Everyone selling real estate and most prospective purchasers realize that there is no Multiple Listing Service (MLS) in New York City.
That void results in brokers having to resort to their shared databases through systems such as OLR (OnLine Residential), though listings by many boutique firms never appear in them.
Still, the vast majority of listings are fed into StreetEasy.com, where many buyers check to see what’s available along with services such BuyFolio.com. Both the New York Times and Craigslist can be sources of properties being sold by their owners without brokerage assistance.
It’s not a great system.
Little did I know until meeting Dawn Pfaff at a monthly dinner meeting of the Lucky Strikers Social Media Club that there exists something she has describes as a statewide MLS. Sort of. You can find it at NYStateMLS.com, but it’s only for real estate licensees and has its own shortcomings, not least its insignificance to date in the city’s five boroughs.
Dawn’s privately owned services differs in key respects from a traditional MLS in that there appear to be no rules – for example, timely updating of changes in the property’s status and no mandatory uploading of listings.
Nor do I find any penalties for violating the nonexistent rules. Well, there is one: Brokers have to share commissions. In other words, the system is a mechanism for brokers to publicize their listings statewide. It’s another arrow in the marketing quiver minus any harness on false, misleading or out-of-date statements.
Agents may subscribe free in order to obtain marketing capabilities that are limited or for $29.99 a month to achieve maximum potential; for that max, brokers can display 12 photos, rather than just one, among other premium services. The legal language that the company provides spells out its profile:
“NY State MLS is a private multiple listing service for licensed real estate agents and brokers in New York State. It is not affiliated with any other MLS. All listings in our database are entered by the listing agent or broker that is contracted to represent the properties listed.”
According to Dawn, whose enterprise may well be worthy, one virtue of her so-called MLS is the ability of an agent in one jurisdiction to find listings in another one, make a referral and collect a fee. Well, why not?
She says some 6,000 real estate agents have signed up but is vague on how many of them have opted for a category beyond free.
Whether her numbers suggest success now or in the future, I wish her luck.
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022