Real Estate Brokerage “Cartel” Accused of Conspiracy

Big name real estate brokers and others are accused of ripping off consumers in a class action lawsuit

Sticker shock best describes peoples’ reactions to the commission rates charged by real estate brokers. For all of the gimmicky talk from major real estate firms about their amazing proprietary technology platforms, why aren’t consumers benefiting in the form of lower fees and better service?

These questions apparently got the attention of a Hartford-based law firm which last week filed a class action lawsuit in Massachusetts federal court. The named defendants in the case include MLS Information Network “MLS” (which services much of Massachusetts), Realogy Holdings (the parent company of Sotheby’s International Realty, Coldwell Banker, Century 21, and others), HomeServices of America, RE/MAX, and Keller Williams.

The Batterymarch Insider

“The Batterymarch Insider” is a brief snapshot of our current market thinking and some highlights of what we see going on in the downtown Boston market. As always, our “terms of use” apply. We encourage you to subscribe.

In this issue:

  • Seller Fatigue, Shadow Inventory, and Winter Deals
  • $10 Million Condo Club Gets a New Member
  • A Mulligan on Commonwealth Avenue
  • Millennium Tower, unit 5403 – Seller Takes a Painful Hit – Well Bought
  • 50 Liberty Drive, unit 6 – Third Owner in Less Than Three Years – Well Sold

What’s Catching Our Eye

The Batterymarch Insider

“The Batterymarch Insider” is a brief snapshot of our current market thinking and some highlights of what we see going on in the downtown Boston market. As always, our “terms of use” apply. We encourage you to subscribe.

In this issue:

  • Why the Back Bay is the Proxy for the Boston Luxury Market
  • “Luxury” – The Most Abused Term in Real Estate
  • 170 West Brookline – Impressive Single Family with Impressive Price
  • 342 Marlborough Street, unit 1- Seller Had the Upper Hand – Well Sold
  • 110 Stuart Street, unit 18B – Catching the Falling Sword? – Well Sold

What’s Catching Our Eye

The Batterymarch Insider

“The Batterymarch Insider” is a brief snapshot of our current market thinking and some highlights of what we see going on in the downtown Boston market. As always, our “terms of use” apply. We encourage you to subscribe.

In this issue:

  • Investors dumping condominium units
  • New Four Seasons – no takers, bad omen for new developments
  • 288 Commonwealth Ave, PH – It’s not the broker, it’s the price
  • 315 Commonwealth – $9.0 million shell, we see value – Well Bought
  • 2 Commonwealth Ave., unit 11C – $10.5 million condo, did they negotiate? – Well Sold

What’s Catching Our Eye

“You’re Not Getting Paid to Think”

The Illusion of Fiduciary Duty in Real Estate

Early in my real estate career, I had a client who was looking to buy a Beacon Hill home. We looked seriously at a relatively expensive property that was being offered by the firm that I was then affiliated with. After some due diligence, I uncovered a litany of fairly serious compliance problems with the property. I brought the issues to the attention of the office manager and I was shocked when he scolded me, stating that “your job is to open the door and turn on the lights, you’re not getting paid to think.”

When I pressed the manager, explaining that we had a obligation to disclose these known defects, he staunchly disagreed insisting that any controversy down the road would be between the seller and the buyer. Walking away, I thought to myself, “these guys make the old Wall Street bucket shops look like saints.”

The Batterymarch Insider

“The Batterymarch Insider” is a brief snapshot of our current market thinking and some highlights of what we see going on in the downtown Boston market. As always, our “terms of use” apply. We encourage you to subscribe.

In this issue:

  • Beacon Hill single family market comes to life
  • 110 Stuart St. – Taking losses at the “W”
  • 10 Otis Place, unit 4B – Outstanding flat of the Hill property
  • 10 Walnut St., unit 3 – $6.2 million duplex – Well Bought
  • 300 Boylston St., unit 905 – Great location, full price – Well Sold

What’s Catching Our Eye

Days on Market – Caveat Emptor

This report is part of a series looking at days on market and how this data influences buying and selling decisions. As always, our “terms of use” apply.

The number of days a property sits on the market, days on market (DOM), is the ultimate valuation test for a property and more broadly it’s a component of overall market health. When the DOM start to rack up, there is often a perception in the market place that there is something wrong with that particular property. This drives some sales agents to step over what we see as an ethical boundary and manipulate DOM data.

The Batterymarch Insider

“The Batterymarch Insider” is a brief snapshot of our current market thinking and some highlights of what we see going on in the downtown Boston market. As always, our “terms of use” apply. We encourage you to subscribe.

In this issue:

  • Real estate sales data – Garbage in, Garbage out
  • 157 Beacon St., unit 2 – Death by 1,000 cuts
  • 20 Chestnut St., unit 1 – Price cut, $2,000+/sf for basement living?
  • Millennium Place, unit 1202 – Seller takes a loss – Well Bought
  • 45 Temple St (The Archer) – Pre-Corona deals – Well Sold

What’s Catching Our Eye

The Batterymarch Insider

“The Batterymarch Insider” is a brief snapshot of our current market thinking and some highlights of what we see going on in the downtown Boston market. As always, our “terms of use” apply. We encourage you to subscribe.

In this issue:

  • South End bidding wars
  • 771 Harrison Ave – Developer offers big sales incentives, buyer beware
  • 33 Mt Vernon St., unit 1 – Price cut, attractive valuation
  • 112 West Concord St., unit 1 – No winners in a bidding war – Well Sold
  • 484 Beacon Street, PH – Needs updating, but good value – Well Bought

What’s Catching Our Eye

The Batterymarch Insider

“The Batterymarch Insider” is a brief snapshot of our current market thinking and some highlights of what we see going on in the downtown Boston market. As always, our “terms of use” apply. We encourage you to subscribe.

In this issue:

  • Brisk sales in the Seaport
  • 117 Beacon St., $9.25 million triplex, 20% discount – Well Sold
  • 6 West Cedar St. – Solid Beacon Hill single family, needs everything – Well Sold
  • 41 Mt. Vernon St., unit 1B – 9.5% price cut, still seems too pricey
  • 30 Chestnut – $16.995 single family? Time will tell

What’s Catching Our Eye