Avondale, AZ, Apr 18, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – There is a battle raging in New York City real estate today and depending on the outcome, consumers across the country could find the already confusing land of real estate even more confusing. StreetEasy, which is owned by Zillow, is an online platform where consumers can search for available properties in New York City. Just like Zillow’s national website, StreetEasy allows real estate agents to advertise as a “Premier Agent.” Premier Agents pay a fee in order for consumers to be referred to them.
Agents advertising in real estate is certainly nothing new, but what is creating the confusion is that a consumer can be looking at a property listing, click to ask for more information about the property, and instead of being referred to the listing agent, be referred to a Premier Agent who may or may not be familiar with the property. According to the Real Estate Board of New York, this has led to one consumer being referred to an agent in Ohio and other consumers going to look at a house with their own agent only to have the Premier Agent claim that they already represent them. By not providing full transparency and disclosures that consumers are being sent to a paid advertiser rather than an agent affiliated with the property, consumers end up confused and possibly underrepresented.
“While we applaud StreetEasy’s advocacy of buyer agency and desire for buyers to be represented by someone other than the listing agent, we understand that listing agents are an important part of the sales process and work hard to get an exclusive listing,” states Dawn Rae, NAEBA President. “We believe that the listing agent should be disclosed with the StreetEasy listing ensuring that consumers are educated that the listing agent represents the seller, and then give the buyer a choice to hire another agent for their own representation.”
Currently, Zillow’s national Premier Agent program does exactly that. The listing agent is listed with the property along with Premier Agents and each is clearly marked as such. This allows consumers to make a choice and understand who represents the seller. Should Zillow decide to change its national platform to what it is currently doing with StreetEasy, consumers could find what those in New York City are already facing.
In addition, there is no guarantee that a Premier Agent will fully represent the buyer any more than the listing agent will, which may cause even more confusion. Adds Rae, “Most Premier Agents are still traditional agents who represent both buyers and sellers. The only thing that makes them premier is they’ve paid for the advertising. Members of the National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents, who generally work under the same commission structure as traditional agents, never represent sellers so a buyer will have an agent on their side no matter which property they purchase.”
The National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents (NAEBA), created in 1995, is an organization of companies dedicated to representing only buyers of real estate. NAEBA member brokerages do not list homes for sale and never represent sellers. This restriction to one side of the real estate transaction avoids conflicts and ensures that the interest of the home buyer is protected at all times from house-hunting and negotiation to inspection, financing and closing.
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David Alvarez, Marketing Director
National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents