By Bill Wendel

Cambridge Inventory 04/11/14 vs 2013

The headline, “Home buyers face tight inventories, rising prices this spring” followed a predictable script for the past two years, but the level of sensationalized reporting in the Boston Globe’s recent story may have crossed a line.  First a cash bidding war in Newton was reported without context, and second an alarming statement about inventory in Cambridge does not stand-up to cross-examination:

“In Cambridge, where listings plunged 65 percent from a year ago, …”
http://bit.ly/InventoryGate...


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By Bill Wendel

Cluster bid, under development at stealth location in Cambridge, seeks to transform runaway bidding wars into a "Force for Good"

CLUSTER BID under development at stealth location in Cambridge seeks to transform runaway bidding wars into a “Force for Good”

Tired of losing bidding wars, innovative DIY homebuyers in Cambridge, Massachusetts, one of the few cities in the world to have it’s own Peace Commission, are using the Social Enterprise Conference at Harvard Business School today to leak information about a “killer app” they are developing –

a cluster bomb designed to win bidding wars.

Last year, behavioral scientists...


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By Bill Wendel

Excerpt from broker facing MLS:

Named Exclusion

Concerned that the housing market this Spring could become irrational again, Boston.com’s real estate blogger raised questions today about the risks / rewards of waiving contingencies:

A buyer’s most foolish move

Yesterday, one of Real Estate Cafe’s DIY buyers received a conference call from a seller and their listing agent saying their offer was

the lowest of five competing buyers,

one had no financing contingency,

another had no inspection contingency.

However, the buyers...


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By Bill Wendel

 

Misled 2008 NYTimes

Rising prices and games real estate agents play have Home buyers feeling blue, according to recent national surveys. Thankfully, Boston.com’s blog post this morning provided stats from Zillow and Redfin, even if it’s a bit confusing to compare and make sense of them.  Regardless, the direction is obvious:

“Only 25 percent of house hunters across the country think it is a good time to buy now, compared to 40 percent last year, Redfin reports.”

Compare those numbers Trulia’s Real Estate Regrets Survey...


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By Bill Wendel

 MAgentMap_080912

Too many real estate agents?  Here’s one way to answer Boston.com’s question:  a map showing the distribution of real estate agents across Massachusetts courtesy of Matt Carroll, a former Boston Globe real estate reporter:

http://bit.ly/REAgentMap (click to search interactive map)

Beyond that simple question is a family fight between appraisers and agents about the lack of regulatory oversight and consumer protection. PLUS this complaint:  The appraisal industry took the brunt of the hit for...


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By Bill Wendel

 

Musical Chairs

In the documentary, Inequality for All, former Secretary of Labor / public policy professor Robert Reich uses an animated graphic (not the cartoon above) to describe the chain reactions and interrelationships that fuel economic cycles, both virtuous and vicious.

Do homebuyers need similar diagrams or parodies to expose the “speculative cycle” that is likely to peak this year, and the role of conflicts of interest in real estate?  YES, particularly right now, before sensationalized media coverage...


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By Bill Wendel

Don't Play Russian Roulette

BRAVO!!!  When money can buy political influence and the Colbert Report commands more respect than Congress, how refreshing to read that one government agency is chastising another for patronizing business practices based on a conflict of interest.

And no, it’s not a parody headline from The Onion; it’s the way our government was designed.

Checks and balances are built into our system to protect against abuses; and our legal code is built on the common law of agency, a Biblical truth not to...


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By Bill Wendel


Corrective Collaboration

“In Trulia’s hometown of San Francisco, tensions are high over the lack of affordable housing and the growing wealth of technology companies and their workers.” — 5 Truths of Tech-Hub Housing Costs, Trulia blog

Techies driving up housing costs? is a question Trulia and Boston.com are asking; but without looking at a broader context, the query may blame techies prematurely, instead of other factors including games real estate agents play with pocket listings / whisper listings, bidding wars,...


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By Bill Wendel

Join us for a Q&A with @zillow CEO @spencerrascoff tomorrow at 5pm at the @HarvardGSD! pic.twitter.com/1Pxps6YlEs

— Harvard JCHS (@Harvard_JCHS) February 4, 2014

The “double whammy” that has Millennials fuming isn’t “just” a problem of mega-trends, like the two described in today’s Boston.com blog post: weak job prospects and lack of affordable housing options. Too often, micro-manipulations also turn real estate is an insider’s game; and games real estate agents play, like Pocket Listings and Blind  Bidding...


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By Bill Wendel

 

Dead Poets Society

Remember the scene in Dead Poet’s Society where Robin Williams stands on his desk, and challenges his students to change their perspective?  His message:  the way you see a problem or opportunity depends on where you stand.  So the blame built into the question, “Will millennials kill homeownership?” underlines William’s point, and will surely trigger hot buttons and heated debate today on Boston.com about who’s doing who wrong.

To put the debate in broader context, Real Estate Cafe recommends...


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