New York City buyers now have another local discount broker option. New York City-based discount brokerage RealDirect Inc., which began offering discount brokerage servicers to sellers in 2010, has launched a buyer service.
Buyers and sellers working with RealDirect pay limited commissions based on more streamlined services, said Doug Perlson, co-founder and CEO of RealDirect.
"Our goal is to make the process more efficient," Perlson said.
RealDirect’s hallmark has been the analytics it offers sellers that shows them where their advertising generates the best leads, helping them to maximize their advertising dollars.
RealDirect is a member of New York City’s multiple listing service-like organization — the Real Estate Board of New York — so its listings join the organization’s listings pool. Conversely, its buyers have access to data for all of the group’s listings.
Sellers have two options to participate with RealDirect. They can manage the sale themselves (with RealDirect as broker) by pricing, showing and advertising the home. This costs sellers $395 per month for the duration of the sale or 1 percent of the sale price. An option that’s more like full-service is available, too, for 2 percent commission.
Fifteen to 20 percent of owner-managed sellers who start out with the more solo option make the move to the agent-managed service, Perlson said.
The new buyer service includes access to one of five RealDirect agents, who serve as exclusive agents for different geographies of Manhattan and Brooklyn, where RealDirect now provides services. Buyers receive a rebate of one percent of the sale price for working with RealDirect.
"We liked that it’s more data-driven," said Stacy Kim, who bought an apartment on the Upper West Side with RealDirect last year before it rolled out the new version of its buyer service. She and her husband liked that they could search for places with specific criteria — excluding first-floor apartments from search results, for example — on RealDirect’s site, she said.
RealDirect offers buyers a map-based lasso search tool as well, which allows users to see all listings in a certain area. Other buyer tools include: a matching program that matches homes and apartments to clients based on their stated needs and wants; geography-specific metrics like price per square foot; inventory info for places with selected features (like all four-bedroom places available in Chelsea, for example); and mean and median prices for selected areas.
RealDirect has worked with 100 sellers in the last 12 months and has closed with 10 buyers since launching the updated buy-side service two months ago, Perlson said. The company has plans to expand into all of New York City’s boroughs in the coming months, he said.