Featuring real estate articles and information to help real estate buyers and sellers. The Nest features writings from Georges Benoliel and other real estate professionals. Georges is the Co-Founder of NestApple and has been working as an active real estate investor for over a decade.
This guide will explore the multiple listing service situation in NYC. There isn’t a traditional MLS in New York City. However, there are several other listing services. We’ll explore the options and let you know why trying to list FSBO might not represent a great option.
If you have purchased or searched for real estate in other parts of the country, you probably know that most states have a local MLS. But here, in America’s greatest city, things are done a bit differently. In fact, NYC does not have its own MLS. Instead, there are multiple competing listing databases, each having a foothold in different areas. The primary database for NYC is the REBNY RLS, but there’s also the HGAR, MLSLI, Staten Island MLS, Brooklyn MLS, and NY State MLS.
The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) operates its residential listing service (RLS), which covers virtually 99% of properties in Manhattan. Most brokers in Manhattan belong to REBNY. As Manhattan is the epicenter of the city and its real estate market, that means most of the big real estate names in NYC remain REBNY members. You’ll also find that REBNY has great listing coverage in other prime areas. this includes brownstone Brooklyn and the hottest parts of Queens (Long Island City, Astoria, etc.).
No, the RLS does not have a consumer-facing website. NYC brokerages are notoriously protective of their listings. They have scuttled plans to build a consumer-facing website with all REBNY listings in the past. Some competing MLS’s like HGAR have floated the idea of building a consumer-facing site, but they will unlikely compete with large listing sites like Streeteasy.
A few things the REBNY does do in terms of marketing is to offer IDX and VOW feeds. IDX stands for “internet data exchange” and allows brokers that have opted in to display all other IDX listings in NYC. At NestApple, we use an IDX so you can search all NYC IDX listings. This also means that if you list with us, your property will appear on dozens of other brokerages’ websites, giving you incredible exposure.
VOW stands for “virtual office website,” and is similar to the IDX in that it also provides access to REBNY listings. The difference, however, is that to see VOW listings, you’ll have to register to join a site, and engage a broker. That means that very few brokers operate VOW sites as they require additional audits and fees. Vow also makes it more difficult for consumers to access listings. The one advantage of VOW sites is that they include all REBNY listings. We display those on the NestApple site also, but you have to register to have access.
There’s no multiple listing service in NYC, and no consumer-facing site for the RLS. However, REBNY members like NestApple have access to all RLS listings. That means if you’re a buyer on the hunt for a home in NYC, the best thing you can do is hire an experienced broker who can provide you with access to the best listings. When you work with NestApple, you can also save big thanks to our buyer commission rebates. This typically amounts to approximately 2% of the purchase price, or on average, around $25,000.
No, it’s not possible to list a home for sale by owner on the RLS. While you may find sites out there that promise to list you on the MLS for a flat fee. Most are not REBNY members and will list your property on something like the NY State MLS. Furthermore, you will have to sign a flat-fee listing agreement, as most MLS’s prohibit FSBO listings. Even services that will let you list FSBO on the RLS tend to be relatively shady as distributing leads, can become quite tricky. Many of the companies that offer these services have a model that is made to attract you with the promise of RLS exposure for a few hundred bucks. However, their real end goal is to up-sell you into listing for a 1% or 1.5% commission with one of their broker partners.
Keep in mind that listing a home FSBO also has numerous risks, and usually results in it selling for less than if you had hired an agent. If you’re interested in saving commission fees when you sell, NestApple can help. We offer the same full-service brokerage marketing and expertise you deserve at a fraction of the cost. For a 1% fee, you won’t have to worry about correctly pricing your property, setting up a marketing campaign, taking professional photos, and coordinating showings. We’ll take care of everything.
While the RLS covers most of Manhattan and other prime areas, you’ll find that other boroughs have their own local MLS’s. Here’s a brief rundown: