A handful of large South Fork real estate brokerages are developing a new weapon in the fierce competition for sales.
A new listing system is being rolled out—evidently an alternative to Real Net’s public portal, HREO.com, or Hamptons Real Estate Online, which has essentially been the only game in town.
The new system appears to be a closely held secret. Brokers, agents and marketers at several major real estate agencies—Saunders, Corcoran, Brown Harris Stevens, Sotheby’s and Douglas Elliman among them—either did not respond to emails or phone calls, or said they were instructed not to discuss the matter or knew little about it.
Access to real estate data is critical to sales agents, and some local brokerages have historically been accused of being reluctant to share that information even when it is in the best interest of the consumer. The more listings that are shared on a listing service, the higher the exposure for each one. So it is unclear what the effect will be on HREO—and on smaller local brokerages that rely on it—if the larger brokerages pull out of HREO.
Judi A. Desiderio, the CEO of Town & Country, sent a memo out earlier this month to her associates that explains that a new Hamptons real estate association is being formed along with a new listing system to replace Real Net—whose principal, Nicholas Khuri, did not return phone calls and an email this week.
“The technology fees for the Hamptons agencies are higher than the technology fees anywhere in the country,” Ms. Desiderio said by phone on Tuesday—echoing a common sentiment that HREO is expensive and, as Enzo Morabito of Douglas Elliman described it, “dated.”
Town & Country is still in the “information-gathering phase,” Ms. Desiderio said, adding that her firm had seen demonstrations of the new listing system, which is called East End Listings Exchange and affiliated with MyStateMLS.com.
Town & Country is not yet ready to “flick a switch,” she said, and might conceivably join the new association but not the listing system, although no decision has been made yet.
“Once we have all the information at hand, we will schedule a companywide meeting to inform and hear your thoughts on the matter,” she told her associates in the company memo.