Monday, February 11, 2013

Why doesn’t New York have a multiple listing service? Actually, we do.

Some members of the press still say that we New York brokers don’t want to share our listings, and thus our commissions. 

They say this is why New York doesn't have a multiple listing service like other cities, where brokers, unlike us, are kind and generous.

They all live under the same rock.
During my entire twenty-plus-year career, I’ve done no more than four or five deals where the commission wasn’t shared with another broker, and even then it certainly wasn’t because the property hadn’t been shared with brokers outside my firm.
Sharing listings is the only way to give them the greatest exposure and thus realize the highest prices from the most qualified customers.

We don’t call our system a multiple listing service.  But under the rules of the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), we are required to share every exclusive listing with every member firm, that is, the vast majority of the firms in New York, within 24 hours. 

An exception can be made only if the seller objects.
Let's get our terms straight.  An"exclusive" listing is a property that a given firm has the exclusive right to sell. No other firm can advertise it or contact the seller directly. 
However, they can show the property and negotiate a sale through the firm that has the exclusive.  And they do.

It’s as rare here as it is anywhere else for a broker to represent both buyer and seller; in fact, when this does happen, there is an elaborate mechanism involving lots of paperwork to make sure it’s clear to everyone on both the sell side and the buy side exactly whose interests are represented and to what degree.

A REBNY-member broker may call a broker from another member firm at any time and request an appointment to show a listing.  Non-REBNY members may show our exclusives if they agree to abide by REBNY rules. 

The only acceptable reason to deny the request is if the property is already under contract, if the seller has accepted an offer or for some other reason doesn’t want it shown, or if the buyer (whose name has to be given when the appointment is requested) already has an appointment through another broker.

It is customary for a broker who is having an open house to allow other brokers to bring or even just send their buyers to it.  If the buyer’s broker doesn’t come with him, the buyer then usually puts his broker’s name on the sign-in sheet along with his own.  

But even if the buyer leaves out this step, he can make an offer through his own broker who must, by law, present it to the seller's broker, who must, by law, present the offer to the seller.  Any broker who fails to present any offer to a seller risks losing his license.

It’s actually far less convenient for us to share our listings than it often is elsewhere.  In cities that have multiple listing services, there are usually lockboxes on houses that are for sale, and any broker with a key can open the lockbox and show the property. 

Here, one of the advantages to the seller is that the seller’s broker is present every time the listing is shown.  No strangers wander unaccompanied through a seller’s house or apartment.  Almost without exception, there are two brokers present at every showing.   

Any questions?

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