Blog Archives

Neighbors in a post-Snowden era: Would N-Scores increase Happiness?

To ask “Are you the neighborhood snob?”, as’s real estate blog did yesterday, misses the point of Trulia’s Neighbor Survey.  Is anyone else concerned that 2/3rds of American say they like their neighbors, but nearly half don’t know their

Posted in Buyer agent, Extreme Househunting, Homebuyer Clubs, Idea Bar, IntentCasting, Mapping, Proactive househunting, RECALL: Real Estate Consumer Alliance, reVRM, Tech Trends, VRM

Priced-out vs Blissed-out? Where should we house hunt?

Space starved in Greater Boston?  You’re not alone.  Today’s blog post on recognizes that Boston buyers are not just space-starved, but that the “overcrowded and overpriced” region has left people house-poor, time-starved and stressed out.  Is there is a

Posted in Best of Breed, Creative class, DIY Homebuyers, Extreme Househunting, Idea Bar, Mapping, Price trends, Proactive househunting, reVRM, VRM

Mobile Real Estate Apps: Will Geo-Fencing create a Geo-FSBO Future?

The real estate industry is buzzing this week about two blog posts, “Geo-fencing and mobile marketing” published by Inman News and Chris Thorman’s original blog post, “Searching for Real Estate Made Easy: Geo-Fences Plus Mobile Phones.”  (Chris writes for Software

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Posted in DIY Homebuyers, FSBO: Best Practices, Idea Bar, Listing buyers, Mapping, Savings & Rebates, Tech Trends, Timing the market

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

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

Best site to identify commuting costs & hassles, in good weather & bad?

Earlier today, Bryan Person launched a wiki called Awful Commutes.  Right now, it seems to be focused on collecting stories from yesterday’s snow emergency in Boston which unexpectedly turned commuting into winter sport.  No need to limit the wiki to accounts of those 5 and 6 hour marathons.  Three years ago, I thought about moving to Lowell, MA but decided to stay in Cambridge because I could walk to so many important places in my life. My understanding is that helps potential homebuyers identify the most "walkable communities."

Posted in Defensive Homebuying, Do-it-yourself, Extreme Househunting, In the News, Mapping, Writing tools

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

Mapping credit crunch casualties in Boston & beyond

Inspired by today’s Boston Globe’s cover story entitled, "Mortgage crisis may hurt sales this fall" and it’s ominous subtitle — "More buyers likely to be refused loans" — The Real Estate Cafe is eager to begin adding credit crunch casualties to our award-winning real estate bubble map.  Our first location has had three offers fall through over the past five months, including one last week.  If we could mobilize an army of would-be homebuyers turned investigative reporters, we’d map several categories of credit crunch casualties:

  • Properties "back on market" (both MLS listings and "for sale by owner")
  • Buyers whose loan applications are refused
  • Prices that are renegotiated after properties fail to appraise
  • Canceled transactions because would-be buyers cannot sell their existing home

Will it be possible to identify and document enough case studies to create a credible "credit crunch map" or at least a subset of our existing real estate bubble map?  We’re not sure, but the financial reward of such a collective effort could be substantial:  depending on one’s price range, patient home buyers in Boston could save $10,000 to $25,000 per month over the next four to six months.  In the meantime, we’re willing to compensate clients who contribute content, see our Tipping Policy.

We agree:  "an amazing scene [is] developing;" and we’re eager to see if interactive mapping can help translate credit crunch casualties into clients savings.  As the Globe wrote, "sellers who fear financing problems may jeopardize a deal are reducing their prices," and "Buyers ‘are aware they have more choices, and down the line, their
choices may increase exponentially…’ "

Related postSummer slump of 2007:  For every 2 sales, 3 listings failing in MA

Comments welcome below and / or in The Real Estate Cafe’s Idea Bar.

Posted in "We" companies, Bubble map, Mapping, Price trends, Real Estate Bubble, Savings & Rebates, Timing the market

Fee-for-service real estate, not fee-for-research (yet)

We’re a bit embarrassed about asking our clients and others to ChipIn
to pay for our attendance at a real estate technology conference
, but
as one of nation’s first and leading fee-for-service real estate
consulting firms the slow housing market has reduced cash flow at The Real Estate Cafe. We
haven’t charged for access to cutting edge market research in the past,
but we may be forced to experiment with "fee-for-research" in the

To date, we’ve done the opposite — we’ve paid clients to add content to our Real Estate Bubble Map!  Their collective efforts helped us earn’s "Best Real Estate Map" Award for 2006, and the map was featured in an international conference on the future of journalism. 

Visit our map of homes selling for below assessed value in Greater Boston to learn more about our "Tipping policy."

TRAVEL ALERT:  Our plane to San Francisco leaves in three hours, so we’re offering new and existing clients a variety of financial incentives — like signing bonuses and reduced hourly rates from our normal menu of fees & rebates — to help pay for travel expenses.  Call 617-661-4046 for more details.

Posted in "We" companies, Fee-for-service, Inside The Real Estate Cafe, Mapping, Savings & Rebates, Tech Trends

MIT Professor: Housing prices could decline another 20%

Savings of $100,000 or more on individual home purchases were relatively common across the top 25 most expensive housing markets in Greater Boston in 2006, and according to one MIT professor, savings are likely to continue in 2007.  Professor William C. Wheaton predicts housing prices could decline another 20 percent in Greater Boston and other markets over the next two to three years.  Does that mean that homebuyers in the most expensive communities will see even more price reductions in each of these categories in 2007?

PARTIAL MAP of homes selling for more than $100,000 below their original asking price: (see technical note below)

As sales prices fall, well-informed sellers are could set more realistic prices so the gaps between the original asking price and final sales prices may not be as wide as those recorded in 2006.  We’ll continue to map the location of six figure savings, and invite you to do the same on The Real Estate Cafe’s award-winning interactive bubble map.  We’re so convinced that our clients will save money, we’re willing to base part of our compensation on it.  Contact us at 617-661-4046 or RECafe [at] Mac [dot] com for information on our experimental NEW fees and rebates options.

Posted in Bubble map, Housing forecasts, In the News, Mapping, Price trends, Real Estate Bubble, Savings & Rebates
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