Consumer Protection Week: Got Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights?

Borrowers Bill of Rights

Are the stars aligning?  Two weeks after the White House issued a blue print for a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is participating in its secondNational Consumer Protection Week.  Time to revisit the Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights first published in 1999?

As bubble-weary house hunters ask if 2012 will mark the bottom of the housing market, the need to protect them from another boom / bust cycle or simply overpaying for their home through manipulative, blind bidding wars is, IMHO, a moral imperative.


Eleven years ago, The Real Estate Cafe played the lead role creating a Petition which causedConsumer Union, publishers of Consumer Reports, to call for a Home Buyer Bill of Rights in Congressional testimony in May 2001.  We’ve blogged about rights and reformsrepeatedly since then, and invited fellow real estate consumer advocates to use our wiki to update a working version of the Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights on the 5th & 10th anniversaries of the Congressional tesimony.

Here’s a short history of the Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights as we know it.  Can any readers help us turn this into an interactive timeline?

Call to Action

Some predict 2012 will be the Year of Customer Activism. What do we need to do to make that happen in real estate?

Can we use the Nation Consumer Protection Week hashtag, #NCPW to invite home buyers and sellers around the country, plus real estate consumer advocates like the Consumer Federation of America (@ConsumerFed) and Consumer Advocates in American Real Estate ( to seed conversations about protecting real estate consumers in local housing markets?

Why?  Because housing prices have fallen back to 2001 levels, and we cannot afford — as individuals or a nation — to see another decade of wealth wiped out by the repeat a boom / bust cycle.  Since residential real estate brokerage practices are outside the regulatory scope of the CFPB, and state regulatory agencies are dominated by Realtors, it’s essential to ask consumers what they think the Top 10 issues are facing them as home buyers and sellers.

The Real Estate Cafe made it’s first list of the Top 10 Consumer Issues in Real Estate in 1995, and have updated it periodically.  Since housing prices have lost a decade, want to know what we called the Best & Worst of 2002 from the real estate consumer’s perspective?


PS.  Trying to decide whether it makes sense to rent or buy?  An NPR talkshow recently discussed challenges younger homebuyers face entering the housing market at this time. Here’s our comment.  Yours, of course, are welcome below or via Twitter @RealEstateCafe

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