FLASHBACK 2006: With all of the press and blog posts recently about bidding wars and prices “soaring,” maybe some home buyers are too anxious to stop and question their own assumptions about rising prices or advice they are getting from peers and “counterfeit buyer agents.” One Boston.com reader commenting on Selling is now the easy part, makes this point well when he poses this hypothetical scenario:
“The $500k house you were eying a few years ago is now $625k.
Can that commenter or anyone document a consistent pattern of 25% price increases anywhere in Massachusetts in recent years, or offer proof that it is likely or sustainable? The title of this Forbes article alone should cause one to pause, right?
Moving from that one Boston.com blog comment stream to real estate cheerleading in general, is there some point at which “industry spin” rises to false advertising or deceptive trade practices? That’s the question our recent blog post — http://bit.ly/LuxLies — raises. Thankfully, Banker & Tradesman requested permission to republish one of our comments about “What’s really happening with luxury single-family homes across Massachusetts?” as a Letter to the Editor.
Today is Realtor Day on the Hill in Massachusetts and they are presenting their legislative agenda to the Attorney General and elected representatives statewide. If Fr. Robert J. McEwen, a Jesuit priest from Boston College and former president of the Consumer Federation of America, could elevate a discussion at the state level to become national policy, is it possible for this tech-savvy generation of homebuyers to do it again? If we have “Truth in Lending” regulations, is it time to call for some standards of truth in real estate reporting or should we simply rely on the wisdom of crowds to post comments on blogs to debug self-serving industry spin?
If we can’t agree on what’s true, and the numbers don’t make it clear, can we at least agree that those who misrepresent the truth should be penalized? If existing law or new legislation doesn’t hold real estate cheerleaders accountable, hopefully, victims of the last boom / bust cycle and a new generation of tech-savvy consumers will confront the “Culture of BS.” Can you believe that was the theme of this commencement address rebroadcast by NPR / WBUR?
If the real estate industry won’t engage in it’s own “Economic Examination of Conscience,” as Pope Francis says, what can real estate consumers do to make more enlightened decisions and reform the real estate industry?
For our part, Real Estate Cafe is prepared to offer financial incentives to those who are willing to crowdsource the truth, and provide DIY tools to “STRESS TEST” your own assumptions about where housing prices are headed under different scenarios so you can decide what’s true for you. Use the link on this page to contact us to meet offline or a schedule a DEMO online.