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Using calls to “disrupt real estate” to raise awareness of money-saving alternatives

Cocreate_Disrupt_Roadmap

Greetings, fellow real estate consumer advocates and DIY homebuyers and sellers (particularly those hoping to sell for-sale-by-owner ),

Have you seen the article this week in Entrepreneur Magazine:

Who Will Step Up and Disrupt the Real Estate Industry?
http://bit.ly/DisruptREAL (please share this URL via social media)

Like it’s predecessor below, published six months ago, it’s creating a lot of buzz outside the industry:

Could someone disrupt real estate, please?
http://bit.ly/DisruptPLS (please share this URL via social media)

Visiting the press links below, it’s encouraging to see how much momentum was generated a decade ago, but the absence in recent years leaves one might wondering if the press went easy on the industry during the real estate recession:

http://www.areba.org/news.html  (please share this URL via social media)

Harnessing the winds of change

Thankfully, the winds of change are blowing again, and calls for change are coming from inside and outside the industry. For example, the recent REBarCamp in Boston generated a Facebook group called Real Estate is Broken. Compare this hard-hitting, insider’s expose of 25 ways real estate is broken to softball questions directed at talking heads during industry conventions, or not addressed at all:

http://bit.ly/BrokenRE (please share this URL via social media)

There was a time when consumer advocates and technology innovators intent on changing the real estate industry gathered on Real Estate Connect conferences in New York and San Francisco, but Brad Inman’s post last April reveals the growing disconnect with the most disruptive business models and a new generation of FSBOs (technology enabled homeowners seeking to save money by selling for-sale-by-owner):

Real estate disruption may not be what you think it is
http://bit.ly/NotDisrupt (please share this URL via social media)

“I have never believed that real estate disruption comes from consumers selling their own houses. Individual real estate agents are here to stay. They provide an invaluable service that most of us need and want.”

Historical context

Efforts to reform the residential real estate industry reform span more than 30 years, beginning in 1983 when the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigated the industry and then rose in frequency eight years later when the Consumer Federation of American first called the industry a “cartel.” In 2006, the FTC, US Department of Justice held hearings and brought legal action against the industry and individual MLS’s to create a more open, competitive real estate marketplace. Some, including members of this group, predicted that the fruit of those reform efforts, market innovation, and web-savvy consumers would yield $30 billion annually in consumer savings.

How do we rekindle that spirit and deliver those savings? Several times over the past two decades, alternative real estate business models have struggled to organize three different groups: (1) buyer agents, (2) fee-for-service real estate consultants, and (3) LEOs: Listing Entry Only services. Is there enough membership / infrastructure left in any of those groups to rekindle the reform movement?

One non-profit — http://CAARE.org — Consumer Advocates in American Real Estate — is underfunded, but is a credible source that the press, including Inman News, seeks out for the consumer’s perspective. RECALL (Real Estate Consumer Alliance) is a related but an informal group that has mobilized in the past on an ad-hoc basis to address a variety of issues that negatively impact consumers, like designated agency legislation.

Co-creating Synergy

If you’d like to reconnect with fellow change agents and follow or participate in disruption related conversations please visit the link below.

http://bit.ly/JoinRECALL

Alternatively, simply follow the hashtag #RE2020 to see if a new coalition / new generation of real estate consumer advocates and geeks can make progress towards an open real estate ecosystem by 2020.

NEXT STEPS

1. SPEED NETWORKING online this Friday, October 10 at noon (EST). Contact realestatecafe (dot) com for details.

2. BARCAMP BOSTON offline Saturday & Sunday October 11-12.  Want to meet offline and continue the collaborative mapping exercise on the image above:  (1) Where is real estate broken or (2) vulnerable to disruption, and (3) where are new start-ups already making inroads?

3.  MEET next week October 16 at http://DisruptCRE.com in Boston, and explore best ways to build traction for disruption, reform and realignment in residential real estate, too.

4.  SHARE link to our related blog post, Disrupt, reform or realign real estate: Opportunities to connect dots & build synergy

http://bit.ly/REDots

Posted in Change Agents, Commission Reform, Consumer protection, Disrupt Real Estate, Fee-for-service, FSBO: For Sale By Owner, RE2020, Real Estate Roundtables, RECALL: Real Estate Consumer Alliance, Savings & Rebates

Disrupt, reform or realign real estate: Opportunities to connect dots & build synergy

DisruptRE_Map_091814

A question asked yesterday in Entrepreneur Magazine has been echoing across the internet this year:  “Is it time for real estate to be disrupted?” The question is appropriate but too simplistic if it fails to recognize decades of failed reform efforts and that hundreds of millions of dollars have already been spent on start-ups that have failed to break up the real estate cartel.

That’s not a defense of the existing business model, hardly.  It’s a plea to step back and engage in some “smart failing” — learning from hard earned lessons of the past, so that any effort to disrupt or realign the industry NOW can be more efficient and effective because it’s informed by a more comprehensive perspective.

To do that means starting pre-internet.

After calling the industry an informal cartel in 1991, the Consumer Federation of America called for real estate commissions to be uncoupled or divorced predicting it would save home buyers and sellers billions of dollars per year.

That was nearly a decade after the Federation Trade Commission began pushing for agency disclosure laws following their landmark study in 1983.  While those regulations were enacted, they are routinely ignored and the industry passed laws — that should be repealed — to normalize conflicts of interest.

The recognition that real estate consumers have rights which were being denied by deceptive and anti-competitive business practices caused the Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, to call for the creation of a Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights in Congressional testimony in May 2001.

None of those calls for reforms has been realized nor were they predicated on technology or a single entrepreneur; so an opportunity still exists for a group of new startups to use emerging technologies to co-create an open eco-system in real estate that aligns with first principles — consumer rights.

To begin, start with where Real Estate is Broken — http://bit.ly/BrokenRE — a new group on Facebook, that was amazingly, started by real estate professionals after REBarCamp Boston not by industry critics or innovators outside the real estate industry.  Still, both those latter groups as well as real estate change agents who are willing to rethink their future, are invited to start following #RE2020 on Twitter.  #RE2020 is a campaign to co-create a an open ecosystem by the year 2020 so real estate consumers can save BILLIONS of dollars annually.

If you share that goal, let’s meet online or off to explore potential synergy and collaborations. If you’re in New England, here are two local suggestions and two national events:

REGIONAL:

October 11-12, 2014:  Want to meet offline at the BarCamp Boston or IndieWebCamp, both this weekend at MIT to continue the conversation from REBarCamp Boston?

October 16, 2014:  Even though it’s the commercial side of the business, sign-up for DisruptCRE.com and let’s continue working on the diagram above.

NATIONAL:

October 27-30, 2014:  VRM Day and Internet Identity Workshop (IIW) are meeting at the Computer Museum in the Silicon Valley.  If there is interest, a working group that will meet online before and after those events to maximize the momentum from those twin events.

November 7-10, 2014:  Finally, two weeks after that, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) hosts it’s annual convention in New Orleans.  Want to use that event to continue identifying collaborators and mapping vulnerabilities, disruption points and reforms in the existing real estate marketplace (see photo above)?

If you’re really motivated to disrupt, reform or realign the real estate industry, there are some other professional events and formal and informal groups — like CAARE and RECALL — that might interest you, on and offline, so please contact us for more details.  We’ve been trying to change the industry since 1993 — see timeline and two day event in Boston entitled Consumer Revolution in Real Estate.

 

Posted in Change Agents, Consumer protection, Dump Dual Agency, Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights, Real Estate Roundtables, RECALL: Real Estate Consumer Alliance, Savings & Rebates, Unbundling the Commission, VRM

Bidding War Scorecard: Is Designated Agency having a bipolar impact in Cambridge?


BiddingWar_Camb_July2014

BiddingWar_Camb_Sept2014

Has the housing market reached a tipping point, even in grossly overheated Cambridge, MA? Too early to answer that question, but our Bidding War Scorecard keeps revealing interesting data points about conflicts of interest in real estate. For example, during August 2014, four of five bidding wars selling $200K+ over asking price involved in-house sales, adding more fodder to our goal of repealing or neutralizing Designated Agency in 2015, the 10th anniversary of this flawed counterfeit buyer agency.

But as the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this year, designated agency can turn against sellers, too.  Designated agency and dual agency can have a bipolar impact on the housing market, because, “Having an agent represent both buyer and seller can either raise or reduce the final selling price, depending on the timing of the transaction.”

So what’s happening now in Cambridge?  Overall, MLS data reveals that sales in Cambridge have dropped a stunning 42%, falling from 122 in July to just 71 in September. One in 4 to 5 MLS listings continue to sell in-house, but during September one third of in-house sales resulted in savings of $50K or more off the listings price. In fact, half of the 10 listing selling $50K or more under the original asking price were in-house sales — all listings that had been on the market at least 40 days up to 146 days.

Our Dual Agency Detective says sometimes in-house sales result in buyers overpaying in bidding wars, other times sellers are shortchanged on stale listings. The only thing that is certain is the brokerage practicing designated agency collects both sides of the commission.

That raises policy questions, as we blogged in January 2014 before our real estate peers created a website to expose 25+ ways Real Estate is Broken:

Beyond the costs and opportunity costs to individual buyers, are complex questions with widespread public policy implications: “What impacts are conflicts of interest having on the housing market?” The question extends beyond individual budgets, to the composition of communities, and potential cost to tax payers who are insuring 90% of mortgages; even beyond the legal obligation of real estate brokerages, to the games agents play and the potential for a bidding war backlash, regulatory reforms, or worse, lawsuits.

What’s your take, homebuyers and new homeowners? If you felt “forced” to bid way over asking price in a bidding war during the first half of 2014, are you beginning to second guess that decision? What role did “your” real estate agent play encouraging to pay over asking price, or including an escalator clause? If you’re one of the four new homeowners who suffers from buyer’s remorse, you may want to read how buyers responded in the past:

http://bit.ly/Misled2014

Posted in Bidding wars, Buyer agent, Consumer protection, Defensive Homebuying, Designated Agency, Dual Agency Detective, Price reductions, Real Estate Bubble, Seasonality, Timing the market

CALLING ALL ANGELS: Can homebuyers separate real estate predators from protectors?

 
st_michael_slaying_satan

Created after the Second Vatican Council, today’s Feast of the Archangels is a very modern feast day and points to the Feast of the Guardian Angels on Thursday October 2. Is there a way for CruxNow — a new publication launched by the Boston Globe to reach approximately 3 million Catholics across Massachusetts — to use the next four days to demonstrate the contemporary nature of these twin feasts by talking about the role of / need for PROTECTORS in both our ordinary lives and struggles between good and evil worldwide?

Revisit the Homily of the Holy Father at the Inauguration of his Papal Ministry, and you will see that he uses the root word “PROTECT” thirty-three times in his thirteen paragraph address:

http://bit.ly/FrancisProtect33

Tragically, there are too many examples of predators prevailing over protectors in the 50 years since Vatican II. For example, Citizens Rising Anti-Corruption Weekend at MIT exposed “how a predator elite took over the country politically,” and Charles Ferguson’s book addresses the same phenomena from another perspective, Predator Nation: How Wall Street Crashed the Economy & Got Off Scott Free

Is there a way to develop this predator vs protector theme by inviting @Crux readers to share their own stories, or to point out examples in their own lives — personal and professional — where guardian angels / human protectors have made a difference or are urgently needed?

Case study: Predators versus protectors in residential real estate

A recent “unconference” for real estate professionals hosted at District Hall in Boston exposed 25+ ways “Real Estate is Broken.” Ironically, real estate is the same industry that encourages hundreds of thousands of homeowners to bury St. Joseph, the protector of the universal church to bury statues upside-down to help sell homes. Can thinking Catholics and other believers demonstrate that we’re not interested in superstition, but that we are agents of social justice who are willing to protect people against injustice?

Right now in real estate, calls for disruption echoing insider and outside the industry point to the need for reforms and innovators to protect consumers. There’s no need to limit that quest to believers or type of real estate professional, but in an industry that has a system bias towards sellers, there is a special role for REAL buyer agents as guardian angels as this Google search reveals.

So two weeks after “Real Estate is Broken,” we’d like to host a real estate roundtable online and off on Thursday, October 2nd — the Feast of the Guardian Angels – to help homebuyers, particularly first-time homebuyers, under the difference between buyer agents and counterfeit buyer agents.  Significantly, too many of the 25+ ways real estate is broken can be traced back to the failure to understand and act in accordance with agency duties.

If there is interest, we’d also like to invite real estate consumer advocates to gather again at District Hall, or another local venue as well as online to acknowledge and celebrate our role as protectors, and to develop strategies to correct ways Real Estate is Broken.  Homebuyers, sellers and technology innovators are invited to participate in that ongoing conversation by joining us offline or following #RE2020 on Twitter.

Posted in Buyer agent, Consumer protection, Defensive Homebuying, Designated Agency, Dual Agency Detective, Dump Dual Agency, Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights, Real Estate Roundtables, RECALL: Real Estate Consumer Alliance

Pocket Listings: Smoking gun outs conflict of interest in real estate

 
opposingteams

The first round of Real Estate is Broken, a hard-hitting agent-to-agent critique of the residential industry last week in Boston, began with this one-two punch:

“When I grew up in the industry, pocket listing was a bad word; now Zillow has a category for pocket listings called ‘Coming Soon.’”

That rant echoed a headline three months earlier in Inman News that predicted, Zillow’s new ‘coming soon’ feature puts pocket listings on steroids.

Given Zillow’s scale and market penetration, it’s not hard to imagine that “Coming Soon” will institutionalize a two-tier housing market: pre-MLS listings and active MLS listings. Like pocket listings that are shopped in-house at company meetings as described below, “Coming Soon” will pressure homebuyers into dual agency and designated agency relationships so they don’t miss their “dream property.” (And brokerages get to collect both sides of the commission.)

Think we’re exaggerating? Read this “smoking gun,” an excerpt from an email sent to one of our buyer agent referrals:

“If we do not sign “dual agency” I believe that we are doing you a disservice. Let me explain why. Our office has approximately 70 agents, we meet for weekly marketing meetings, we discuss our buyer needs, and many times an agent at the meeting has a seller who is then contacted and a deal is put together. This is before it has ever hit the “open market” or MLS. By us not being able to use dual agency we would not even be able to promote your needs at our company meeting!! I am willing to not personally represent you and a seller if that makes you more comfortable, but I think that if you don’t even want me to represent you if anyone in my entire company has a listing, then you may very well miss out on your ‘dream property’.”

If pocket listings result in class action lawsuits someday, as Sam DeBord posited in his column on January 22, 2014 in Inman News, think the explanation above meets the legal test of “informed consent”?

http://bit.ly/PocketLiability (please share this URL via social networks)

Rather than manipulating buyer with fear of loss, what if the law required agents to record themselves as they explain risks or loss of benefits of agency options before buyers or sellers give up their right to be represented by their own agent, without conflict of interest?  Think many agents could provide sufficient information to obtain informed consent — Or is the industry so immersed in conflicts of interest that they see nothing wrong with the picture above?

Or what if the tables were turned and homebuyers present their own contract terms which agents could accept — like the Pledge of Allegiance authored two decades ago by the State of New York.

http://www.caare.org/PledgeOfAllegiance (please share this URL via social networks)

Or better still, what if buyers and sellers could simply exchange their own IntentCasts pre-MLS and involve agents if and when they want, at a price the consumer sets?  To some extent, that’s already happening with and without the benefit of technology.

Those are among the Idea Starters in our reVRM-Minifesto, a vision of an open ecosystem in real estate by 2020.  If you’d like to cocreate that future, follow #RE2020 or contact us to begin meeting on and offline.  You can help simply by sharing this URL via your social networks:

http://bit.ly/SeedRE2020

Posted in Bidding wars, Buyer agent, Consumer protection, Defensive Homebuying, Designated Agency, Dual Agency Detective, IntentCasting, Pocket Listings, RE2020, VRM, Whisper listings

Divorce real estate commissions, let homebuyers & sellers negotiate their own fees

Are the stars aligning?  Last Thursday, participants of @REBarCampBoston talked openly about how “Real Estate is Broken” and the conversation continues, agent to agent, on Facebook.  There a a list of 25+ industry flaws includes one that the Consumer Federation of America first proposed nearly 25 years old and it still has the disruptive power for consumers save billions of dollars annually —

divorcing or uncoupling real estate commissions.

If buyer agents and listing specialists have different skills, experience and value they bring to their respective clients, doesn’t it make sense to finally uncouple commissions and let buyers and sellers negotiate their own compensation agreements?  That’s the question that springs out of this morning lead story on Inman News entitled, “Listing specialists and buyer’s agents are not created equal.”

So today, the Equinox, is a good time to ask if buyer agent and seller agent should always get equal slices of a “one-size-fits-all” commission pie when listings can sell in days or weeks, but buyer agency relationships can extend over months or years because of unsuccessful offers on bidding wars.  Sometimes the opposite is true, and when listings expire or are canceled agents walk away empty handed.

How can real estate commissions be uncoupled / divorced to deliver BILLIONS in consumer savings annually, and unleash the potential of fee-for-service real estate business models so buyers and sellers can request proposals that meet their specific needs and willingness to pay?

The question has been asked before, but the debate is newly ignited by the combination of the Inman News article today and a REMax multiple office owner who told @REBarCampBoston that the prevailing real estate commission “antiquated” because it was…

“…designed when all agents represented seller, [and] now has Seller’s agents negotiating professional fees for Buyer’s Agent.”

Back to the future

Previous conversations about uncoupling commissions peaked sometime between 2005 and 2009, causing the RECafe to write the following about the slideshow above:

“At that time, 10 mega-trends were pushing the two-sided real estate commission to a “tipping point” and some real estate consumer advocates hoped the FTC / DOJ would require MLS’s to “uncoupled” or “decoupled” commissions in 2006, fifteen years after the Consumer Federation of America first called for that reform.

Although dated, here’s some of what Real Estate Cafe has written in the past on our blog and wiki about divorcing or uncoupling real estate commissions:

http://bit.ly/UncplRE

http://bit.ly/DivorcePosts

Next Steps:  Reform or Disrupt? Where will real estate commissions be in 5 years?

What appeared to be a tipping point a decade ago, did not pull the commissions apart.  We’d like to collect perspectives on why commission reform and money-saving options — like discounts or rebates — haven’t been more widespread, particularly when there was so much pressure for homeowners to preserve home equity following the real estate recession as stated so well by this video from the National Association of Real Estate Consultants:

http://bit.ly/SaveHomeEquity

If you’d like to participate in a round table discussion on commission reform, or join a working group / synergy circle to develop a plan to uncouple / divorce real estate commission with five years, contact us about participating.  Follow the hashtag #RE2020 to learn more about other real estate reforms and innovative new, money-saving business models.

Posted in commission rebate, Commission Reform, Do-it-yourself, FSBO: Best Practices, IntentCasting, RE2020, Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights, Real Estate Roundtables, RECALL: Real Estate Consumer Alliance, reVRM, Tipping Policy

Using Anti-Corruption weekend to expose real estate case study

 

DumbDumber_Reduced

Academics, activists and innovators are gathered this weekend at MIT for Citizens Rising Anti-Corruption Weekend to build awareness about the role big money and special interest groups play in shaping (buying?) government policies.  As consumer advocates who DEFEATED designated agency twice in public hearings know, industry lobbyists can by-pass (“buy”-pass?) the public process with back room deals.  Here’s Boston Magazine’s account of how Designated agency became law in Massachusetts.  Next year marks the 10th anniversary of Designated Agency in MA, and an ad-hoc group called RECALL — Real Estate Consumer Alliance — is exploring ways to neutralize or repeal Designated Agency, a business practice industry critics call an act of fraud.

EXCERPT from Double Agent. Boston Magazine, September 2005

An enormous amount of power is now concentrated in the hands of a
few real estate companies. ERA Real Estate, Century 21, and Coldwell
Banker Residential Brokerage, among others, for instance, are all owned
by Cendant, the world’s largest brokerage franchiser. Coldwell Banker,
in turn, is the largest real estate firm in New England, with
Massachusetts residential sales volume last year of more than $14
billion. In some Massachusetts towns, these companies control more than
half the market. Understandably, they like the status quo. The
traditional industry attitude is “defend, defend, defend; resist,
resist, resist,” says Bill Wendel. “[They say,] ‘If we change anything,
we’ll change the law to protect what we’re doing.’”

Few examples of this are as stark as a measure that quietly became
effective in this state on July 1. Primarily supported by large real
estate agencies, it offers greater liability protection to brokerages
that tread on the dangerous ground of representing both the buyer and
seller of the same house—so-called designated agency.

Opponents compare this to the same law firm representing

both sides in a divorce—a clear conflict of interest.

The measure died in committee when it was first proposed in 1997,
thanks to spirited testimony against it. But its strongest backer, the
Massachusetts Association of Realtors, helped get a streamlined version
tacked onto this year’s state budget as a last-minute amendment. This
time there was no public hearing.

Critics of the new law worry that customers will sign the required
designated-agency consent form amid a stack of other papers without
understanding what it means. “It’s an innocuous form that describes
what’s happening, but explains nothing about the potential
consequences,” says independent agent Barry Nystedt, who owns Buyer
Brokerage Realty in Newton. “Once the consumers sign it, they’ve signed
away their rights.”

FULL TEXT:  http://bit.ly/DblAgents (please share via social networks)

Can RECALL ask one of the Anti-Corruption teams at Hack for Democracy to build an app to support our mutual cause or should we recruit our own group of hackers?  Learn more about other issues facing real estate consumers, or share your victim story, by visiting:  http://bit.ly/JoinRECALL

Posted in Consumer protection, Defensive Homebuying, Designated Agency, Dual Agency Detective, Dump Dual Agency, Investigative Reporting, RE2020, Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights, Real Estate Roundtables, RECALL: Real Estate Consumer Alliance

Reform or disrupt? Where will real estate be in 5 years? #RE2020

 

SYNCHRONICITY: Truck outside #REBCBos mirrors 5 year plan to create open ecosystem in RE? http://bit.ly/DisruptFunding  #RE2020

SYNCHRONICITY: Truck outside #REBCBos mirrors 5 year plan to create open ecosystem in RE? http://bit.ly/DisruptFunding #RE2020

Loaded words were flying yesterday at Real Estate BarCamp Boston and it wasn’t real estate consumer advocates taking cheap shots, it was real estate brokers — even company owners and at least one attorney calling out the industry’s shortcomings and flawed practices with words like “shame” and even, dare I repeat it, “criminal”?

In his first speech on real estate 22 years ago, Ralph Nader told a fledging group of buyer agents and consumer advocates that you can tell a lot about the health of an industry by the way it’s members address each other.  

Yesterday, civility and hospitality reigned at #REBCBos, but so did candid admissions of 25+ ways “Real Estate is Broken.”  A public Facebook page has been launched to continue the conversation online at 

http://bit.ly/BrokenRE

As CAARE, RECALL, and nearly 800 posts on this blog attest, it’s not the first-time efforts have been initiated to reform the trillion dollar real estate industry, but transformational momentum may be building from forces inside and outside the industry, including headlines like this

Can Someone Please “Disrupt” Real Estate Agents?

In less than a month, the focus will turn to disrupting the commercial real estate industry with another event — http://DisruptCRE.com — at District Hall in Boston’s Innovation District.  And, across the country, it’s association convention season for real estate agents and mortgage brokers.

What’s the best way to use those events to create awareness and synergy with efforts and innovators trying to reform or disrupt residential real estate?

RECALL (Real Estate Consumer Alliance) wants to work with others to sustain momentum post #REBCBos, mobilize reforms, embrace innovations and support strategic disruption to better serve the consumer.  Who should RECALL invite to the conversation, and what apps can consumers — particularly DIY homebuyers — begin using (or testing) immediately to save money or make better decisions?  

PS.  We have our own thoughts about where real estate will be in 5 years; in fact, we’re in the early stages of developing a five year plan to cocreate an open ecosystem.  To learn more about #RE2020, read our open letter to @REBarCampBoston:  http://bit.ly/DisruptFunding

Posted in Commission Reform, Consumer protection, Mlllennials, Pocket Listings, Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights, Real Estate Roundtables, RECALL: Real Estate Consumer Alliance, reVRM, Savings & Rebates, Tech Trends

Open letter to @REBarCampBoston: Realtor, disrupt thyself? vs Disruption funding

reVRM_VisioningExercise_IIW

Greetings, @REBarCampBoston, Curious to see that you’re featuring a participatory discussion about disrupting the residential real estate industry at your upcoming unconference on Thursday, September 18, 2014 in Boston.  As you may know, reforming the real estate industry has been the RealEstateCafe.com’s mission for the past two decades, so glad to see that local Realtors are willing to address what’s wrong with the industry.

For fellow real estate consumer advocates, that’s an inquiry that’s engaged our best efforts for the past 20 to 25 years or more.  Consequently, some of us are already collaborating on a disruption road map as well as seeding a campaign to cocreate an open, transparent real estate eco-system by 2020 (see image above).  We invite anyone else interested to use and follow #RE2020 to cocreate synergy with innovators inside and outside the current real estate industry.

FYI — If word hasn’t reached you yet, the featured story today on Inman News is about angel investor eager to disrupt the real estate industry:

http://bit.ly/FundRE (please share this short URL via social networks)

Here’s the comment we posted on LinkedIn in response to the same offer to provide disruption funding (see original at http://bit.ly/RFProtoRE):

How do we get there [disintermediation] from here, not just more user-driven apps but an open, transparent real estate eco-system?

In 15 days http://REBarCampBoston.com will feature a keynote presentation on DISRUPTION — what’s not working with real estate? Significantly, it’s a conversation from the agent and broker’s perspective, not the consumers. So no need to wait for that event for real estate consumer advocates, including Doug Miller of http://CAARE.org; REAL buyer brokers from http://NAEBA.org; and technology innovators to begin collaborating on the following:

1. A disruption road map — an infographic identifying all of the trends and forces pushing on the current real estate model / marketplace; and

2. #RE2020 — a vision / roadmap to cocreate an open, transparent real estate marketplace by 2020. Here, the focus is on “what wants doing” — like a real estate consumer bill of rights — to reset the industry on right alignment, not disruption for disruption’s sake.

This slideshow includes 22 idea starters:

http://bit.ly/reVRMgameChanger

Posted in Uncategorized

Bidding War Drone: In-House Intelligence Report raises questions

BidWarDrone_InHouseIntel_May2014

So far, no one has been injured by a real estate drone taking photos of their listings or homes for sale, but we’re glad the FAA is implementing regulations to prevent that in the future. Contrast that to bidding wars. For six months we’ve been blogging about runaway bidding wars creating real estate refugees in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  More recently, our findings have echoed in this frustrating headline out Seattle:

When bidding $100,00 over asking price isn’t enough

Thankfully, a fellow real estate agent in Toronto, where various regulations are being considered to mitigate “unnecessarily sleazy” bidding wars, wrote an expose entitled The Blind Offer: How it Works and Why Toronto Should Get Rid of It

Overall, the lack of transparency in this system – which only helps the seller and hurts the buyer – sets our housing market up for disaster. If people continue to pay dozens, and even hundreds, of thousands of dollars over listing prices, the value of Toronto real estate could eventually reach an unsustainable level – and then decline.

http://bit.ly/BlindOffers (please share this URL via social networks)

Rather than sounding similar warnings, local coverage — particularly by Curbed Boston and blogger / real estate agent David Bates — has sensationalized bidding wars.  Without a crowdfunding campaign, we don’t have the resources to launch a counter offensive; so with all of the buzz in the real estate industry around drones, we decided to deploy one to document the “inside story” — LITERALLY! — on bidding wars.

Before overreacting, rest assured that our Bidding War Drone is on a Peace Keeping mission.

Our goal is to protect consumers by identifying what’s really happening on the ground; and to invite homebuyers, consumer advocates, elected officials and industry regulators to address the questions in this blog post:

Will Bidding Wars trigger local regulation or global reformation?

http://bit.ly/BidReform (please share this URL via social networks)

Right now our Bidding War In-House Intelligence is a Top Secret document, but if you would like to a preview a copy and join our coalition of Peace Keepers, please contact realestatecafe@gmail.com  Better yet, if you’ve lost a bidding war and want to see corrective action, please contact us about crowdfunding options we’re exploring.

Posted in Bidding wars, Bubble map, Buyer agent, Consumer protection, Defensive Homebuying, Designated Agency, Dual Agency Detective, Investigative Reporting, Luxury homes, RECALL: Real Estate Consumer Alliance
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