In the current state, many would argue that finding an apartment for rent on the popular New York site, StreetEasy, may not actually be so easy after all. If you have ever searched for an apartment in New York, moved to New York, helped a friend find an apartment in New York, etc. , then you most likely came across StreetEasy to browse listings on the NYC market.
The site, an affiliate of Zillow, recently announced that they will charge brokers a $3 a day fee for an rental listing to appear on the site. This announcement comes shortly after the site implemented their "Premier Agent" offering, essentially allowing brokers to pay for potential leads, and become a point of contact on a listing that is not theirs.
Why is this announcement worth paying attention to? Below are 5 things you need to know about the recent changes to StreetEasy:
1. This impacts the NYC Rental Network
The NYC Rental Network is largely composed of StreetEasy Zillow, Trulia, and Hotpads because NYC does not have an MLS like every other real estate market in the country...if you are searching for a rental in NYC it will impact you!
2. The Change
StreetEasy will charge agents $3 a day to have rental listings appear on their site. If agents do not opt in, it will not appear on the site, and thus will not appear when you go to search here for your apartment. Many of the large brokerages in the city are not reimbursing agents for this additional cost if they opt to participate.
3. Initial Reaction has Been Large
The brokerage community silently spoke up through their lack of participation in the program. In fact, The Real Deal reported that rental listing inventory plummeted 50% in 24 hours! The comes on the heels of a boycott to their Premier Agent program as well.
4. Will this impact you?
If you are conducting a search for an apartment rental in NYC, the odds are more likely than not that this will impact your search. Because StreetEasy and the affiliates have aggregated large amounts of data (listings), they have become the go to site for for many in the search. If agents do not participation, the listings will not show on searches on this site so you could miss out on properties that perfectly fit your needs.
Through the lack of participation, and thus data, the website loses a sense of transparency. It once was the go-to for all listings in the NYC market, but that will no longer be the case as it will be a website with data that is simply paid for.
5. The Value of Human Interaction Increases
Brokers have become more important to your search than you previously thought. In an industry where technology certainly enhances and improves the transaction experience, the human element is still very valuable. By working with a broker, you will get access to their search and expertise. They have access to search propriety listings systems and tap into the broker community at large.