An online auction startup may be zaniest ever

“ is New York City’s only ‘name your own price’ Real Estate website.”

So begins the site’s description on its home page (never mind the upper case letters unnecessarily provided).  It continues:

“You decide what you would consider paying before you attend a showing and before you speak to the listing agent. At, we put you in control. works with a similar concept: Interested buyers or renters go to the website, browse the listings and make a bid or a “chirp.” If your chirp is accepted by the owner, you get to start negotiations.”

Am I missing something?

You haven’t seen the place and then you bid?  And the owner is supposed to take you seriously?  Yes, the site maintains:

  • Do you want to move but are waiting for the market to settle?
  • Would you like a new apartment, but don’t want a pushy sales person to tell you how much it will cost?
  • Are you intimidated by auctions, and don’t have weeks to spend looking at properties that don’t fit your needs?
  • What if you could sit on your couch, view all the listings available, then decide what YOU want to pay?

Well with, you can!

But wait!  There’s more!

A chirp is like a bid. You chirp the price you are willing to pay so you are always in control.

The listing agent will contact you if your chirp is accepted. Done!

REchirp founders and New York natives Marc Blum and Andrew Green came up with the idea after moving from apartment to apartment, according to a piece I happened to see in the West Side Spirit.

Boasting more than 40 years of Internet technology, advertising and programming experience – and not a minute in real estate – “we are uniquely suited to deliver the groundbreaking service you are about to experience,” the months old operation proclaims.  REchirp creators Marc Blum and Andrew Green don’t stop there:

While all other real estate websites filter your results by price, REchirp allows users to search by characteristics that define their dream home. We then empower the end user to dictate what they would be willing to pay for a given property.

Without even seeing it!

The creators told West Side Spirit that they hope users will submit chirps 10-40 percent below the listed price, giving brokers an incentive to work with the bidder and start negotiations.

Marc Blum of as shown in the West Side Spirit.

According to the weekly newspaper (which I quote because I didn’t want to waste any more time than I already have learning about the operation), there has been one auction, the results of which were not given.  And given that the site has been up for a few months, why would there have been but one auction?

REchirp has “almost” 4,000 listings supplied by nine unidentified brokerages, West Side Spririt quotes Blum and Green as saying.  At the end of the year, appraisal firm Miller Samuel said, inventory in Manhattan alone was 6,851.

If I were the listing broker for a property that received a chirp, I can’t imagine that I would bother responding at all.  (Okay, I might possibly be tempted if the chirp were close to the asking price.)

What I know is that I’ve never seen a listing that answers all of my questions, let alone a prospective buyer’s.  If you add those unanswered questions to the likelihood of a buyer’s having failed to have visited the property or possibly even driven by it, all you have is a curiosity seeker without a scintilla of demonstrated serious intent to purchase.

Hell, you don’t even have a prospective (pretend?) buyer whom a lender has qualified for a mortgage.

Evidently, REchrips’s founders believe their site will be great for sellers looking to reach the widest possible market and interesting for buyers just looking.  In my view, they are half right.

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Malcolm Carter
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022

M: 347-886-0248
F: 347-438-3201
Web site

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