Brokers, REBNY, Zillow/StreetEasy At Odds In 2023

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
REBNY, CoStar launch Citysnap listing portal

The Real Estate Board of New York, in partnership with CoStar Group, launched a long-awaited public portal for residential listings.

Dubbed Citysnap, the platform is the first search site and app to feature all data from the RLS for both residential rentals and properties for sale.

The service potentially fills a void: the confounding absence of a citywide multiple listing service. Previously, infighting between major firms dashed hopes for one. This time, New York City’s largest brokerages stood united behind the initiative when it was first announced.

Douglas Wagner, a REBNY co-chair and director at BOND New York, said the brokerage community has “fought tooth and nail for years” for an “easy exchange” between a central listing inventory to brokerages’ internal operating listing systems.

The platform was created following the principles of “Your Listing, Your Lead,” meaning all leads from Citysnap listings will go directly to the listing broker or agent, with no additional cost or daily fee. REBNY’s more than 12,000 residential brokerage members will have free access to Citysnap Pro.

In addition to data, Citysnap offers detailed listing features, such as distance to nearby subway stations and details on the buildings in which each listed apartment is located. It also offers a Sky Cam feature, which shows over 50,000 360-degree aerial videos of residential buildings across the city.

Citysnap underwent a series of surveys, meetings and focus groups in preparation for its launch. Corcoran Group COO Gary Malin said the brokerage community has “rallied around” the platform, but persuading agents to make the switch might pose a challenge.

“Change is never easy for anyone,” Malin said. But “I think the agents really are going to embrace this. I think consumers will embrace this.”

Citysnap presents a challenge to StreetEasy, which has for years acted as New York City’s defacto MLS.

Eighty percent of people searching for real estate online in New York use StreetEasy and Zillow Group’s other consumer brands, according to a ComScore survey. StreetEasy says it received more than 180 million visits across its website and mobile apps in 2021, up over 20 percent from the year before and up almost 40 percent from 2019.

However, StreetEasy charges $6 a day for rental postings, along with fees for other features, such as agent spotlight and feature listings. The premiums, along with requirements that agents must post listings on the site prior to posting elsewhere, pose a burden to users and, with a free option now available, spell trouble for the listing behemoth.

“I can’t speak for StreetEasy because I think they’re more about monetizing everything,” said Bess Freedman, CEO of Brown Harris Stevens. “What Citysnap is trying to do is empower agents and make sure the consumer has transparent information right there and there’s no pay-to-play.”
 

Upstairs Realty

Well-known member
Not sure what Citysnap is offering agents exactly? I "registered" (admittedly, I have yet to enter my first listing; I expect to do that later this week) and all I've gotten is ads offering me hundreds of dollars "off" a Google listing -- one that it looks like I could sign up for myself if I cared to.
 

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
I haven't seen any public facing ads, articles, etc which would drive traffic to this site. I understand how they think they will get traffic from REBNY members, but if they don't get a ton of traffic from buyers/renters what's the point?

Looking at a few sites which monitor web traffic the current statistics say Citysnap traffic is as of yet non-existent. I realize it's early in the game but they really need some sort of kickoff for the public. Take a look at the initial and continued spend by StreetEasy on PR, Google ads, etc.
 

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
I'll add that their totally BS policy towards "data integrity" (because what would you really expect from an industry trade group?) is a lost opportunity because they could have had a competitive advantage with consumers by being the only consumer facing site which had only listings with accurate unit numbers, room counts, SF, etc.
 

nicolebeauchamp

Well-known member
I haven't seen any public facing ads, articles, etc which would drive traffic to this site. I understand how they think they will get traffic from REBNY members, but if they don't get a ton of traffic from buyers/renters what's the point?

Looking at a few sites which monitor web traffic the current statistics say Citysnap traffic is as of yet non-existent. I realize it's early in the game but they really need some sort of kickoff for the public. Take a look at the initial and continued spend by StreetEasy on PR, Google ads, etc.
I think the next phase is supposed to be when the consumer kickoff is , after members are on it...I downloaded the app, I have not yet invited any clients to it, trying to understand how it works before I invite anyone into it.
 
I sat through a web session with them. They confirmed what Nicole said: the ad campaign is coming. I tried to dive in and get what I can out of it but the upsell emails are obnoxious and the save search updates are enraging as they include irrelevant search results. I hope they are ready to shake this out as I would love an alternative to SE.
 

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member

REBNY ends syndication with Realtor.com​

Trade group cited data licensing agreement for split with listings site​

The Real Estate Board of New York has discontinued its listing feed to Realtor.com.​

Listings will disappear from the site altogether as of Monday if REBNY was their sole distributor, according to an email from Realtor.com obtained by The Real Deal. The announcement said listings from Corcoran Group, Compass and Douglas Elliman and some smaller firms will continue to appear on the site.

A spokesperson for REBNY said the organization pulled its listings because Realtor.com refused to sign its standard data licensing agreement, which is required for other portals that display RLS listings and “ensures that our members’ data is protected.”
“While it’s unfortunate that Realtor.com declined to sign our data licensing agreement, brokerages participating on the RLS are still able to syndicate their listings through a direct feed to Realtor.com,” the spokesperson said.

The listings site is working with affected brokers and will “continue to display some for-sale properties in the New York City area through other listing feed sources,” communications director Stephanie Singer said in a statement.
The decision to end the syndication comes at a busy time for the listings landscape. REBNY last month announced the launch of Citysnap, its MLS website formed in partnership with CoStar Group.
REBNY began syndicating with Realtor.com in 2017 amid a dispute with StreetEasy, when the Zillow-owned listing site began charging brokers $3 for rental listings and refused to accept REBNY’s RLS listings. The price has since gone up to $6 per listing, though sales listings have always been free.

“We will not be taking a feed from the RLS,” said Susan Daimler, then manager of StreetEasy, “because we would characterize this as a clear move to restrict our efforts to provide consumers with the most robust real estate marketplace in New York City.”

Shortly after, 10 of the city’s top brokerages pulled their listings from StreetEasy, throwing support behind Realtor.com’s reach for market share. StreetEasy lost half its 32,000 rental listings and a good chunk of its sales listings.

StreetEasy had roughly 12,000 rental listings and 17,000 sales listings, as of Monday, and reports that 80 percent of consumers searching for real estate in New York used the site or other sites owned by Zillow.
But REBNY and the brokerages remain determined to create a StreetEasy alternative. Citysnap, backed by deep-pocketed CoStar Group, a commercial real estate behemoth, represents the most substantial effort to date. Brokers can list for free, and the platform promises to pass leads on to listing agents, rather than sell them to other brokers, like StreetEasy does.
 

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member

Zillow brushes off Citysnap threat, says agent advertising will fall​

Net income in Q2 was $69M​

Zillow Group sees dark clouds on the horizon for its agent-advertising business.
The company predicted that a slowdown in home sales – in part due to a spike in mortgage rates – would hit one of its core businesses.

“Agents saw demand go down and longer cycles for their customers to close,” Zillow CFO Allen Parker said on the company’s second-quarter earnings call Thursday. “Their natural reaction at a time like this is to reduce their advertising spend somewhat as a protection.”
Zillow reported net income of $69 million in the second quarter, up from $16 million the previous quarter.
But the company’s shares fell after third-quarter guidance came in lower than expected. Zillow CEO Rich Barton said that “despite the challenges of the macroeconomic environment, we’re taking strides in key growth areas — including financing, touring and seller solutions — that get us closer to our vision of an integrated digital experience to help customers with all their real estate needs.”

The $505 million in revenue from Zillow’s homes segment beat expectations due to the faster than expected wind-down of the company’s iBuying arm, Zillow Offers. The company said earlier this year that the failed iBuying venture cost it $880 million in 2021. It also announced a partnership with iBuyer Opendoor, which it says will provide customers with a cash offer option. Customers selling through Zillow will be able to choose that offer or opt to sell traditionally; if they choose Opendoor, Zillow will get a referral fee.

“While almost everyone starts their journey using Zillow products and services, we monetize only 3 percent of real estate transactions,” Barton said.
When asked about CoStar Group’s new Citysnap MLS challenging Zillow subsidiary StreetEasy in the New York City market, Barton said Zillow feels “terrific competitively in New York”.
“We feel really good, StreetEasy is really the brand in New York City, it has incredibly high customer engagement, but maybe even more interestingly it is the platform that most brokers in New York City use to manage their inventory,” he said. “We’re in an incredibly strong position there.”
 

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member

Zillow Home Loans Continues Its Unprofitable Run

August 12, 2022 Mike DelPrete

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Like much of the industry, Zillow's mortgage operation, which includes Zillow Home Loans, has seen a steep decline in revenue and continues to burn cash.

Why it matters: Attaching mortgage is a key component of Zillow's "Housing Super App" and future growth strategy; the longer it falters, the less likely Zillow is to achieve its long-term aspirations.
  • Zillow's 2025 goal includes an additional $800 million in revenue from adjacent services -- primarily mortgage.

94db5afc-56de-1cbe-d0e8-efa0cd72df45.png


Dig deeper: Zillow's mortgage segment, which includes its mortgage lead gen marketplace and in-house lender Zillow Home Loans, is consistently unprofitable.
  • In the first half of 2022, Zillow spent $1.85 for every $1 in mortgage revenue.

  • That's a $65 million loss in the first half of 2022, and a combined loss of $180 million since 2017.

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Context: The entire mortgage industry is getting hammered this year, with dropping leads, loan volumes, and revenue.
The bottom line: Zillow Home Loans' path to profitability remains long, arduous, expensive, and uncertain.
  • Ultimately, attaching mortgage makes a great slide on investor presentations, but is very hard in real life.
 

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
I haven't seen any public facing ads, articles, etc which would drive traffic to this site. I understand how they think they will get traffic from REBNY members, but if they don't get a ton of traffic from buyers/renters what's the point?

Looking at a few sites which monitor web traffic the current statistics say Citysnap traffic is as of yet non-existent. I realize it's early in the game but they really need some sort of kickoff for the public. Take a look at the initial and continued spend by StreetEasy on PR, Google ads, etc.
First publicly facing advertising I'm seeing is this wrap of the retail space at 666 Broadway PXL_20220918_022336944.NIGHT_copy_768x1020.jpg PXL_20220918_022124396_copy_1020x768.jpg
 

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
“Taxation without representation:” REBNY board member resigns, alleging leadership ignores agents
She isn’t throwing tea in the Hudson River, but a board member has resigned from the city’s top real estate trade group over what she called “taxation without representation.”

In a fiery resignation letter viewed by The Real Deal, Heather McDonough Domi, a member of the Real Estate Board of New York’s Residential Brokerage Board of Directors, criticized the association for a lack of agent input at the top level, despite collecting membership dues from agents to float its budget.

“We’re paying their bills but we don’t have a say,” said McDonough Domi, a Compass agent who was one of the first two brokers elected to the board in 2019.

McDonough Domi called for equal representation between brokerage owners and executives and rank-and-file brokers, which she said more closely resembles other realtor association leadership groups.

The broker wrote that she started out with the belief she “could make a real difference for my fellow agents, many of whom communicated to me their seemingly endless frustration and skepticism with current powers supposedly advocating on their behalf.”

“With more frequency than not, I felt my voice as an agent was overlooked, disrespected, and disregarded,” McDonough Domi wrote.

In an interview, McDonogh Domi said REBNY leadership is failing its brokers at a time of instability and uncertainty in the industry caused by national lawsuits seeking to alter the way brokers are compensated and changes in taxes and regulations, like New York City’s proposed pied-a-terre tax.

“Agents are boots on the ground — managers only know what they hear from agents, or rely on agent experience that was 10, 15, 20 years ago,” she said. “To have the agent there in the room gives you more of-the-moment data.”

A spokesperson for REBNY did not comment specifically on McDonough Domi’s resignation, but said in a statement the group “is proud to advocate for agents” in the city.

Among the group’s functions are “protecting commissions, delivering a consumer-facing listings platform, supplying real-time legal advice and providing a wide array of other services and resources that help agents do business,” a REBNY spokesperson said.

McDonough Domi said she submitted to REBNY her own research into realtor association board structures in over 20 markets. Among her findings, she claimed, were that brokers on average make up 54 percent of association boards, compared to brokerage owners and executives, who make up 46 percent.

The voting bloc of REBNY’s board is composed entirely of executives and owners. McDonough Domi and Douglas Elliman’s Jacky Teplitzky are the board’s only two rank-and-file members and neither has voting rights. All other associations polled by McDonough Domi gave brokers voting rights.

She said she feels her time will be better spent working through the New York Residential Agent Continuum, a broker advocacy and support group she helped found in 2018.

REBNY, which has long been accused of favoring its commercial broker members, took a step forward in the residential space earlier this year when it partnered with CoStar-owned Homesnap for the long-awaited launch of Citysnap, an MLS website designed to compete with StreetEasy.
 

Upstairs Realty

Well-known member
Wow. I met Heather McDonough Domi exactly once, at a REBNY continuing ed course she was teaching, and I was really impressed by her. I'm not a member of NYRAC because it's volume-driven (and don't get me started on how agent volume is no indicator of agent quality) but I appreciate her attention to the problems of salespeople out in the marketplace. This is a big loss for REBNY.
 

nicolebeauchamp

Well-known member
“Taxation without representation:” REBNY board member resigns, alleging leadership ignores agents
She isn’t throwing tea in the Hudson River, but a board member has resigned from the city’s top real estate trade group over what she called “taxation without representation.”

In a fiery resignation letter viewed by The Real Deal, Heather McDonough Domi, a member of the Real Estate Board of New York’s Residential Brokerage Board of Directors, criticized the association for a lack of agent input at the top level, despite collecting membership dues from agents to float its budget.

“We’re paying their bills but we don’t have a say,” said McDonough Domi, a Compass agent who was one of the first two brokers elected to the board in 2019.

McDonough Domi called for equal representation between brokerage owners and executives and rank-and-file brokers, which she said more closely resembles other realtor association leadership groups.

The broker wrote that she started out with the belief she “could make a real difference for my fellow agents, many of whom communicated to me their seemingly endless frustration and skepticism with current powers supposedly advocating on their behalf.”

“With more frequency than not, I felt my voice as an agent was overlooked, disrespected, and disregarded,” McDonough Domi wrote.

In an interview, McDonogh Domi said REBNY leadership is failing its brokers at a time of instability and uncertainty in the industry caused by national lawsuits seeking to alter the way brokers are compensated and changes in taxes and regulations, like New York City’s proposed pied-a-terre tax.

“Agents are boots on the ground — managers only know what they hear from agents, or rely on agent experience that was 10, 15, 20 years ago,” she said. “To have the agent there in the room gives you more of-the-moment data.”

A spokesperson for REBNY did not comment specifically on McDonough Domi’s resignation, but said in a statement the group “is proud to advocate for agents” in the city.

Among the group’s functions are “protecting commissions, delivering a consumer-facing listings platform, supplying real-time legal advice and providing a wide array of other services and resources that help agents do business,” a REBNY spokesperson said.

McDonough Domi said she submitted to REBNY her own research into realtor association board structures in over 20 markets. Among her findings, she claimed, were that brokers on average make up 54 percent of association boards, compared to brokerage owners and executives, who make up 46 percent.

The voting bloc of REBNY’s board is composed entirely of executives and owners. McDonough Domi and Douglas Elliman’s Jacky Teplitzky are the board’s only two rank-and-file members and neither has voting rights. All other associations polled by McDonough Domi gave brokers voting rights.

She said she feels her time will be better spent working through the New York Residential Agent Continuum, a broker advocacy and support group she helped found in 2018.

REBNY, which has long been accused of favoring its commercial broker members, took a step forward in the residential space earlier this year when it partnered with CoStar-owned Homesnap for the long-awaited launch of Citysnap, an MLS website designed to compete with StreetEasy.
A huge difference between this market
“Taxation without representation:” REBNY board member resigns, alleging leadership ignores agents
She isn’t throwing tea in the Hudson River, but a board member has resigned from the city’s top real estate trade group over what she called “taxation without representation.”

In a fiery resignation letter viewed by The Real Deal, Heather McDonough Domi, a member of the Real Estate Board of New York’s Residential Brokerage Board of Directors, criticized the association for a lack of agent input at the top level, despite collecting membership dues from agents to float its budget.

“We’re paying their bills but we don’t have a say,” said McDonough Domi, a Compass agent who was one of the first two brokers elected to the board in 2019.

McDonough Domi called for equal representation between brokerage owners and executives and rank-and-file brokers, which she said more closely resembles other realtor association leadership groups.

The broker wrote that she started out with the belief she “could make a real difference for my fellow agents, many of whom communicated to me their seemingly endless frustration and skepticism with current powers supposedly advocating on their behalf.”

“With more frequency than not, I felt my voice as an agent was overlooked, disrespected, and disregarded,” McDonough Domi wrote.

In an interview, McDonogh Domi said REBNY leadership is failing its brokers at a time of instability and uncertainty in the industry caused by national lawsuits seeking to alter the way brokers are compensated and changes in taxes and regulations, like New York City’s proposed pied-a-terre tax.

“Agents are boots on the ground — managers only know what they hear from agents, or rely on agent experience that was 10, 15, 20 years ago,” she said. “To have the agent there in the room gives you more of-the-moment data.”

A spokesperson for REBNY did not comment specifically on McDonough Domi’s resignation, but said in a statement the group “is proud to advocate for agents” in the city.

Among the group’s functions are “protecting commissions, delivering a consumer-facing listings platform, supplying real-time legal advice and providing a wide array of other services and resources that help agents do business,” a REBNY spokesperson said.

McDonough Domi said she submitted to REBNY her own research into realtor association board structures in over 20 markets. Among her findings, she claimed, were that brokers on average make up 54 percent of association boards, compared to brokerage owners and executives, who make up 46 percent.

The voting bloc of REBNY’s board is composed entirely of executives and owners. McDonough Domi and Douglas Elliman’s Jacky Teplitzky are the board’s only two rank-and-file members and neither has voting rights. All other associations polled by McDonough Domi gave brokers voting rights.

She said she feels her time will be better spent working through the New York Residential Agent Continuum, a broker advocacy and support group she helped found in 2018.

REBNY, which has long been accused of favoring its commercial broker members, took a step forward in the residential space earlier this year when it partnered with CoStar-owned Homesnap for the long-awaited launch of Citysnap, an MLS website designed to compete with StreetEasy.
I was one of the two agents appointed (with Heather) prior to the election taking place and served for six months on the board, a very interesting experience, to say the least (I remain an active volunteer at REBNY serving on other committees ...)

In the note to NYRAC members I believe there was made mention of conflict of interest between being a co chair of the organization and serving on the board.

The agent representatives on the board participate with the The Residential Sales Council (at REBNY) - which is only non manager salespersons and associate brokers (the RSC at REBNY has existed for over 15 years,and was the initial impetus for many , now industry standard practices ....well before the existence of NYRAC )

I think I have a copy of the findings from the association study- I would be really interested to know, if other associations have as significant a commercial/management etc division as REBNY does (not in numbers, as at REBNY the residential division is larger in numbers than commercial)

Re NYRAC, is volume, and as I recall peer driven. So you need to have a minimum production AND be nominated by others who are already members ? (Versus NYRS ® for example, which is based on years of experience, production, and manager recommendation/verification - to take the coursework to earn the credential - it does not hinge upon another member with the credential to approve you)

I wonder why the resignation now, as the term for her seat is nearly over.
 

Upstairs Realty

Well-known member
@nicolebeauchamp , I respect your record tremendously; thank you for your REBNY service.

You're right about NYRAC -- you do have to be invited by one of the cool kids (though you also have to meet volume standards.)

***

However, realize that the Residential Sales Council doesn't help everyone either.

Specifically, as the proprietor of a boutique -- what we used to slangily call an LREB -- I'm locked out of participation in the RSC, which would be the most useful REBNY group for me to be a part of.

But it also never really occurred to me to push to change it -- one thing that interests me about HMD's story, at least as presented here, is the idea that here's someone who has simultaneously come in from Florida and achieved a mastery over the NYC market and yet didn't read that REBNY, which has historically been run by and for its commercial members, might be tough to change on that front...
 

nicolebeauchamp

Well-known member
@nicolebeauchamp , I respect your record tremendously; thank you for your REBNY service.

You're right about NYRAC -- you do have to be invited by one of the cool kids (though you also have to meet volume standards.)

***

However, realize that the Residential Sales Council doesn't help everyone either.

Specifically, as the proprietor of a boutique -- what we used to slangily call an LREB -- I'm locked out of participation in the RSC, which would be the most useful REBNY group for me to be a part of.

But it also never really occurred to me to push to change it -- one thing that interests me about HMD's story, at least as presented here, is the idea that here's someone who has simultaneously come in from Florida and achieved a mastery over the NYC market and yet didn't read that REBNY, which has historically been run by and for its commercial members, might be tough to change on that front...
Thank you for that comment- I will say , as I often say, BOY did I not know what I didn't know until I went to any of the REBNY meetings...but I digress.

No, the RSC is very specifically a forum that was created because all the other committees are generally dominated by owners/managers. It's meant to be a sort of safe space- and we have had in the past boutique owners who want to attend (and in recent years, people who have started their own firms and we sometimes don't realize it)

I attended a SFC committee meeting as a guest a long time ago, it would seem to me that it SHOULD be the equivalent of what RSC does for the salesperson/associate brokers that are non owners/managers. But it isn't clear to me how active that committee is, or who is currently on it etc- but that should really be the voice for the LREB - ideally.

I remember the first RSC meeting that HMD attended (at the time I was co chair of RSC) and and even the first board meeting we attended together, for better or worse I understand the dynamic and that changing it would be yeoman's work, and certainly nothing that could happen in the space of a couple of years- think of how long ANYTHING takes to happen.

I do agree that it seems clear that there is such a disconnect between the boots on the ground practioners, and the corner offices running the firms- some far worse than others. And in THIS market, where we have seen so much change , it is problematic. The way the market functioned in 1982 is not analogous to what goes on now- I feel even in my 20 years, like I've seen maybe 3 or 4 versions of the market...


I
 

Upstairs Realty

Well-known member
@nicolebeauchamp while SFC is "supposed to be" the equivalent of RSC for LREBs, it doesn't really work that way.

I have two functions that I would like that committee to fulfill -- 1) market information (what are you seeing in the market today ?-- give me info that's ahead of the market reports or even Urban Digs, so I can convey to my clients what the river is like)

and 2) socialization (here's a group of peers who are all facing the same challenges, let's talk shop)

As to #1, unless Reba Miller shows up (which she sometimes used to do, but I haven't seen her lately) you don't have enough critical mass of information throughout Manhattan at different price points. The committee is just too small, and most of the attendees aren't involved in multiple deals/luxury deals

#2 because we're mostly "small fish" -- the SFC has a very competitive attitude, and as a result it's not terribly social

But REBNY in general not that high-service -- I need the pdf of a lease form and they just told me that can't supply it -- I'm like, "I pay you guys close to two thousand bucks a year for ... what?"
 

nicolebeauchamp

Well-known member
@nicolebeauchamp while SFC is "supposed to be" the equivalent of RSC for LREBs, it doesn't really work that way.

I have two functions that I would like that committee to fulfill -- 1) market information (what are you seeing in the market today ?-- give me info that's ahead of the market reports or even Urban Digs, so I can convey to my clients what the river is like)

and 2) socialization (here's a group of peers who are all facing the same challenges, let's talk shop)

As to #1, unless Reba Miller shows up (which she sometimes used to do, but I haven't seen her lately) you don't have enough critical mass of information throughout Manhattan at different price points. The committee is just too small, and most of the attendees aren't involved in multiple deals/luxury deals

#2 because we're mostly "small fish" -- the SFC has a very competitive attitude, and as a result it's not terribly social

But REBNY in general not that high-service -- I need the pdf of a lease form and they just told me that can't supply it -- I'm like, "I pay you guys close to two thousand bucks a year for ... what?"
I think Reba is at Compass now ?

Are you NYRS ® ? (I am the newly elected co chair)- and part of what we want the next vision of the community to be is to provide a key part of those two functions- our next core curriculm hasn't been put on the calendar yet- but I get it.

Which PDF of the lease form do you need ? If I have it I'm happy to send - my email is my nicole dot beauchamp at engelvoelkers dot com - it might take me a few hours to get to it to you (but if I have it I can probably get it to you by tonight ?)

And in general :) I'm always happy to talk real estate .... that same email works for iMessage as well to my conglomerate of apple devices. I have a handful of people in our market who are basically my board of advisors pretty much round the clock LOL.
 

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
REBNY bats down batching with warning to brokers

Hoarding listings could mean financial penalties and expulsion from RLS​


“Batching” may exist in a gray area for the brokerage world, but it’s black and white to the Real Estate Board of New York.
The group flatly rejected a question to its Legal Line newsletter about whether waiting until the end of the month to report closed listings in bulk to the RLS was an “acceptable practice.” In addition to informing members that closing information must be updated into the RLS within 24 of closing, REBNY doubled down on its stance when approached by The Real Deal.

A spokesperson said “any violation could result in financial penalties and possible suspension or expulsion from the RLS.”
Stephen Kliegerman, who chairs REBNY’s New Development Committee, said he noticed in the past six to 12 months that a number of new developments were batch reporting, which led him to encourage REBNY to make a statement.

“Many of us in the industry feel [batch reporting] hinders and hurts the market, because that information is important information to show how, in this situation, healthy the market is,” Kliegerman said. “But more importantly, also it’s transparency and data, which in 2022, we should have.”
Reports like Olshan Realty’s weekly analysis of contracts signed at $4 million and above rely on data that can be troubled by batch reporting.

“Once you see eight or nine listings that are updated the same date you know it can’t be true,” Donna Olshan, president of Olshan Realty, said. “It wouldn’t be tolerated in another industry. Dates mean something.”
Jason Haber, an agent with Compass, said suspension from the RLS may seem harsh, but the policy sets the tone for agents.

“The guidelines aren’t there to make brokers’ lives easier or to help spur sales,” Haber said. “They’re there to protect the consumer and to bring transparent information to the consumer.”

Brokers and developers fudging sales numbers is nothing new.

Reporting contracts sent out or a number of nonbindinding sales agreements were among the tactics to round up activity to paint a building in success identified in a 2016 TRD investigation.
The claims of victory reside in a grey area, but misrepresentation can spark legal consequences, like in the case of Donald Trump Jr.’s 2009 claim the Trump Soho condo-hotel project was 55 percent sold. In reality, a sworn affidavit by a Trump partner filed with the New York Attorney General showed only 15.8 percent of units were in contract by March 2010.

That miscalculation led Manhattan Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. to conduct a criminal investigation into whether the lies constituted securities fraud. Attorney Adam Leitman Bailey later confirmed in a letter the developers agreed to settle and refund 90 percent of buyers their deposits.
Bailey brushed off REBNY’s recent declaration, but pointed to the recent resignation of Compass’ Heather McDonough Domi from REBNY’s Residential Brokerage Board of Directors, in which the broker criticized the association for a lack of agent input at the top level, as a driving factor behind the statement.

“I know that REBNY needed to come out immediately with something supporting brokers or dealing with brokers,” Bailey said. “I guess this is their answer, but I don’t see this as an issue in the industry.”
 
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