Blog Archives

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

SNEAK PREVIEW: Real Estate Cafe’s experimental new FSBO Wiki!

Ssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh… This is a really B-I-G secret.  Click on the thumbnail image above to see some of the 150 plus images included in The Real Estate Cafe’s new experimental FSBO Wiki.  If you’d like a closer look, call 617-661-4046 or

Posted in "We" companies, Best of Breed, Do-it-yourself, Fee-for-service, FSBO: Best Practices, FSBO: For Sale By Owner, Inside The Real Estate Cafe, Real Estate Blogs: Best Practices, Savings & Rebates, Writing tools

Happy 7th anniversary to Wikipedia

2001Wikipedia, a free Wiki content encyclopedia, goes online.

Posted in Writing tools

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 Walkscore.com 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”?

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

Are paper files & walk-in real estate offices obsolete?

Recafe_1995
Twelve years ago, The Real Estate Cafe was founded as a walk-in,
internet-based, housing information center — to our knowledge, the
first in the country (see story below.)  Over the next five years,
1995-2000, we amassed a mountain of paper files, some in the 1,200
square foot body of the cafe and more in the basement.   

Even
though The Real Estate Cafe has operated virtually in recent years, we
continue to amass mountains of paper.  About 20 boxes of paper, mostly
marketing materials from recent real estate conventions and newspaper articles, are ready to
sorted, filed, or tossed today.  Approximately 50 files boxes are
already in deep storage.  While we rarely access paper documents in
"active" file cabinets, we constantly update digital files on The
Real Estate Cafe’s intranet.

So our question is three-fold:

1.  Is paper filing obsolete?

2.  Are walk-in real estate offices obsolete?

3.  If real estate brokerages reorganized to operate virtually, would savings be passed onto real estate consumers, both buyers and sellers, in the form of lower commissions, rebates, or fee-for-service business models like The Real Estate Cafe?

—–

Buying A La Carte
Bill Wendel’s Latest Venture, The Real Estate Cafe, Aims To Be The Buyer’s ‘guardian Angel’

Source: Boston Globe | Date: Sep 10, 1995 | By: Mary Sit, Globe Staff

…Called The Real Estate Cafe, it is a self-service information…[reducing] costs by having consumers do some of the work themselves.

Posted in Change Agents, Commission Reform, Fee-for-service, Inside The Real Estate Cafe, Savings & Rebates, Tech Trends, Writing tools

April Fool’s Day 2007: Real Estate Parodies & Predictions

Aprilfoolpredictions2007
Yesterday, a leading real estate technology news service published it’s Top 10 predictions on the future of real estate blogging.  Preliminary comments agree with Prediction #5:

The blogging community will give voice to those in the industry who previously didn’t have one — making them a force to be reckoned with. This has already happened, but will grow stronger this year. The open dialog will spark change the industry has never before seen.

What role will real estate consumer will play in that revolution, and what are the most effective ways to get homebuyers and sellers involved?  Humor — the kind that has turned political commentary into infotainment — could be an effective way to attract and engage real estate consumers. So a year after launching our original menu of wikis, which was so serious that it is still password-protected, The Real Estate Cafe’s newest wiki has a more light-hearted goal: 

Prediction #11:  Real estate bloggers and zillions of homebuyers and sellers will pool their wits on April Fool’s Day to publish a parody of the current housing market and real estate practices.

Hopefully, like satirical TV programs, there will be some serious content between the laughs.  Better still, maybe ordinary home buyers and sellers, turned "radical consumers advocates," will launch some lasting reforms; insuring they have the last laugh.  Who says real estate professionals, homebuyers, and sellers don’t have a sense of humor?  Anyone reading the paper knows that housing prices are a joke.  What else about the current housing market or real estate practices makes you laugh (or drives you crazy)?

Last year, our April Fool’s Day post asked:  Is designated agency an April Fool’s Day joke?  Use this "April fool’s real estate" keyword search on Google to see what others have done in the past.

Posted in "We" companies, Humor, Writing tools

Blog about wikis

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0399135049/qid=1147590887/sr=1-10/ref=sr_1_10/104-3070912-6243156?s=books&v=glance&n=283155Amazon_wiki

Posted in Writing tools

Using wikis to empower “do-it-yourself” homebuyers & sellers

Recafe_wikimenu_1"When it becomes time to make ideas real, wiki lets us keep playing while we work. Wiki is how we turn discussion into documentation, rap-session into planning-session, and meeting into collaboration–online."
James Carlson Director, Bucketworks

Exciting to read that the innovative folks at RainCityGuide in Seattle, one of the best real estate blogs in the nation, are also experimenting with wikis; but it appears we may be approaching the collaborative power of wikis from different starting points.  While RainCityGuide will be looking to fellow real estate professionals to collaborate on content, The Real Estate Cafe is looking to real estate consumers, both homebuyers and sellers.

On and off over six months, The Real Estate Cafe has been quietly building a "menu of wikis" with four to five main areas.  A snapshot of the current version of our main page, which is still password-protected, is shown above (click on image for larger view) or read text on the link below.  If you’d like in see where we’re headed or explore collaborations, or just selling your own home "for sale by owner" in Massachusetts and want to learn more about the steps in the process — wiki-style, email RECafe@mac.com.

If you’re wildly excited about wikis, maybe we’ll see you here in Cambridge, Massachusetts for WikiMania 2006.  Today (March 30, 2006) is the deadline for submitting a proposal to host a workshop or tutorial at this year’s Wikimania.

Maybe RainCityGuide and The Real Estate Cafe (and potentially others?) can collaborate on a workshop comparing how real estate professionals and consumers on both coasts use wikis to meet their real estate needs.  Should be interesting to watch if this particular opportunity is really ahead of it’s time as Dustin at RainCityGuide speculates:

"Another idea I have is almost definitely ahead-of-its-time, but could be interesting, is that anyone selling a home is free to create a webpage that describes their home on the.raincityguide.com. It will cost you nothing but time, and if you are creative enough, it might get you some interesting publicity."

Posted in "We" companies, Change Agents, Do-it-yourself, Inside The Real Estate Cafe, Real Estate Blogs: Best Practices, RECALL: Real Estate Consumer Alliance, Social Networking, Writing tools

Our apologies for recent technical difficulties

Please check back soon for missing graphics and delayed posts. 

Posted in Writing tools
Recent Posts
Recent Comments
    Archives
    Categories
    Meta
    HTML Snippets Powered By : XYZScripts.com