a year since we updated our Menu of Fees & Rebates, so we’d like to invite home buyers to meet in person to discuss possible improvements.  Our current options are shown above (click on arrowheads in outline for more detail) and on our wiki.

  • We offer three basic options:  traditional commissions with limited rebates, hourly fees with full rebates, and flat fees with performance bonuses
  • Our most popular options include a 100% rebate of the buyer agency commission included in the sales price. 
  • Our hourly fees range from $75 to $125 per hour depending on the size of retainer prepaid (or $150 per hour with no retainer or minimum fee).
  • Limited availability:  Flat fees start at $3,000 plus performance bonus.  Each performance bonus is negotiated individually to motivate us to help you maximize saving (see map of savings totaling over $1 million).
  • We’re also willing to work with a few buyers on a 1% fee option, some restrictions apply.
  • Finally, you can propose your own fee / rebate, particularly if you are selling "for sale by owner" and would like us to represent you as a buyer.  That way you can maximize savings both buying and selling.

Our ideal is a mix of fees — hourly, flat fees, and traditional.  If you select option 3.3 and prepaid $3,000 in the next few days, we’ll cut our hourly rate by 50% for the first 40 hours.  We’re pushing this special offer so we can attend the National Association of Realtors mid-year convention next week to identify the best new money-saving tools and trends for home buyers and sellers. 

Should we host a series of webinars or meetings off-line to discuss the benefits of each fee / rebate, and to help new clients decide which money-saving option best meets their
needs?  We can meet on short notice at a local cafe or in the privacy of your home.  We’re also eager to begin meeting at  TogetherInMotion in Arlington, MA so working parents can talk over food while their kids play.  Please contact us for additional information.

Posted in "We" companies, Client Feedback, Commission Reform, Do-it-yourself, Fee-for-service, Inside The Real Estate Cafe, Savings & Rebates, Social Networking, Unbundling the Commission

Chat about Jan. 2006 home sales in Boston / Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Association of Realtors is expected to post January sales statistics to their web site sometime around noon today.  To help make sense of them, The Real Estate Cafe is hosting four chats through the day which the public can join as a guest (if you are unable to see any graphics when you enter the chat room, try clicking on the link below): 

Bubble Hour #1:  Noon to 1pm

Transcript & graphs since 7:20am now online.

Bubble Hour #2:  6:30 to 7:30pm

If there is interest, we’ll do this one in person at Borders Bookstore Cafe @ CambridgeSide Galleria tonight or maybe tomorrow.  Please RSVP in advance so we can make that decision.

Bubble Hour #3:  8:00pm to 9pm

We anticipate the largest number of participants for this Bubble Hour, including a special guest from one of that state registry of deeds who will share some statistics for February, three weeks ahead of the Mass. Association of Realtors release their own.

Bubble Hour #4:  11pm to midnight

We have a number of people who house hunt just before heading to bed so to accommodate them, we’ll host one more bubble hour today

We’ve already begun posting some content on line, and invite your comments and questions here or in the chat room.  One note of caution:  overall market statistics, like those being released today by the Mass. Association of Realtors, are often too broad to translate into meaningful information at the local level. That’s one of the reasons chat participants with different perspectives — both geographically and with respect to their opinion about the housing bubble — are welcome.  (As always, you can also call our reader line to record your own sound bite:  617-876-2117 for potential use in a future podcast.)

Posted in Client Feedback, In the News, Market trends, Price trends, Real Estate Bubble, Timing the market

Real Estate readers choice

Reader’s choice, Wisconsin ???, NPR.org:
Madison Wisconsin readers choose front page news coverage through online poll

Posted in Client Feedback

Should I Buy a House in the Bay Area?–Running the Numbers

Home_page043005The Real Estate Cafe is redesigning it’s main web site and we’d like to invite our clients and others to comment on some DRAFT text.  Would the following three keywords and positioning statements make you want to work with us rather than one of our competitors?

RECREATE
As nationally recognized consumers advocates, The Real Estate Cafe has been pioneering new business models that help home buyers and sellers save billions of dollars for more than a decade.

COLLABORATE
The Real Estate Cafe partners with it’s do-it-yourself, tech savvy clients and rewards them with unrivaled commission rebates.  You can also pay for our services "a la carte" on an hourly and flat fee.

EDUCATE
Knowledge is power and The Real Estate Cafe teaches its clients how to "beat the system" through educational seminars, blogs on important topics like the real estate bubble, and peer-to-peer communication through it’s unique "Tipping Policy" where we PAY YOU for your opinion!

Posted in Client Feedback, Do'ers profiles, RECALL: Real Estate Consumer Alliance
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