New property-search site falls short of complete


With little fanfare, a kinda new site for searching New York city properties for sale went live last week.  On its home page, the announcement was brief:

New Yorkers who are looking for a new home now have a new way to buy, rent or sell real estate, with the launch . . . of, a comprehensive real estate listings website from NY1 News and the Real Estate Board of New York.

The problem I have is that “comprehensive” overstates the usefulness of the site, which has the virtue of providing helpful information to buyers in a user-friendly way.

I counted 57 participating agents and companies, including many of the larger ones.  But at least one behemoth, which had 1,320 listings as of last month, according to the Real Deal,is absent along with numerous other firms.

The number of missing listings in Manhattan alone must approach 30-35 percent of the more than 10,000 in the On-Line Residential (OLR) database, which is reasonably complete.  Streeteasy shows more than 12,000 listings in Manhattan and 22,000 citywide (some of them out of date).

The gap between the Streeteasy and OLR numbers probably results from three things: 1. Brokers who aren’t members of Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) and therefore don’t list on OLR and, 2. Listings on Streeteasy from owners selling property themselves (FSBOs); 3. firms that have opted out of participation in the REBNY site.

Either way, the new site should hardly be the last stop for any serious buyer, despite REBNY President Steven Spinola’s assertion that the organization’s four-year-old real estate listings Web site was New York City’s “most trusted with thousands of listings from New York’s finest brokers.”  He goes on to exult about that:

[. . . with this [new] site, the process is easier and more transparent.  Consumers have come to rely on as the place where they can find the most reliable listings and market information.

In his dreams.

REBNY subsequently crowed that the new site had received 68,893 visits on its first day and — gasp! — 107,772 subsequently.  (I accounted for two of them that first day.)

I rather doubt we’ll see anything like those numbers again.  I know that I, for one, won’t be returning.  What would be the point?

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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

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3 thoughts on “New property-search site falls short of complete

  1. Yeah, this site is an odd duck. Not comprehensive, as you say. And intended to compete with member firm websites. Indeed, the site of that behemoth you mention is a VOW, so is more comprehensive than NYR1. And accurate? Only as accurate as the ‘garbage’ that agents do (or don’t) update the system with.

    It can’t be easy to get the Big Boys and Big Girls to agree on exactly why they are doing this, even before getting to the difficult questions of how to execute. Planning by committee is difficult under any circumstance, but planning by a committee of competitors has got to be worse.

    On the one hand, it is a step toward paying attention to the consumer. On the other hand REBNY has been notoriously uninterested in the consumer, in favor of brokers.

    It is a mess. Oversold and under-delivered. If you are really going to do this, why not make a serious effort to clean up the data by having real penalties when agents don’t update? The competing firms can’t even agree on that.

    I played with it only briefly, and was underwhelmed. Can you really only search one neighborhood or zip code at a time??


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