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Michael Daly, Real Estate Pro in Sag Harbor, NY

Why do most of the Major Brokerages NOT use MLS in the eastern Hamptons?

Asked by Michael Daly, Sag Harbor, NY Sun Mar 1, 2009

And why are the ones that do use it allowed to not follow MLS rules by LIBOR?

Some companies use MLS in Westhampton, Hampton Bays and on the North Fork, but don't employ it in Southampton, Bridgehampton, Sag Harbor and East Hampton.

Some brokerages do use it sporadically in the eastern Hamptons, but not consistently and last year, withdrew from IDX. Why all these shenanigans?

Help the community by answering this question:


Wow, I'm on the north fork, Sarah, and I NEVER get to communicate with Pheonix and San Fran unless I'm here on Trulia! The lack of an MLS on the South Fork makes it very difficult for us North Fork agents to show properties, which is PROBABLY one of the reasons they don't have one! :)
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 21, 2010
No offense intended, Paula. Please forgive my tone.
You have a great reputation and are a real professional.

And yes, I have lived and done business throughout the US. Having been a managing director and VPO of companies doing business here, I have first hand knowledge of the business decisions around not employing MLS. So while you may have chosen to believe that "We have found a system that works for buyers and sellers", I respectfully disagree and venture to say that there are many potential buyers of Hamptons properties that don't even know these listings exist because the combined exposure of all the local brokerages (yes, Corcoran, BHS and Prudential DE are local brokerages) and aggregators don't come close to the exposure that these properties would get on Realtor.com. And that, is not fair to sellers because brokers here would give more exposure to their sellers listings if they employed MLS on a wide scale.

If you're happy with the number of qualified buyers that are coming to your listings, then why change a thing?
If you're not and would like to see more buyers contacting you, then why not get behind using the largest real estate website in the world? Realtor.com

Ask your company executives why they don't use MLS. Ask other company executives out here why they don't use it. Please let us know if you get a clear answer backed by facts and post those facts here.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 31, 2009
Then why is MLS used in Malibu, Palm Beach, Big Sur, Vail, Aspen, Beverly Hills, Naples, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angelos, etc - every other metropolitan and second home community in the US?

Sorry Paula, MLS is not used in NY and The Hamptons because the brokers in these markets have decide to reduce competition by refusing to employ it...it's that simple. They tell you "it doesn't work here"...Don't drink the kool-aid.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 30, 2009
This discussion points out the fine line between arrogance and ignorance. Those who argue, publicly or privately against the implementation of an industry standard MLS on the East End are simply one or both.

It's common knowledge that the lack of an MLS is not in the sellers best interest and is holding down property values throughout the South Fork. The lack of an MLS severly restricts the exposure that a For Sale property gets to a few limited websites, therefore restricting the number of potential buyers. How can you buy something if you don't know that it is available?

But what the absence of an MLS does do, is keeps out competition for the existing brokers who pay dearly for a "proprietary system" that is cost prohibitive to many other "up island" (God forbid) brokers. It's also clunky and hides information, such as property address and history that is available to buyers and sellers in most other markets in the US. Oh, but this is "the fabulous Humptons" and our buyers and sellers don't want that information here, right? Wrong. It's blatant restraint of trade and anti-competitive behavior.

And while the flip side of this reality is not perfection, it is inevitable. The implementation of an MLS may not be better for the well-lined pockets of the Philistines hiding behind The Hedgerows, however it will deliver this market from the dark ages and benefit the buyers and sellers of Hamptons real estate when it arrives.
Web Reference: http://www.beachamptons.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 20, 2010
Engel Volkers Moving to Multiple Listing

By Jennifer Landes

(03/04/2010) This week, Jonathan Lerner, a managing director of Engel and Volkers, said the real estate company will be leaving the Open Real Net Exchange and its public Web site, Hamptons Real Estate Online. Instead, he said, he will use the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island and a new platform that is being developed by Streeteasy, a public listing service.

As director of the company’s South­ampton office as well as offices in Westchester, Mr. Lerner said on Monday that the way the East End realty market has operated has been a disservice to the seller and buyer and is against the code of ethics of national real estate associations.

“With a true [multiple listing service] any broker can join,” he said. “It’s accessible and reasonably priced, about $200 a month. The idea is being cooperative with each other and to have information shared. There are guidelines in place, such as: A photo of the property has to be put on the listing within 24 hours of its listing.”

Rather than working with listings that only one broker has access to, “this is an equal playing field and the broker doesn’t hold the listing back for his own benefit,” Mr. Lerner said.

Mr. Lerner said the Open Real Net Exchange, which is also called OREX, operates more as a private multiple listing service. “Some players who can afford to can join, but the smaller ones are paying $4,000 to $10,000 a month,” he said.

A larger operation with multiple offices pays $40,000. Nicholas Khuri, the president of RealNet Solutions, which provides the OREX and Hamptons Real Estate Online services, said those estimates were about right. However, he said, the number could be lower or higher depending on the individual company’s customization of the service.

“We can afford it. It’s not a money issue. It’s the principle, and it’s wrong,” Mr. Lerner said. “There are only about 12 brokers who participate with OREX. It’s so expensive the smaller shops can’t afford it.”

Mr. Khuri said his company only provide the technology to the various offices. It is up to them to determine how they use it and almost all of it is shared with other brokers, he said.

“Somehow there’s this idea that OREX does not share data, but 98 to 99 percent of those listings are shared through other agencies, whether they are on OREX or not,” Mr. Khuri said. “There’s more data shared than the M.L.S., we’re just not governed by M.L.S.,” he said of the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island.

Streeteasy arrived last summer as a popular public listing service from New York City and is now working on a “back-end” or private model for real estate brokers to adopt. Mr. Lerner said that another potential player in the market could be the Hamptons and North Fork Realtors Association, which has its own listing system and is working on making it operable.

A look at the number of public listings on Hamptons Real Estate Online and Streeteasy in East Hampton indicated that the two platforms were running about neck and neck with just under 1,500 properties, some of which could be duplicate listings. In contrast, the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island had only 57 properties listed in East Hampton.

Mr. Khuri said that all major brokers and most small ones use his service. He said he is now working with Agawam Realty to reduce its costs as it cuts back to one office.

Mr. Lerner said that Agawam was leaving the service. Calls to the company were not immediately returned.

Mr. Khuri said that his company had started out with smaller brokers and “worked hard to make the technology compelling enough to large brokers.” He said his company has had the best system in the region and has been customized for each client, growing with the industry here.

He also said it would be very expensive for a business to offer a start-up venture that was similar to what he now provides, particularly at a lower price. That was an opinion that other brokers said they shared, but did not want to state on the record.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 10, 2010
Paula, you clearly have no interest in the additional exposure that MLSLI and Realtor.com (by the way- please check website stats before making generalizations) afford sellers/buyers. Your sellers/buyers choice, to engage your services. Or not.

I'm not certain that the FTC requiring that an MLS anywhere providing consumers with a venue that affords both discounted listings, and "regular" listings, is problematic- in fact, it's a good thing. While it might rattle some cages, those that offer great service will be fine. This has been going on for a few years, so is nothing new to those of us that like the statistics provided by a solid MLS. Consumers need the data offered.

Still await the "why didn't the MLS work", out of curiosity, but no expectations. There is no perfect MLS, but a data entry portal that can be shared and used to benefit consumers (with Realtors/appraisers in all areas) in addition to providing exposure to sellers/buyers is hard to ignore, as many homeowners struggle with payments, and search for buyers. Covering all bases is never a bad thing- that "fiduciary" thing matters.

Finding properties with a simple click is just whipped cream on the McDonalds mocha. Realtor.com being the most visited website by a huge margin is the cherry on top, for those seeking the "best possible price" for sellers (more exposure), or the simplicity in that click of locating "the one" for home buyers, and their buyers agent, well, it works for some of us. Make that: MOST of us! You'll get there...
Web Reference: http://optionsrealty.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 3, 2009
IMO the South Fork agencies feel they are in an elite group, and to join LIBOR would be like going to McDonalds for coffee instead of Starbucks--it would be low rent. As I said on the other thread, look at how many agents LEFT the company when a one of the boutique real estates became a national franchise. Now the SF has their own MLS, through HANFRA, which they are trying to force on the North Fork also. A lot of the SFers don't want to share their commissions with "up-island" people. I went with LIBOR rather than HANFRA, HANFRA is a one man band. If I had a commission dispute with another agent, with HANFRA "mediating" I would likely have 3 people on the other side of my dispute whose grandparents went to school together since kindergarten. I'd rather have strangers.

I don't know where the SF agent is saying MLSLI didn't "work" for them. Having secret listings DOES work? Most of my listings are sold by other agents, how can I get them sold without giving those agents acess to my listings? I don't know how any agents can say OREX gives them more exposure than MLS. Especially the Pru agents who have thier listings fed to every imaginable website that exists.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Nov 1, 2009
Gail I liked your answer, but here's a suggestion from a NYC developer: represent the deal, not the seller, then you can start earning a living again.

A partial reason that sellers and buyers in the Hamptons are not on the same page is that brokers seem to be assistant-bluffers, or maybe Bluffer-in-Chief. I would rather cold call myself, knock on doors, than walk into a Hamptons realty and be hustled by realtors who are second guessing my knowledge of the market.

In NYC when a commercial broker calls me with something the price is usually right, when a Hampton broker calls the price is always wrong. Always.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 12, 2009
My only guess is that come Realtors will do anything possible not to share a commission.

My philosophy is that I work for the seller, not me. It is my obligation and duty to do all things possible to get as much exposure and many offers as possible, giving the seller the advantage to receive better offers on their property.

Some Realtors are just working for themselves for the $.
Web Reference: http://GailGladstone.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 1, 2009
Happy birthday, Michael- what a gorgeous day to celebrate!

Deb, I was down week before last, and will certainly call next trip- it would be great to get together. Out to Denver in July- 2nd grandchild arrives- but will be in NJ before then, I'm sure. Hope all's well- you must be very ready for summer- that place is fabulous from now 'til November (kind of like here).
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 20, 2010

Happy Birthday!!!!!!!!

0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 20, 2010
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in ,
Hi Laurie,

Hard to comprehend........ NO, more like impossible......

And, it's not as if we are lacking in the high profile dept. (I heard your "POUND"!) :-)

Next time you are in this area......call me!

0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 20, 2010
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in ,
Hey, Deb!
Imagine if the largest Rumson companies (by virtue of the # of agents) elected to partake in a private listing system, while remaining in other areas of the MLS, and pulled all of their listings from Sea Bright to Red Bank from the mls, preferring instead to cooperate with members within the private system, and keep all pertinent info (days on market, price reductions, cooperation figures) from Realtors in Atlantic Highlands, or for that matter, Colts Neck. A site showing properties (largely without addresses) is the extent of information offered to cooperating brokers from other parts of NJ.
Important to note: the large companies remain MLS members just outside of the area, using it fully.
Add a HUGE price tag for the "private" listing system. relative to mls fees.
If you were an Atlantic Highlands Realtor searching properties for your buyer seeking Fair Haven, with only 10% of the listings showing up in the MLS...what an unneccessary gyration- calling each office, awaiting a return call, just for BASIC INFORMATION neccessary to conduct your business.
Your excuse for such behavior? Your "high end" clientele needs privacy...never mind the rest- just blanket the whole area in the same manner.
Now, you have the highest of the high in pubic figures, Deb, and he still makes my heart go POUND to this day, but it's likely that like us, your MLS permits such high profile entities to avoid MLS exposure, by simply opting out.
Hard to comprehend, isn't it?
That the board of Realtors does nothing is part 2 of the story- that Realtors choose this behavior is more outrageous than the fee charged to partake in the "private" listing system! Opinion, of course.
That your seller may well have lost out on potential buyers, due to such a decision, is just plain sad.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 20, 2010

I know this thread has settled a few months back, but I just found it. Hello....Mike, JR, and Laure! :-)

How does MLS work for 98% of the country, but not work in these select markets? This was a very interesting read.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 19, 2010
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in ,
JR, you REALLY are good with a nail and hammer- right on the head.
Web Reference: http://optionsrealty.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 21, 2010
Those pesky Ohio Realtors...you are kidding with the response below, aren't you?

With respect to lockboxes, we showed a home out there where the key was "on the bird house", so not sure that argument makes sense, either- people really are trying to understand why Realtors would be so reluctant to provide cooperation to professional Realtors that are part of MLSLI, with buyers for Hamptons sellers.
Getting properties input within 24 hours is a professional standard that isn't brain surgery- it's managed everywhere else, so that sellers get the best possible exposure. Not exposing it immediately creates a pocket listing with limited exposure- hardly what sellers would prefer, wouldn't you agree?
Web Reference: http://optionsrealty.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 20, 2010
MLS is set up so that a broker/ salesperson from Ohio can sell a house here without previewing it. This area is not laid out systematically; the house numbers on the same street are not in order, there are many streets in the same town with the same name example Bay View or Halsey, because the homes are expensive the owners don't want lock boxes on their front doors, and there are many very slight but important differences in houses not part of MLS categories, and this area is a pricey resort not suburb. I was part of MLS system and found it useless, the customers were not serious, the questions were ridiculous and the stress of forcing someone to sign listing sheets within 24 hours when they were busy demanding. For me it was a total waste of money but it was fun to communicate with agents in San Francisco and Phoenix.
Sara Butler, Associate Broker Perspective Properties Inc.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 11, 2010
Although it's only a step, congrats to Corcoran for displaying addresses on their listings. I was at a networking dinner in Manhattan last night with their Director of Online Marketing and he said it is making a real difference in the effectiveness of their marketing. I'm sure the other Hamptons brokers who continue to play hide 'n seek with their listings will follow Corcoran's leadership.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 4, 2009
There is a very interesting interchange on ActiveRain today regarding the very subject that you brought up here....you would probably get some of your questions answered if you read that post. It got featured so it should not be too hard to find if you go on that website.
Interesting that one of the points made by several of the respondents was that MLS is not goverend by the state in most cases and is usually a private membership situation. I didn't realize that was the case---it always seemed that, when brought up on a blog site, that MLS is a huge governing body out there to make sure we all participate or we could lose our licenses to operate; on the contrary: There was an attempt on the part of the FTC to punish MLS in Detroit for not allowing discount brokerages to list their properties on the Michigan MLS. ...Something about the share of commissions etc. That failed and this post brings up alot of points about MLS and it's struggle to keep it's long held position that brokerages MUST participate or they are "doing a disservice" to the seller and to the buyer.

It seems that, in a lot of places, MLS is losing market share to internet websites and it is happening FAST. The number of these sites is multiplying exponentially and is threatening the very survival of this 100 year old "institution" know as MLS! So it may not even be an issue before too long whether we "elites" on the Eastern end of Long Island join the motley crew of MLSLI!!!
Thanks for bringing it up again and maybe now we can all put the matter to rest....
Best regards,:)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 3, 2009
Hard to resist a revisit, Michael, but JR hit the nail on the head.
Problem is, this business isn't about individual agents and their comfort level, it's often a numbers game for sellers in which the more qualified buyers that visit, the better the odds of a sale. MLSLI provides the exposure needed for the MAJORITY of Hamptons homeowners. The multi million dollar properties are the minority, not the majority, in the Hamptons.
Unfortunately, the silly "elite" mind set has infected typical property sellers.
Buyers were relieved of "hide and seek" to locate a property years ago in most areas, so to be introduced to that mind set in 2009 is offensive to many of them. They don't CARE about tradition; they care about getting the house that they want, without a lot of nonsense.
Sellers just want to sell their home. They don't (and shouldn't) care about who brings a good buyer. If they do care, they are able to "opt out" of exposure on MLSLI- simple.
Realtors from outside of the Hamptons recently sold a property in Southampton for our seller, as well as getting a WHB offer accepted for another.
A few Hamptons brokers called to see if they'd be compensated if they showed the properties (absolutely) but "heard" about them- didn't FIND them. Not a good thing, their buyers having to introduce a potential purchase found on MLSLI to the very agent hired to locate it for them- particularly when one of the Realtors belongs to a company that, at least on the North fork, participates in MLSLI!
You're right, Michael, at least with respect to Aspen, Co. I'd guess the median price there is considerably higher than the Hamptons, but Colorado is very much an MLS state. They like the data benefit, because it remains consistent for consumers, appraisers, and Realtors. Unfractured, if that's a word.
That it "can't be changed" is very much a question mark; that change has to be forced is the REAL question for many.
A question I'd like to see answered in specifics is: WHAT DIDN'T WORK ABOUT THE MLS, that appears to work just fine everywhere else in the country? For typical sellers in a range at or below the median $, what didn't work? MLSLI sure worked great for the listings that we had, but we welcomed anyone that had a buyer able to qualify for a purchase- no strings attached, just get our seller an offer!
That this is a second home community makes it all the more compelling to welcome agents from other areas that may well have clients seeking a second home, irrespective of the price point.
Web Reference: http://optionsrealty.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 3, 2009
That's terrific, Paula!
Best wishes for continued success.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Nov 1, 2009
Michael, I am very happy with the business I am doing right now---4 things in contract and 2 more heading that way. I have used MLS and got nothing from the exposure--people who want to buy here generally have to live near-by for access. Principle residences are a small part of the inventory here so the exposure that you feel is so important on MLS has a range of maybe the island, connecticutt and sometimes NJ. The handful of other people who buy here are Europeans who live here full time now or use their houses for the summers and close them up or rent them out for all other time frames.
Speaking of rentals---that is a huge market here as you know. How does MLS handle rentals? .....Not the same as OREX or HREO for that matter.com
Another thing you may not know is that we have extensive exposure on websites like NYT.com, WSJ.com and Streeteasy.com to name a few---we are doing OK., Thank you...and the owners think we are too. If they are unhappy with OREX, we put them on MLS, thus the low percentage you mention on your post.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 31, 2009
Have you worked in those areas? Maybe if you had I would see the comparison---"all real estate is Local" as you know Michael and for you to say that this area East of the Canal just does not want to play by MLS rules is just an uninformed answer---.

Why so angry over something you can do nothing about? We have found a system that works for buyers and sellers--the only complaints I have ever heard are from Agents who can't sell houses here because they choose not to participate in OREX and those who feel alienated for one reason or another.

Now, when you get upset by what I just said to you, just look below this answer and see that maybe, just maybe I am matching your tone--I do not like to be told that I am selfishly not participating in a system because I "have decided to reduce competition by refusing to employ it." I do not find it ingratiating to be told not to "drink the cool-aid" either!
You get back what you put out there.....
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 31, 2009
Well, here we are; the usual suspects!

The Hamptons, East of the canal have tried to utilize the services of MLS over the years--there have been several attempts, just as there have been in NYC. MLS does not work for this market nor the city market. Because this is a second home community, with most owners being the same apartment dwellers in Manhattan and therefore not here all the time, they request a very different service than MLS offers. The PRIMARY home owners here are usually the ones who want MLS to represent their properties.....and we do accomodate them.

I understand that this is a "thorny" issue to those of you just outside the area that uses OREX , however, you must understand the need for a very different treatment when it comes to a resort area and a second home market.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 29, 2009
Yeah, technically correct, MLS is in effect in the Hamptons.

On a search this morning for Southampton:

MLSLI Listings - 71
RealNet - - 834

And, that 10% has stayed roughly the same for 3 years.
That's not use, that's abuse!

Villages west of the canal and the North Fork have much higher percentages, but the eastern Hamptons have less than 10% of their listings on MLS. That is a sham and just because your with a brokerage that uses MLS, you want to promote it's use because your listings stand a better chance of being found.

And telling anyone they should search on MLS for a property in the Hamptons is just more Realtor speak that consumers detest.

I say "Use It or Lose It"
Web Reference: http://www.beachamptons.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 30, 2009
MLSLI is being used in every town and village in the Hampton's. Not every listing appears in the database,but more and more listings do appear on MLSLI. You need to visit the site more often to see what is going on. I work out if Southampton,and there are new listings added and updated daily.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 30, 2009
Here is the info from the Long Island Board of Realtors for March 2009.
Wouldn't it be great to have that data available for the Hamptons as well?
Web Reference: http://www.beachamptons.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 29, 2009
Why has my answer been removed from this thread?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 28, 2009

Most people do not want to co-broke and only want the buy and sell end of their "Pocket Listing". Some of these listing are given at a very low commission. I don't care how good the person who is selling the property thinks they are, this hurts the home owner, especially in this market.

Luke Constantino
Commercial | Residential
Direct: (212) 300-3919 | Fax: (360) 368-0098
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 22, 2009
Greetings Right Brain, I invite you to walk into our shop in Southampton and be treated by professionals...
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 13, 2009
The reason here in the Hampton's that real estate agents do not use MLS is because the top offices are all connected by OREX a system that is better than MLS and gives seller's at least the same service. We can use MLS if we feel it would be of benefit to us but after many trys it proves not to have any power. When someone wants to buy in Southampton they want to work with a broker from Southampton and not one from Smithtown for an example that does not know the location but only a MLS listing.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 2, 2009
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