Before founding CityRealty in 1994, Dan Levy worked as a technology consultant on AT&T’s first interactive television project. He now serves as president and CEO of CityRealty.com, one of the first real estate Web sites ever launched. Since then, the site has become one of the largest and most popular Web sites for New York City real estate.
Focused on helping buyers navigate the complex New York City real estate market, CityRealty provides buyers with detailed information about the market and connects them with a broker specialist who is best able to assist them. Levy is responsible for CityRealty’s strategic direction and daily operations, and for developing relationships with real estate brokers and developers. In addition, he oversees the continued development of the site and the introduction of new content and services.
Hear Dan Levy speak at Real Estate Connect in New York City, Jan. 9-11.
“When we launched, it was a different name,” he explained. “It has evolved to CityRealty. It was barebones in the beginning but then some New York developers contacted me after seeing the site and ultimately became my partners in the business.
The major change that’s taken place since Levy began the Web site is that now technology is now being used throughout the industry, he said.
“I can recall meetings with brokers where the theme was that the Internet was irrelevant to the business,” he said. “If real estate firms are not doing a majority of their business via the Web now, they will be in a short period of time.”
Levy explained the company’s revenue stream is devised from a commission from the buyer’s broker upon completion of a transaction. “There is no cost to the buyer. If a buyer wants to look at 10 apartments on the Upper West Side, they usually have to contact 10 different brokers. We do the legwork for the buyer and find a single broker who we believe would best be suited to help find that apartment,” he said.
The company’s core user is a person moving within the city and is usually a high-income professional working in the financial services industry. Over the past decade, some 100,000 people have joined CityRealty’s service, Levy said. The company’s network includes more than 500 brokers from the city’s top real estate firms.
“We started CityRealty with a simple goal, to help buyers and renters of Manhattan apartments navigate the complex New York City real estate market,” he said. The company’s full-service approach provides consumers with a free service.
Linda Alexander, a friend of Levy and also a real estate public relations professional, considers him a pioneer in online marketing for residential real estate companies.
“He took his vision and taught us how to make the most out of our marketing dollars,” Alexander said. “I met him in 1994 or 1995 when I was director of Marketing for The Greenthal Group and we were among his first clients. I was sold the moment he introduced this new marketing medium.”
Levy also serves as president and CEO of Real Estate On-Line and REOL Services, an online branding and Web site development firm that specializes in developing Web sites for real estate investment trusts and private real estate owners and developers. Levy has a Bachelor of Arts degree in physics from Columbia University and is an expert skier. It would appear he has conquered the sometimes-treacherous slopes of New York real estate with ease.
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