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“…home automation features are increasingly being built into smaller spec homes and new developments. Buyers like the convenience as well as the energy savings. Alfonso Giaquinto, the owner of Plum Builders, said he decided last year that “complete home automation systems” would be among the amenities that his spec homes offered. “The technology was available at a good price,” Mr. Giaquinto said, citing research showing that the 39- to 49-year-olds he was appealing to were “interested in having this technology in their home.””

IN THE REGION | LONG ISLAND

The Remote-Controlled House

By MARCELLE S. FISCHLER
Published: January 5, 2012, The New York Times

The Hamptons are one of the last hold-outs in the US for instituting a marketwide Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for the purpose of sharing and marketing listings.

In recent years, MLS systems nationwide have not only been used for sharing listings among brokers, but the real estate industry itself, through Realtor.com and many outside vendors, such as Streeteasy, Trulia and others, have built marketing systems around the MLS data feeds that give MLS listings wide exposure to many potential buyers.

You’ll note that Realtor.com, the countries top visited real estate website, only has 122 listings for Southampton because so few Hamptons brokers are members.

Trulia has 1126 Listings for Southampton and Streeteasy has 614. So, who’s to know exactly how many listings there really are? This has maintained the status-quo that keeps buyers on a tight leash and competition out.

Also, through  what is called an Internet Data Exchange (IDX), brokers in MLS’s are permitted to put each others listings on their own sites, making it easier for buyers to look for listings using the agent or agency they wish to work with.

Then to top it all off, there are Virtual Office Websites (VOW’s). On May 27, 2008, NAR and the U.S. Department of Justice reached a favorable settlement, concluding a two-year DOJ investigation (followed by two and a half years of litigation) regarding NAR’s multiple listing policy as it pertained to the display of listings from the MLS on brokers’ virtual office Web sites, or VOWs.

With no MLS, there is no IDX and there is no public data sharing, so here, each brokerage is limited to haing their own listings on their sites. This encourages buyers to go to their websites and get locked in to getting information from that brokerage, increasing the chance that they will sell their own listings and get both sides of the commission. It also favors the big brokerages, some of whom have gotten there by simply buying up other smaller brokerages, because they have the most listings on their sites. Even Manhattan has a listings sharing service through the Real Estate Board of New York that has resulted in VOW’s

If this sounds complicated, it really is. You see, real estate brokers,  like most business owners, like to have control of their inventory. And even while setting up rules and systems to promote their listings widely, they still hope to protect the goose and keep as much of the potential earnings on each sale for themselves.  That’s human nature, but it may not be legal.

see the NYPost piece below…

Justice Department probes top-end Hamptons real estate brokers – NYPOST.com

The US Justice Department has launched a preliminary probe into the business practices of top Hamptons real-estate brokerage houses, including their use of an expensive listing system that may block smaller companies’ access to high-end properties, The Post has learned.

Also see:

Feds probe Hamptons real estate business – Bloomberg

and

List Service for Properties in the Hamptons Is Scrutinized
New York Times
By CHRISTINE HAUGHNEY Several Hamptons real estate executives said Tuesday that they had been contacted by Justice Department officials seeking information

Are Listing Agents Hurting Their Clients by Hiding Addresses?

At Redfin, we’ve long been opposed to dual agency, where the same agent represents both seller and buyer. This hasn’t always been an easy call because in some ways it’s more efficient. But it’s hard to represent both sides in a negotiation simultaneously, and the big problem is that it encourages the listing agent to market the property selectively to his own clients rather than broadly, to every possible buyer.

see entire post here

August 08, 2009 12:45PM By Candace Taylor – The Real Deal

George Simpson (Source: the Southampton Press)

George Simpson has withdrawn the lawsuit he filed in March against 25 East End real estate firms and brokers, and the Web-based listings exchange system Open RealNet Exchange, or OREX.

Simpson, owner of competing data service Suffolk Research Service, and his wife, Jean, a broker, alleged in the suit that OREX and the brokers who use it violate anti-monopoly laws.

see story here

red_black_logo1

Another piece on the MLS, OREX, transparency (or lack of) issues in  Hamptons real estate, here by Candace Taylor.

It’s interesting to note how some things change over time and others don;t, and why?  In some ways, the lack of an MLS, while not necessarily in the best interest of the sellers, didn’t hurt them in the spiraling market of the “Exuberant 00’s” (or did it?). Prices escalated an average of 25% per year in most of the East End, and remember that 25% x 3 years nearly equals 100% (do the math) and 25% x 5 years equals more than 200%, not 125%. There are brokers and agents in this market that believe the presence of an MLS would have helped values grow even more during those high times, because of the increased exposure of Hamptons properties to the world market.

Some buyers and sellers actually like the boutique-y nature that the lack of a national listing system maintains in the market. It feels unique and special, like you have to be an “insider” to get the info.

So, what does the future hold? Certainly those in control know much better than the ranks…we’ll see, won’t we?

Breaking the Hamptons’ clubhouse mindset

July 01, 2009 02:34PM By Candace Taylor

Maxine Hicks for The New York Times  SOCIALITE Rachelle Hruska is the face behind GuestofaGuest.com, an online event diary.

Maxine Hicks for The New York Times ... SOCIALITE Rachelle Hruska is the face behind GuestofaGuest.com, an online event diary.

In this part of the world – The Fabulous Humptons – it’s difficult to avoid celebrity news and gossip – something we have tried to resist, keeping to relevant real estate info as much as possible.

Well, here’s one stunning up-and-comer who not only makes celebrity fun, she is making the pursuit of it admirable, having started Guest of a Guest, a tasteful, positive side of life social site that makes everyone look their best in the process.

Guest of a Guest chronicles night life from the city and the Hamptons through dozens of daily posts and photographs. For followers of such coverage, the coin of the realm has traditionally been exclusivity, a sneering velvet-roped rejection. But GofG, as it calls itself, gives civilian readers the illusion that they can attend these parties, too, as virtual guests. Who would believe that the effusiveness of Nebraska Nice could sell? But in bad-news times, maybe that’s precisely why it does: the site, Ms. Hruska said, which began on April 1, 2008, broke even just this month.

see the NYTimes story here

Simspon suit against heavy-hitters continues
27east.com – Southampton,NY,USA
The two companies at the core of the battle, realnet Solutions and Hamptons Real Estate Online Inc.—both owned by Nicholas Khuri—filed a motion to dismiss

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

StreetEasy.com, the leading NYC real estate website launches StreetEasy Hamptons

New York, NY. June 11th, 2009. StreetEasy.com recently launched their expansion to the Hamptons, covering the beach towns on the Eastern end of Long Island along with the North Fork of Suffolk County. The East End of Long Island is one of the largest second home and seasonal rental markets for New Yorkers, with over 60% of those looking in the Hamptons and North Fork residents of New York, giving StreetEasy the built in audience interested in these properties. New Yorkers will finally be able to see listings in the Hamptons the way they have been accustomed to in New York, with full detailed history.

StreetEasy’s unique local approach to real estate search in New York has made them the most popular site with advanced search options like new development, school zoning and commute time. StreetEasy is taking this approach in the Hamptons as well, incorporating important local search features like South of the Highway and Oceanfront property.

“StreetEasy has made New York one of the most transparent real estate markets in the country and we aim to do something similar for the Hamptons, which has traditionally been shrouded by the exclusive nature of the area and the geographic isolation” said Dawn Doherty, VP of Strategic Development at StreetEasy. She added that “now many brokerages on the East End are embracing transparency and StreetEasy’s entrance into the market. Along with exposing their properties to the huge audience of over 30,000 New Yorkers who visit StreetEasy daily, leaders are realizing that a transparent market offer consumers the information needed to make real estate decisions.”

One company fully embracing StreetEasy’s expansion to the Hamptons is Prudential Douglas Elliman, which is displaying all of their sale and rental listings on the site. “At Prudential Douglas Elliman, we believe good decisions are based on knowledge of the facts. We are committed to helping provide transparency for consumers as a way to ensure confidence in the market,” said Jill Harnick, Chief Marketing Officer at PDE. “As a compliment to the information we provide at PrudentialElliman.com, StreetEasy has become a strong partner for us, and we expect it will offer a boost to our web traffic in the Hamptons, where people are searching for real value now.”

StreetEasy Hamptons includes sale and rental listings, open houses, recorded sales, and discussion boards. StreetEasy Hamptons is accessible from StreetEasy’s homepage or http://www.streeteasy.com/hamptons

About StreetEasy.com

StreetEasy.com is a New York based Real Estate information portal that aggregates the most comprehensive set of sale and rental listings along with other useful info to help consumers make better decisions with detail such as days on market, recent price reductions, and what homes sold for.

For more information about StreetEasy, please visit StreetEasy.com or contact Dawn Doherty at (646) 365-0285 or dawn@streeteasy.com

See Real Deal article here

As I was reading The E-Mail Handshake in yesterday’s New York Times, I found myself – a fairly tech-savvy real estate agent- with mixed emotions about the concept of  conducting negotiations via Blackberry/iPhone email.

iphoneI believe that too often agents, clients and customers use email as a way of avoiding contact and the tough conversations they need to have about a property or the negotiating process. It’s easier to be a hard-ass with a few thumb strokes than it is on the phone, having to listen to the other persons advice.  That being said, perhaps some buyers don’t trust their agents and don’t even want to listen to their advice, so they just shoot ‘em instructions and see where it lands.  On the flip side, perhaps some agents don’t have the confidence to stand toe to toe with their client and tell them the things they don;t want to hear that just might get the deal done.

I wonder how many deals don’t get done because the wrong method of communicating was chosen?

I’d like to think that today’s most prominent agents know when to “e” and when to “c” their clients and have established a relationship with their clients that they know when a “c” is coming in, it’s important enough to take it.

Knowing when to use technology and when to use personal contact is a combination of art, science and style…

It’s coming to a brokerage or realtor association near you. Consumers are demanding it and, once available, you will have to take part or you won’t get any clients (unless you devise some slick marketing net, but that’s so expensive and inefficient, isn’t it?)

stampede

Transparency, service ratings -eBay, Amazon style. The stampede is on. To financial services, Wall Street, Main Street, real estate, investments…sure there’s always the underbelly that will figure out new scams to trap the unsuspecting.

Brokers, if you received customer satisfaction reviews on your agents from every customer they did business with, do you know who would rise to the top in your office(s)?   More importantly, do you know who woould be at the bottom?  And why are they still working for you?

inman

The “Client Experience Rating” program is free and optional for members of the Houston association, a regional Realtor trade group with about 23,000 total members.

Realtor association launches ratings program

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