Real Estate Weekly
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Co-operation benefits REBNY members, homebuyers as information becomes the great equalizer


By Douglas Wagner, director of brokerage
services, BOND New York Properties

During my career as a real estate broker in New York City, our marketplace has evolved significantly. The chaotic, every-broker-for-themselves mentality of never sharing listings in the mid-1990s no longer exists; sharing is necessary for success.

Today’s marketplace is a substantially organized and level playing field where every exclusive listing is shared and co-brokered between sellers’ agents and buyers’ agents, regardless of the size of each agent’s brokerage firm or its tenure in the local market.

This transformation has improved the home-finding process for all consumers in New York City. Instead of having to shake every tree and turn every stone to find the home that meets their needs, lifestyle and budget, the consumer can find a broker or agent—that they like and trust—who has access to every listing readily available.

All of this is a direct result of a system developed by the Residential Brokerage Division of the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) and its listing platform, the Residential Listing Service (RLS).   Sellers who list exclusively with a participating RLS broker or agent can have full confidence that their property will be shared evenly and equally with an ever-growing network of more than 600 brokerage firms and over 13,200 individual brokers and agents. Those sellers also benefit from knowing that their listings can be shared across a growing network of more than 100 local, national, and international public real estate listing websites through a centralized feed via RLS Syndication, which REBNY rolled out in August 2017.

Unlike the rest of the United States, New York City’s housing stock is composed of a combination of cooperatives, condominiums, townhouses, and multi-family rental units. Each kind of property for sale has been classified and recorded differently in public records, which makes a Multiple Listing Service (MLS) format, as used in markets throughout the rest of the country, all but impossible.

Powered by volunteer efforts from a dedicated group of leading real estate professionals, REBNY first organized and launched its unique listings sharing platform years ago. A byproduct of cooperation throughout the Residential Brokerage Division, REBNY has been able to make improvements to the RLS over the last five years and hire full-time RLS staff members.

With the support and leadership of the dedicated RLS staff, REBNY fully upgraded its listings system. This team has quickly propelled the RLS to stand alone in comparison to any nationally recognized MLS. The RLS shares some qualities of a typical MLS, but sets itself apart by specifically addressing the details, processes, and protocols brokers need in order to conduct real estate sales and rental transactions in New York City.

While New York brokerage firms had been co-brokering exclusive properties for almost two decades without a centralized listing system, the process has never been better organized or more efficient than it is today with RLS Syndication. As a result, the spirit of cooperation and collaboration between many brokerage firms is at an all-time high.

Today, listing information is provided directly by expert exclusive agents, who are selling or leasing the properties, and made immediately available to all brokerage firms participating in the RLS, and their agents, through a secure digital exchange. The upgraded digital system detects errors and withholds non-compliant information from publication until corrections are made and verified. This creates a level of certain credibility unmatched by any other local real estate website or platform, including listing aggregator advertising websites.  REBNY member broker firms have all formally agreed to and adopted the rules of co-brokerage, which include an ethical commitment to each other and the sellers and buyers we serve as an industry.

Consumers who list or buy with REBNY members may expect the highest levels of proficiency, professionalism and accountability.

Our company’s agents rely on REBNY’s RLS as the absolute authoritative resource for listing and cooperating broker information in the industry. We welcome the cooperation of outside agents and their firms, and we are welcomed throughout the market as we bring in buyers and list properties on the RLS.

As a longtime champion of the RLS and someone who has volunteered at every level–technology, planning, creating agreements and recruiting support–it’s gratifying to realize what the RLS has become many years after our industry adopted co-broking as the way to transact the most sales and rentals of residential property.

My broker colleagues including Steven Goldschmidt, Michael Bisordi, John Wollberg, Steve Kliegerman and Bess Friedman—along with REBNY staff members who have been leading this effort—have taught me more than any executive training program could possibly offer.

Our Real Estate Board has become a community where, although we compete amongst ourselves, the level of cooperation has risen to a historic apex, which benefits our members, home-seekers, and the public like never before.

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