Brokers Are Reacting To StreetEasy’s New ‘Premier Agent’ Feature

Real estate professionals fear that the new system can potentially disrupt the industry.

By Richard Du March 1, 2017

As the owner and founder of a real estate tech platform I read about StreetEasy’s initiative—reported by The Real Deal—to connect prospective home buyers with agents who buy advertising on the platform’s listing pages with immense interest. What it boils down to is a pay-to-play scheme that could potentially disrupt the real estate industry. Buy space and you’re one click away from a commission on a property you had nothing to do with.

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I’m not surprised that brokers who have nurtured seller contacts, done extensive background research on a property, and formatted a marketing plan are not thrilled about it. As a broker myself, I understand their sentiment. It means that, potentially, someone with no sales experience and little knowledge could present themselves as a seasoned professional simply by paying to do so. Plus, it all comes with a very flashy name, “premier agent”.

At Agorafy we believe in working hand in hand with the brokerages—not because we just want to continue fostering real estate professionals’ success and customer satisfaction, but because we value what they bring to the table. Let’s not forget that a seasoned broker earns their commission through their extensive knowledge about a property and matching it with the needs of specific buyers. School districts, transportation, mechanical systems, and contractors are all in the back pocket of any competent broker. Someone working remotely without an intimate knowledge of a building and the surrounding neighborhood may not only do the seller a disservice, but a buyer too.

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I know there has been talk for quite a while about the top New York brokerage houses banding together and forming a NYC equivalent of StreetEasy. Time and money has always been the biggest handicap. It’s an immense undertaking from a technological and logistical perspective to build the infrastructure to support all the listings in a major city, let alone several cities and potentially the nation. I know because I have already spent millions of dollars doing it.

StreetEasy continues diversifying its platform. I’m sure they and parent company Zillow view this as an innovative way to expand the brand, push sales and make more money. For others, it presents a worrying alternative for their work and experience. Brokers who are afraid of the influence StreetEasy wields in the industry and want a fast and viable alternative, can rest assured that one already exists. It’s called Agorafy, an open and free listing platform. Joining forces with the top players in NYC real estate, promoting their listings and their services is a key component of what Agorafy strives to do. We invite you all to join the party.

Richard Du



Richard Du, founder and CEO of Agorafy, was born in Vietnam and raised in the United States. As a child, he worked to support his family until he had the chance to immigrate to the America. Here, he began his career as an agent at Helmsley Spear, which he eventually parlayed into a lucrative real estate business. More than a decade later, Mr. Du is at the helm of Agorafy.
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