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In most of the country, real estate firms of all shapes and sizes use a multiple listings service, or MLS, to freely share information about who’s selling what kinds of homes.

But not in the Hamptons…

Now, though, in an attempt to level the playing field, George and Jean Simpson… filed a 58-page lawsuit against OREX and 25 firms and individuals who use it, including the Corcoran Group and Prudential Douglas Elliman, claiming that they violate anti-monopoly laws, and that, in making the information inaccessible to the public, defendants have “enacted and enforced various anti-competitive and unfair rules, policies, practices and procedures.” To compensate for lost business, the Simpsons are also seeking damages of $18 million.

see the story below

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Hamptons listings battle heads to court

…and he lives in Westhampton Beach, where several of the major firms use MLS, while they choose not to “East of the Canal” on the South Fork (code for The Fabulous Humptons). BTW, it appears that this practice of  “cherry picking” (where to use and not use MLS) is against Long Island Board of Realtor rules, NYS Association of Realtor and National Association of Realtor rules and ethical standards, however somehow they are not being enforced. Anyone know why?

Another note; all the major firms in the Hamptons that have offices throughout the rest of the country, use MLS for all of their other markets. ie; Palm Beach, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Chicago, San Francisco, etc, but choose not to in Manhattan and the (eastern) Hamptons. Anyone know why?

Having watched and even worked, managed and owned a brokerage or two in this charade for years – it’s clearly come to a time for change.  Pull back the curtain and employ the tools, such as MLS, IDX, VOW that are readily available to the real estate industry that will result in more transparency and greater exposure for listings.  Truth be told, this market (Hamptons and North Fork) is frozen solid and I’m not sure that even transparency would make a difference today, but it certainly will going forward when the market starts to thaw.

I see three options for moving forward:

1- Convert RealNet/OREX to an MLS compliant format.  Currently this private system provides most of the listing data to Hamptons firms. The public portal for realNet is HREO.com

2- Join the Hamptons and North Fork Realtors Association‘s MLS provided by Rappatoni

3- Join and consistently employ Stratus, the MLS system provided by the Long Island Board of Realtors

There’s a saying in this business: “I ‘d rather have 50% of something than 100% of nothing”.  It’s time to start acting like it.

Check out Tom D’s rant on Laurie Mindnich’s Options Realty‘s post:

Hamptons/East End Real Estate Practices

freakout.jpgTom D Says:
February 26th, 2009 at 4:33 pm

At least there are a few people like Laurie and the folks at Options Realty and George Simpson that are attempting to bring the Hamptons into the real world of real estate. I have been here about a year, having moved from CA. From day one, it seemed that Hamptons RE is some big secret fraternity to which you are only allowed entry if you say the magic words. And I guess a few of those magic words are “I have 44K per year to pay for OREX.” Realtors tell me they they share or co broke or whatever dumb term you wish to use. Yeah, right. They even tell me that the sellers want it this way. Now let’s see, my listing has been exclusively with you for over a year, you haven’t gotten me one offer (good or bad)and I as a seller want it this way? I have bought and sold several houses in the last 10 years in CA and they always sold because of marketing on the part of my agent that used a real MLS and gave not only other brokers but also potential buyers the opportunity to see that my property was available. Don’t you guys know that realtor.com and other websites are the first place that a majority of buyers start their search? How many of your listings would I find there? And even if I find them , I really don’t know where they are because just as with HREO, you typically leave out the address. God forbid that anyone should be able to know where a listing is actually located.
My conclusion to this rant (and believe me I could go on much longer) is that the secret society benefits only you the realtor. You want to keep both sides of the commission for yourself, or at least keep it in your office. Oh, I forgot, a lot of you don’t even share listings within the office.So as with every other crooked enterprise, all one has to do is to follow the money to understand why you do what you do. Well, guys, all I can say is that the money trail is coming to and end. I see from one of the few somewhat buyer friendly realtors I know that there is “only” about a 60 month supply of houses in the WHB area based on 7 being sold last month. Maybe if a few more people knew what was really available you just might sell more. But then you just might have to split that commission. Put your properties on MLSLI like the rest of Long Island does. You just might find a few more buyers now that your Wall Street money is disappearing!

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