By Adam Frisch, Managing Principal, Lee & Associates Residential NYC
Ever since StreetEasy’s recent price increase to $4.50 per listing per day (up from $3) was announced, I have found the anger of some people in the New York City brokerage community to be somewhat surprising. The thinking when the fee was initially instituted in 2017 as well as when the subsequent increase took effect at the beginning of this year, was to weed out open and nonexclusive listings. There is no doubt that this helps those of us with legitimate exclusives that we are attempting to rent.
In the past, in order to boost exposure for my listings, I felt compelled to pay for StreetEasy’s “Premier Agent” feature which cost approximately $80 per listing per week. The $3 per day charge across the board virtually eliminated the need to use that feature as there were drastically less listings on the site overall (the number went down by more than half) and therefore all the remaining listings were viewed more often. The fee cut back on the number of ads needed as well as the time that each ad needed to stay up as apartments were renting faster. As a result, my monthly bill was reduced by nearly 50 percent.
In addition, there is simply no other resource that compares to StreetEasy when it comes to consumer-facing search engines for New York City real estate. As such, the company can easily institute a fee (or increase said fee) and still make a healthy profit. Of course, nobody wishes for the price to go up so much that it becomes unaffordable but at $4.50, it still more than makes sense for brokers to pay. StreetEasy is a massive source of business for residential real estate brokerages in New York City, but especially for smaller companies which often garner about half of their business from the website.
StreetEasy has the unparalleled trust of the consumer and the data to run such a large, accurate search engine. Not only would it be a huge investment of money and time for a startup to attempt to compete with StreetEasy, but I still don’t believe that anyone could create a platform that would rival what already exists. Throughout my nineteen years in the business, I like to think that I have learned what brokers need, and suffice it to say that StreetEasy has become all but an essential resource.