The Real Estate Board of New York, a real estate trade group, announced that it is working with in creating a public property-search Web portal for its residential brokerage firm members who choose to supply listing information.

The REBNY portal will give home buyers and sellers access to Trulia’s real estate tools such as heat maps and price trends.

Steven Spinola, REBNY president, said in a statement, “This partnership will finally allow New York City brokers to deliver their listing information to the public in an accessible, informative manner while providing immediate value to home buyers and sellers. We are excited to work with Trulia, who have proven themselves with the fastest-growing real estate site on the Internet, to build a resource that simplifies the way people search for homes in New York City. We are looking forward to building this consumer tool with our membership and with Trulia.”

The group’s 365 residential brokerage firm members have traditionally shared the information among themselves through its REBNY Listings Service, an internal data for members.

New York City real estate brokerage firms have historically been very guarded about sharing property-listing information with the public, and it remains to be seen which firms will share property listings information with the portal.

Dominique Troiano, a REBNY spokeswoman, said the new Web portal will be branded as a REBNY site, and the property listings on that site will not be searchable on the general site. “We’re not signing a kind of agreement where they have access to our data,” she said.

REBNY broker members can voluntarily participate in the public portal, Troiano said, and those brokers who do participate must share all of their exclusive agency property listings — listings in which the client signs an agreement to work exclusively with one brokerage company. Only those REBNY members who participate in the group’s internal RLS system can participate in the public portal, which is expected to launch in late spring, Troiano said.

REBNY staff will help to oversee the operation of the portal to ensure that the information supplied by member broker firms is accurate, Troiano said.

“We are very, very concerned with the accuracy of this information, especially where neighborhoods are concerned. We want to make sure that everyone is using the same terms and same terminology (about neighborhoods) so the public can … make the right decision as to what they want to buy or rent.”

REBNY and Trulia officials gave presentations today to owners and managers of member residential brokerage companies. Troiano said participants were asked to give feedback about the portal in a survey, and she said there will be continuing discussions about the portal.

REBNY had announced in November it would build a public Web portal to display members’ for-sale and rental properties, and that announcement surprised some members who said they weren’t aware that REBNY was considering such a plan. Some group members had filed a petition asking REBNY to engage in more talks with members before proceeding with the public portal plan.

Development of the portal was approved by REBNY’s Residential Board of Directors.

According to the Trulia blog, the new REBNY search engine “will bring together residential property listings from REBNY-member real estate brokerage firms onto a single public Web site for the first time.”

There is a Realtor-operated multiple listing service in Manhattan though it has far less participation than REBNY, which is not affiliated with the National Association of Realtors. REBNY has about 12,000 members who work in a variety of real estate-related professions.

“This is a historic project, focused on making REBNY-member listings as accessible as possible to home buyers,” said Trulia chief operating officer and co-founder Sami Inkinen in a statement. “Pairing Trulia’s consumer-friendly tools with REBNY’s listings data will create a robust resource for anyone looking to buy or sell a home in the notoriously complex New York real estate market.”

Trulia has announced some major deals to accept property listings information from brokerage companies, including an announcement earlier this month that Realogy Corp. affiliates would send property listings to the search engine. Launched in 2005, Trulia has earlier announced agreements to display property listings supplied by Keller Williams Realty, Weichert Realtors, Long & Foster Real Estate and Real Living, among others.


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