Angst Hits REBNY: Price for New Database Peeves Smaller Firms

We reported last week that the Real Estate Board of New York will be starting early next year its own searchable Web database for residential listings.

Of course, the cost to the dear consumer is zero. But if REBNY’s more than 300 member residential brokerages want their listings included in the new database, the price won’t be so small.

According to one source, bigger firms will be charged $7,500 annually, while the little folks will pay $3,500. We called Warburg Realty Partnership president (and REBNY board member) Fred Peters for confirmation.

“That was certainly a proposal that was being kicked around,” he said, “but it was one of a number.”

Did mom-and-pop brokerages find the proposal unfair? (After all, the city’s mega-conglomerates like the Corcoran Group and Prudential Douglas Elliman can afford much, much higher fees.) “No doubt there were people who thought that it was too much, and no doubt there were people who thought that wasn’t enough.”

Self-described “one-man show” Basil Ashmore is in the former REBNY camp. “I’m one person. If you look at Corcoran and Douglas Elliman, they have a thousand [brokers, at least]. So I think it’s unfair I should pay 50% of their fee.” (He remembered the currently proposed numbers as $3,500 and $7,000.)

“I suspect the proposal will change,” he said. “But how much closer to fair it will be at the end of day, I’m not sure.”

Back to Warburg prez Mr. Peters: “I like to make a joke as a broker: you know you’ve successfully made a deal when every side is equally unhappy. That’s the point we’re trying to negotiate toward: the point of equal unhappiness.”

Max Abelson