Blog Archives

What can poverty teach about credibility, civility & global responsibility?

As one of millions of Mid-westerners with unending affection for their hometowns, I feel for Flint residents, current and past, who are deeply offended by a headline calling their home the “Most Apocalyptic, Violent City in America.”  But, as documented

Posted in Eternal Home, Poverty, Social Networking

Learn how to use QR codes to find Sweet Deals

To celebrate it’s 16th birthday, The Real Estate Cafe is looking for 16 tech savvy homebuyers eager to experiment with new money-saving tools and approaches to home buying. Looking for Sweet Deals?  Our newly redesigned MLS interface allows you to

Posted in Creative class, DIY Homebuyers, Extreme Househunting, Fee-for-service, Listing buyers, Million Dollar Markdowns, Price reductions, reVRM, Savings & Rebates, Social Networking, Sweetest Deals, Tech Trends, Tipping Policy, Valentine's Day

Translating 2010 predictions into Menu of RE Consumer Savings

Couldn’t wait to read Pat Kitano’s blog post, Media Predictions for 2010, and fired off the comment below just as quickly after reading his list bullet point list below: Community Engagement will become the Driver of Local Media Mobile +

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Posted in "We" companies, Idea Bar, Savings & Rebates, Social Networking, Tech Trends, Trend analysis

RECafe’s new Boston.com ad to feature “Best of Breed” money-saving demos

===== The Real Estate Cafe is working on new artwork to replace our existing banner ad on Boston.com’s open house search page.  Do-it-yourself homebuyers and sellers, what kind of educational seminars would you like us to host this month, and

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Posted in Best of Breed, Change Agents, Extreme Househunting, FSBO: Best Practices, Inside The Real Estate Cafe, Social Networking, Unconference

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

Got questions or ideas about how to reform the real estate industry? Use #REinventRE

“Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.” – Voltaire Got questions or ideas about how to reform the real estate industry? Please submit on Twitter using #REinventRE hashtag, before InmanNews Townhall Meeting today at 11am PCT,

Posted in Change Agents, Commission Reform, Dual Agency Detective, Extreme Househunting, Foreclosures, Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights, RECALL: Real Estate Consumer Alliance, Social Networking

Organizing real estate rebels, educating home buyers & sellers

Unconference_051008_3
Richard Howe’s blog post, "Urban Rebels," provided a timely opportunity to use the 4th of July to update our rallying cry for a consumer revolution in real estate.  Howe is Register of Deeds for the Middlesex North District in Massachusetts, and has written extensively about foreclosures and their impact on neighborhoods and communities. 

Excellent, timely post. With three million households behind on
their mortgage payments, and a projected two million headed towards
foreclosure, could the time finally be ripe for a consumer revolution
in real estate?

Some of use have been talking about that for more than a decade, but
as Glaeser writes, industry insiders have had "strong incentives to
fight for their regime.”  (See WSJ editorial originally entitled "The Realtor Racket" and download study on "Bringing More Competition to Real Estate Brokerage.")

Collaborating with fellow real estate change agents, we hope to
invite home buyers and sellers in Greater Boston to restart
conversations begun 15 years ago at the “Consumer Revolution in Real
Estate
” at our experimental new location: One Broadway, Arlington, MA.

We’ll experiment with seminars, real estate round tables, and web
site demos. I’m particularly excited about reviving our Bubble Hours
and hosting support groups for FSBOs & households facing
foreclosure. Perhaps you can join us at an upcoming real estate unconference, or
even present a topic / lead a discussion.

Posted in "We" companies, Bubble Hour, Change Agents, Commission Reform, Foreclosures, FSBO: For Sale By Owner, RECALL: Real Estate Consumer Alliance, Social Networking

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

Using Twitter to introduce home buyers to FSBOs

Marathonbuyers_042108This time of year, most real estate agents are helping sellers prepare their homes for the Spring housing market.  But as fee-for-service real estate consultants who specialize in representing buyers, The Real Estate Cafe wants to introduce our clients: 

  • To sellers BEFORE they list their homes in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), and
  • To homeowners who are selling "for sale by owner" (FSBO).

That’s why we celebrated the Boston Marathon Monday by updating some buyer profiles from our 1,000 Click Club, a highly-motivated group of buyer clients who have viewed at least 1,000 pages on the MLS.  If you’re a seller who falls into either category above, we’d be glad to introduce you to our buyers.  We assure you that our menu of fees are quite modest by comparison to traditional real estate commissions, and the potential savings are substantial.

For example, one of the buyer / sellers matches we helped earlier this year will save approximately $80,000.  We can’t guarantee those kinds of savings, but if you’re a seller who’s struggling to get your home ready for the Spring market, we can offer you three hours of decluttering / organization / home staging for just $99 for three hours (limited offer).  We’d also like to invite a limited number of sellers to attend one of our upcoming "for sale by owner" seminars, most likely in Arlington, MA or to schedule an in-home presentation.  (One of our dreams is to teach 50 to 100 sellers how to save $1 million as a group.  We passed that milestone for buyers during one recent 12 month period, see map of client savings).

We’ll publish more buyer profiles, special offers, and seminars for buyers and sellers in the future.  You can receive updates by following us on Twitter.com/RealEstateCafe

Posted in Extreme Househunting, Fee-for-service, FSBO: Best Practices, FSBO: For Sale By Owner, Savings & Rebates, Social Networking, Timing the market

Will homebuyers create their own “Twitter posses”?

Powerofus_twitterposses
Thanks to PBS.org’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 http://twitter.com/realestatecafe

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
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