New York Real Estate with HGAR CEO and OneKey MLS President

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Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors CEO Richard Haggerty knows New York real estate. He’s been working with HGAR for over 30 years, bur has never seen a year like 2020. While the news narrative may hyped up the rental exodus, Richard testifies to the skills of NYC Realtors to adjust and refocus efforts on the suburb markets, which are growing and thriving. Listen as he explains how the NY state of mind helped real estate agents prosper, and how the need for a unified MLS will help everyone, but most importantly, the consumer.

 

TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to Brokerage Insider the podcast where we interview the leaders in real estate and technology.

I’m your host Britt Chester Director of Marketing Success at TRIBUS one of the largest independent prop tech companies in real estate and provider of custom brokerage technology to medium and large brokerages today on the show we are joined by Richard Haggerty. Richard is the CEO, the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors, Inc, and president and chief strategic growth officer of One Key MLS.

Richard, thanks for joining us today.

It is my pleasure, Britt. You know, Richard, we spoke last year at Inman connect, New York and well, a lot has changed. Can you sort of take me through, let’s start if we can even start at January of last year w you know, where we were a little bit more optimistic, things kind of changed after that and kind of give me your 30,000 foot view from the, from your members view, as well as the consumers in your area and the opportunities they were confronted with during this incredibly tumultuous year in real estate.

Wow. You know, I’ve been in this business for 35 years. I have not ever seen anything like 20, 20 quite frankly. I hope I don’t see anything like it again, it was, it was a tale of two years in one year. You had actually, you could make an argument with like three stages of the year. We were very optimistic in the first quarter of 2020.

The sales were looking really, really strong. The market and our entire geography was looking really, really strong, and we’ve got a very diverse geography. We cover Manhattan. We actually merged with the Bronx in the middle of the pandemic in July all the way up to that, to the Valley.

So four counties in the Hudson Valley, Westchester, Rockland, peppermint, orange, and all, all of that geography was just looking really strong. But then March happened and it was actually the middle of the third week of March, where literally within a week, everything shut down. I had to close my office.

Fortunately, we kind of seen the writing on the wall and we were able to transition all of our staff to working from home seamlessly. But real estate for all intents and purposes was shut down. Agents could not show up visibly show properties. And it was scary. I mean, I live in the upper East side of Manhattan.

And that became a ghost town very, very quickly. So yeah, I think everybody come that the end of that first quarter the end of March in the, for the most part, all of April, we were just really pretty much scared. Europe was really the epicenter. Our infection numbers were extremely high, the highest in the country early on in the pandemic.

And everybody was just, you know, shut up in their homes. And a lot of folks, if they had a second homes, they headed to wherever the second homes were, whether it was out in the Hamptons, up in the Poconos they got out of town. You know, and I think part of that narrative we were seeing from the outside, looking in, in New York was this, this mass Exodus kind of like, you’re talking about people where we’re going to the second homes, but I think there was also a lot of people who didn’t have second homes.

And so they started to look to where they came from it and move out. And so that, you know, again, that, that narrative kind of painted by the news was this, this empty city, what was it like. Living there. And what were your members you know, part of the association, what were they going through and what were their thoughts and what were the concerns that they were bringing you to you and to your executive team there?

Hudson gateway association of Realtors. Well, first off, I think everybody was in a state of shock initially because it happened so quickly. And especially in New York, it was a bit of an avalanche. So I think everybody was scared. Everybody was a little bit shell shocked and nobody really wanted to go show properties.

We didn’t have buyers who were comfortable going to view properties for the most part early on in the pandemic. So really I’m talking about April come may. I think that started to change with the spring, people were starting to get a little bit ancy We’ve got a better handle on what was going on with the COVID-19.

How has, and it was handled pretty aggressively in New York, I think in the early days. And what we really had to do with some sensation was keep our members informed. What could they do? What couldn’t they do so they could show homes virtually. And a lot of folks were already set up to be able to show them virtually.

And that did happen to some degree. Closing started to take place because we had virtual notary memorization approved in the state. So those properties were in contract prior to the pandemic slowly but surely we’re able to be closed, but for all intents and purposes, you know, that second quarter was wiped out.

So. April through the middle of June was really, there was no business going on because of the activity curtailed by the governor’s executive orders in New York which prohibited in-person showings. But that did change come the middle of June. I believe it was the second week of June where showings were allowed to happen again with safety protocols in place.

And as I said, it was really the, the tail of. Two years, because all of a sudden, what was a non-existent work, it just took off. And that was actually in large part due to the fact that a lot of folks from the city were now buying in the suburbs and it was the Connecticut suburbs. It was the New York suburbs both Westchester County and long Island.

And it was just a tremendous surge of buyer interest that occurred in that when then for the balance of 2020. And how did you navigate that? Cause again, you know, the seams, you know, I’ve said this a lot, it’s this anomaly year of real estate you know, unprecedented on one hand, but also a completely unplanned.

And I don’t think anyone really knew how to handle that. How are you all kind of navigating that those opportunities and directing, you know, consumers and kind of guiding your clients in that way. From my expected what the association role on that was really, again, just being a conduit of accurate information and getting that information out as quickly as possible which we continue to do now.

We’re actually doing it with the eligibility for vaccines. It just went from 65 to 60 yesterday. So we’ve got that notice out to our members ASAP. So we still are fulfilling that role. But I think a big part of it had to do the resiliency of our members Realtors really bounced back in a very strong way.

They did what they needed to do during that second quarter, when everybody basically had to hunker down and stay safe, keep their family safe and your consumer saying, okay. But then when we opened back up, they were there using safety protocols. To help the consumers, that they have relationships with find additional home.

And, you know, sometimes it wasn’t even folks selling in Manhattan and buying in the Hudson Valley or Wyland a lot of times it’s just quite frankly, folks buying a second home. And so they have those options going forward. I think that it was the whole Exodus from New York city was a little bit overplayed.

I do think that some folks who are. Starting families who were thinking about moving to the suburbs for whatever reason, because they wanted you know, green grass and schools in the suburbs, those folks have that decision making process feed it up because of the pandemic. So I don’t think that necessarily led to an Exodus that you know, is going to continue.

I think it just speeded up the process and folks who are already thinking of moving out to the suburbs, they’ve made that decision more quickly. And again, you know, when, when you and I spoke in June where you’d kind of teased One Key MLS, you know, it was, it was on the horizon at the time. And I think, you know, you all chose to do something pretty unique and you know, really, really present that wow factor with, with launching one MLS, I think, like you said, at the height of the pandemic, talk to me about kind of the decision, the decision to do that, and, you know, continue moving forward with that decision.

And some of the unknown barriers that you might’ve encountered, you know, as with that launch and rollout. So to be honest, the reasons why we created One Key and One Key is a regional MLS it’s owned by the Hudson gateway association of Realtors in the long Island board of Realtors was to really take advantage of the power of our geography for the benefit of our Realtor members.

You have a lot of regional on the lessons, much larger than ours. You know, we’ve got a large one, we’ve got over 42,000 subscribers. We’ve got about 4,400 brokerage offices. But we hit, you know, their, their larger MLS is around the country and, you know, California you’ve got bright MLS on the East coast.

But those are not really specific to geography per se, where we really wanted to. Focus on the New York city geography in the tri-state area, in terms of anywhere buses and trains go in and out of you know, New York city, we felt that there should be a regional MLS that takes advantage of that geography that I think is even more starkly obvious today than it was pre COVID-19.

Because we truly have become a region. Especially with folks who are now working remotely, they’re able to do so in counties where you can’t even easily commute, it would be a multi hour commute. But now if you have a second home in Sullivan County and your business is in Manhattan, you can still effectively do business.

So the power of region and the power of geography, I think has become even more apparent during this pandemic period. And we were positioned to take advantage of that. Did you, you know, New York I think is always in a international real estate Mecca, you know, with, with, with, with foreign buyers and foreign investors, did you see any kind of changes with that, with that sort of like traffic to the site or, or did you see any sort of changes with that sort of money kind of coming into the market?

It’s interesting. We launched Winky MLS in March of 2020. We launched our consumer facing MLS website onekeymls.com in the middle of June. And the traffic was high right off the bat, without question, because again, there was just a lot of interest in the geography that we cover. It’s interesting because New York definitely took a much.

A deeper dive in terms of just the, basically the bottom fell out in terms of sales in New York city. It is bounced back more quickly than I anticipated especially in the luxury market there’s been, you’re really now looking at the same kind of numbers this year, as we were looking prior to the pandemic last year.

Part of that though, is there are. I think deals to be had. And I think especially with a new development developers are actually making deals that they might not have made pre pandemic. So there are a lot of opportunities. The rental market really took a hit and the rental market is still struggling.

And that may take some time to come back, but I quite frankly, Libyan Manhattan. I, you know what I see in the streets today versus what I saw in the streets back in March and April of last year is night and day. I think that there really is a renewed interest in Manhattan because the perception of, you know, that there are deals to be had as well as in Brooklyn and as well as some of the other boroughs, I think the challenge quite frankly, is going to be the commercial market.

The commercial market is going to take a little bit longer to find its feet. I think, you know, you’ve, you’ve heard a lot in the press that there probably is going to be some type of hybrid going forward, where some companies will say come into the office, you know, three days a week and work from home two days a week.

I think especially in the next year or two, that probably will be the norm. But I do think the commercial market will get its feet within the next three to five years. That residential quite frankly, is coming back very strong, more quickly than I anticipated in New York city. You see any sort of kind of speaking to that hybrid model, something that came across the news here in Denver somebody was calling this place, a new developer.

They called it a condo tale and it’s it’s, they’re they’re condos that I believe. And I, you know, I’m, I might be butchering this, but I believe there’s zoned for like short term. And so people are, are, I guess, how they’re marketing. These are two, two investors to do, like long-term and short-term Airbnbs.

And it’s just got me curious to know what. Maybe what you’re thinking about that, that hybrid model in the commercial market, because there is so much real estate in New York that is, you know, I would say right for disruption right now. What do you kind of think about what that hybrid model looks like?

Or, you know, do you have any, any thoughts on what that could look like? The only thing I can really predict with any clarity as people are going to have to be very creative, you know what we’re going to end up with? I don’t think we should be. No guessing too much. I think we just have to kind of get creative.

And I think in terms of the hotels and that kind of creativity would match up well with what you just described. I’ve also heard a lot of folks saying, well, let’s convert commercial buildings to affordable housing or residential housing. I think that’s where problemat, you know, commercial buildings are just not designed nor plumbed that way.

And I don’t know, it just really makes a lot of sense. That you could convert commercial space, especially commercial space. That’s older to residential housing, but I do think we’ve got to get creative and I do think we’re still in the early days. I mean, New York, you know, the vaccines are definitely coming in now, the Jacob Javits center is this huge vaccine distribution center and the number of people who are getting vaccinated today.

It’s pretty staggering, at least in the urban areas of New York. And I think by may and June, that’s really going to make a difference. And I think by the fall that’s, especially hopefully by the fall, we’ll have, you know, the theaters back open. We’ll have all of the arts that have just continued to be shut down, which is such a drain on the New York economy.

And the New York city economy will start to recover. That’s what I think people will really start to use that creativity to figure out well, what’s life gonna look like for this market and for this area going forward.

We’re coming up on the, I would say the one year anniversary. What would you say, you know, looking at, you’re looking at your members and looking at, you know, even just kind of New York as a whole, from your view, like you said, you’ve, you’ve been with you’ve been in real estate here for over 35 years.

What have you seen as. Being one of the most valuable kind of pivot points for agents. Cause I think, you know, the industry yeah. Had to shift and I think everybody’s models have had to, whether that’s through marketing plans just kind of their entire approach to real estate. Again, what have you seen as some of the really valuable pivots that agents have done and that you and the team have done it?

HGA are. No, it’s interesting. I’ve seen so much growth in this industry. In my tenure, when I first came to work for the association, I was 24 years old. I had been looking for a job in publishing and was offered a job to work. Then Westchester County board of Realtors. We had 1,400 members now, or over 12,000 members.

You know, we’ve merged with several associations since then to create synergies that really, again, go along geographic lines. But I think the more things change, we forget that the more things stay the same and yes, technology has had a huge impact on us in this. It’s going to continue to have a big impact on this industry, but it, from my perspective, that’s still about the age.

And it’s still about the agents relationships with consumers at the end of the day, that was what it was 35 years ago. That’s what it is today. I don’t see that changing. You just have agents who are able to utilize technology in effective ways. So for example, during the pandemic, I think for very good reason, the whole concept of virtual tours really went up a notch.

And I think that’s going to continue to really improve that technology. But that’s not going to replace agents all this discussion about, you know, agents are going to go away. I never bought it and I still don’t buy it. So I still think at the end of the day, how do we provide better tools for agents?

And as an association, we’ve got to be careful because we also don’t want to step on the toes of the brokers. We don’t want to interfere with their value proposition and what they offer to their agents. But there are basic building blocks like education, and certainly we offer a lot more tech education focused on technology than we used to, but we’ve got to offer those building blocks for agents to succeed in their communities and in their business that has not changed.

That’s not going to change. I agree. And, you know, TRIBUS, last year we launched design studio, which was a, kind of like a, a one-stop shop to be able to connect, you know, agents with their clients, through, you know, kind of new flyers and, and creating an easier process there. And I’ve seen. You know, I think you see more investment in email marketing and you see more investment in you know, digital, digital marketing, whether yeah.

It’s in social media or, or Google in ways like that. How have you at One Key MLS sort of like pivoted your marketing efforts both to, to engage your, your Realtors and help them like empower them to reach their consumers and clients. Social media, you know, that that has had a huge impact on our industry.

It’s going to continue to have an impact on already has a huge impact on our lives. Let’s be honest. And that’s a space where I think when can you, that it’s been effective, but we’ve got to give them the better as well as the association. And that’s the one area where I think we’ve got to help our members step up their game.

Social media is going to continue to be a huge conduit communication with consumers. And it’s also going to be a conduit of communication between our members. We used to rely on email though. It’s interesting. One of the things that we launched very early on in the early days of the pandemic are what we call COVID updates.

Every day that email went out to the members. And initially it had open rates of like 40, mid 40%. And that’s pretty huge and open rate in order to email a daily email of 40 plus percent. Yeah. We’ve continued to do that. Now we call it just our daily update. And the open rate has continued. We used to have around 30%, some days it’s 34%, some days it’s 27%.

But I’m surprised how effective that is continued to be that I think it’s because content still is so important. And, you know, Britt, you know that your business never underestimate the importance of content. So obviously what we are including in that daily email, the content is perceived to be valuable to the members.

And that’s why it’s still has such a high open rate, but we can’t continue. This rely on emails. I remember. When, you know, before the days of emails and I was there when we got the book deliveries from Canada and we would have to, there was bad weather w you know, I’ll be on the phones, talking about the books, we’re going to be late.

And, you know, so I saw that all that change and, you know, we did away with the books and then did away with these daily. Hot sheets that we would actually deliver it to all of our member offices. So that evolution is going to continue in terms of how we deliver information. And we’ve got to be prepared for that.

And our, our, our members and our consumers have got to really be prepared for those changes. Cause that will continue to evolve. Jumping over to back to the One Key MLS, the consumer portal. I’d love to learn more about, but the successes that you’ve had with that from a, from a traffic standpoint, and then also just kind of building that out to be the most robust, you know, kind of portal for consumers.

Talk about, you know, just kind of the, the, the idea behind that and how it’s kind of evolving even into 2021. So we. Hired a company before the merger took place. So it actually we hired a company to help us in that endeavor before we’ve been started talking to long Island about creating a regional MLS, because we felt it was important to have a strong consumer facing website.

So we hired a company called August partners that was owned and operated by Tracy Weir, who continues to be our consultant with a number of different initiatives, as well as the website. And she created it from scratch. She is, from my perspective, Tracy is a visionary who in addition to having a good, strong tech background also has got a very strong marketing background and she’s able to marry those two important talents and she created our consumer facing website, but then we really pivoted very quickly.

When we started the merger discussions that actually created a regional MLS, we didn’t create a merged unless we created a new regional MLS. And so when we actually launched it, it was not from our old MLS, which was the Hudson gateway. And Melissa was the One Key MLS. And it’s really, from my perspective, very simple, doesn’t it doesn’t have a lot of, you know, Really fancy tools to it.

It’s got a lot of good content. So for example, it’s got a lot of neighborhood content. We cover a huge geography. We go from Montauk and the Hamptons all the way to Sullivan County and up to the Hudson Valley. And we have in a lot of really interesting diverse communities and neighborhoods. And we wanted to feature information about.

Those neighborhoods. So you were talking Chelsea in, down lower Manhattan. We’re talking Nyack up in Rockland County on the, on the Hudson river. We’re talking horse farms in Bedford. We’re talking, you know, the Catskills in Sullivan County. You want consumers to be able to get snapshots of what those areas look like.

Not just from the properties that are listed there, but also from descriptions about. The beaches are those those locations. So yeah, that, that’s nothing fancy, but it’s important and it’s content rich. So that was one of the things we focused on. We also are trying to grow our base in Manhattan. So we’ve got a lot of demographic information in Manhattan.

When I talk about demographics, I’m actually talking about building demographics. You know, how many units are in the building? What are the recent sales in that building? One of the, what are the amenities in the building? So we’ve had to really make a significant investment to make sure we have that type of demographic information on the buildings in New York city.

Yeah. And I think there’s, there’s so much, you know, like you said, you’ve, you’ve worked in this industry for so long and I’ve been at it for a little while myself. And so I think we begin to see kind of all the data together, but when you really kind of step back, there’s so much. Information available, both on properties and communities and markets and regions all the way around and seems like a pretty daunting task to package that up and make it easily consumable and searchable from the consumer perspective.

Were there any sort of, you know, working with Tracy and what was some of the kind of guidance you were giving her in, in, in how to, how to build that and how to, you know, make it as robust as possible. The simpler, the better we all like to search for homes. You’ll probably, I’m sure you read about it.

You didn’t see it. But there was a great free advertising, bright Zillow a couple of weeks ago. It’s probably about a month ago. Wasn’t it? On SNL one night when it was just absolutely hilarious skit on folks who are searching sites, looking for homes, how it’s like becoming the new dating game. And it was, you know, I think it really resonated with people because so many of us are doing and we have that when you look at some of these third-party sites, it’s not that they have all that many gadgets to it.

It’s they make it simple. And quite frankly, that was really our overriding instruction to Tracy, keep it simple, keep it focused, keep it consumer friendly. So they don’t have to jump through a lot of hoops. And I think we’ve achieved that, but we’ve got to continue to tweak it and hone it and improve it because the consumer experience is really what it’s all about.

So, and we involve consumers in getting their feedback. And we, we actually involve our members in terms of getting their feedback. We’ve got a focus group that Tracy’s going to be running and at 11 o’clock today to seek feedback from our members about how can we improve it? What are you looking for for a consumer facing site?

So you have to always have that ability to get constructive feedback as well. So it’s always going to be an ongoing process on. Improvement tweaking, making sure it’s still relevant and focusing on the geography again. That’s why I think why we’re unique because we really are focused on what we feel is such the such an important geography in the New York city and suburban surroundings.

It’s funny that that SNL skit I think was kind of an indicative of real estate in 2020 you know, Zillow’s app. I think they, they broke records with daily active users. I think, you know, home sales broke records, median home prices across the country where, you know, we’re breaking records, low inventory.

I wonder if it if it had, you know, for Zillow had the intended effect, right. I wonder if people were. You know, suddenly confronted with the idea, like, okay, I am just kind of like a voyeur on all of these homes. And I wonder, you know, if it. If it may be, you know, we say it was a commercial, it might’ve boosted it, but if there’d be some people kind of realized, yeah.

Maybe I don’t need to be, you know, shopping for homes for an hour and a half every night looking at, you know, w we’re into 2021, we have that as great SNL parody. What do you think of, you know, where do you think the market is going right now? I mean, I’m. I don’t think it could keep rising at the rate that it is forever.

But I, I know, you know, just from, from reading some quotes from, from Joe Rand recently about what was in the pipeline going from December into January of this year and it seemed very strong. Do you think that’s gonna continue to hold or, or what are, what are some of your predictions you know, high level predictions for what the market is going to do?

Is it going to kind of level out or will we see, you know, an affordability issue due to low inventory? So you mentioned Joe ran and then we’ve had Joe on a webinar series that we have about every two or three weeks. A couple of times you’ve also had Jonathan Miller. Jonathan is a very well-known appraiser in this area who also does extensive market analysis around the country for double element.

And I’ve learned that those two gentlemen are very, very smart and I learn a lot and I try not to disagree with them because their crystal balls are a lot clearer than mine. I do think that quite frankly, in Manhattan, things are still going to be soft for the balance of this year, probably going into next year, especially prices, not so much in Brooklyn.

We’re actually doing a webinar today about Brooklyn. Brooklyn really rebounded even more quickly than Manhattan. And I see continued strength there. The suburban market is just got one, actually two significant constraints. And one is individually when we launched One Key back in March of last year, we had over 40,000 listings.

We’re down to about 32,000 less things in that number is continuing to go down. Inventory is a problem in this area, as well as around the country. And that’s driven up prices. And, you know, I don’t know if those price increases are sustainable because they’re out of the group. I mean, if, if you look at the recovery that we had in 2020, I would never have predicted that we actually, even though we were in essence, shut down for three months, a quarter of the year 2020 was a stronger year in many cases than 2019.

And that’s just staggering to me. I do think, you know, we’re going to continue to live. I think in a relatively low interest rate environment, I know that mortgage rates ticked up above the 3% line and everybody was panicking and the fives hauling down and it’s like, are you kidding me? 3% mortgage rates and you’re going to panic.

So. I think that we’re going to continue. I have a very healthy market that we’re going to be constrained quite frankly, by price increases in inventory. I think we’ve got to not panic as easily as we sometimes do. You know, one of the things that I’ve said for the last several years is sometimes it seems like the industry is playing this elaborate game of game of Thrones.

And you know, that’s continued. You just keep on seeing the strategic moves. And saw, you know, CoreLogic was purchased. But then you saw CoStar tried to bump the like purchasers. And then finally they withdrew from that competition. We obviously saw the big news of Zillow buying, showing time.

And you, you keep on seeing these big moves and you wonder, well, what the end game, what’s the end game. And if you’re not in that space, why are you obsessing about it? Do you have to be aware of it. Do you have to understand what the ramifications are? You bet, but if you’re an agent working with buyers and sellers, how much impact is that going to have?

Especially the immediate impact. And I would argue probably not as much as people think. So. Stop overreacting. It’s always fun looking at the Inman headlines, but I think sometimes again, people overreact to what’s either an Inman or in New York, the real deal which isn’t a very well-read publications in this neck of the woods and focus on your business, focus on what you do well and focus on those tools that can help you get better.

At the love, looking at the headlines. I think what’s something I love looking at even more as the comments you know, the, the comments that come in from agents with their opinions and, and I think you, you make a, you make it a great point. It’s like, if you’re not in that space, like just, you know, just kind of continue to focus on, you know, staying in your lane.

Focus on you know, working with your clients and, and maintaining those relationships. I think that’s a great point, but those comment sections are always great great conversation fodder. It is a great conversation and it’s the double edged sword of social media as well. And that’s why I think we got to figure out how to use social media effectively in our, both our own personal lives, as well as.

In our businesses and I wouldn’t say our personalize don’t become consumed with social media. It’s not the real life stopped becoming consumed with the negative comments. You know, it’s interesting. I think right now there is as much news coverage as to the fallout where the Prince Harry and Meghan Markle interview.

As there is on the actual interview. In fact, I think the focus is more on how people are responding via social media, then on the interview itself and in real estate, you just don’t want to go down that rabbit hole. You want to focus on the positive. You want to focus on those things that are going to advance your careers.

It’s something that I heard last year from, from a lot of, from a lot of it, you know, industry Titans was we’re going to see some consolidation in the next few years, you know, and I think you know, COVID might have expedited some of that. And so I, I look at Zillow showing time as being a very high level.

Quote unquote consolidation. Is that something that you’re seeing is, are those conversations that you’re having, or seeing with brokerages starting to consolidate, or even with a Hudson gateway association of Realtors, kind of looking to join others? I know that it didn’t, y’all merge with the Bronx Manhattan North association of Realtors in the middle of last year.

Is, are there any other kind of strategic you know, strategic plans like that in for 2021? I certainly think on the One Key side we want to grow in QI because we think it’s going to benefit our participants in our subscribers. I don’t think that Nope market overlap in MLS makes any sense at all.

I don’t w Sullivan County, which was a and we actually purchased the Sullivan County MLS a number of years ago before we created One Key. We didn’t do that to make any money. We actually did that to create a better environment, MLS environment for the participants and subscribers in that area, because they don’t participate in a, to a molasses.

It didn’t make any sense. And I think, especially in our market, I hate to keep on beating this drum, but I’m going to get it where you get consumers who were looking at this wider geography it’s it includes New York. It includes Connecticut includes parts of New Jersey. As well as long Island, as well as the Hudson Valley, as well as New York and Manhattan and all the boroughs, consumers don’t want to go to multiple sites to view that entire inventory, they want to go to one site.

So it makes sense to have one MLS covering that geography. Is that going to happen overnight? It’s not going to happen overnight, but I wish it would happen more quickly. And I wish that people would just engage in conversations. To determine, you know, if there are synergies that can happen and to engage in conversations that include creative thinking, recognizing that the focus has gotta be on our members, on our Realtor members, on our participants, in subscribers, in how they can better work with their consumers.

So I think there should be growth. I think that there will be growth. And it’s gotta be driven for the right reasons. Where do you like to grow? You know, kind of in a if we’re going to say wishful thinking or even a pipe dream, where would you like to see One Key MLS positioned you know, maybe three years from now, five years from now you know, where, where would you like to see that?

Well, I want to start Manhattan. I think you and I probably chatted about Manhattan when we met back in January last year. We have had some success in Manhattan. We’ve had a number of middle size firms joined when key MLS compass has been a member of ours really from the very beginning. But there’s also still some hesitancy and reluctance on the part in certain large brokers.

And we’re still trying to engage in discussions to try to break that down. At the end of the day, a lot of those firms in the city also do business in the suburbs. So it doesn’t make any sense not to have a strong MLS presence in Manhattan, in the boroughs. If it works, if it works in the suburbs, why wouldn’t it work in New York city?

In, you know, when we probably chatted about the fact that New York city is the only metropolitan area that does not have an organized MOS. And from my perspective, that just shouldn’t be, it’s going to benefit agents working in the city, and it’s gonna benefit consumers who are looking for prop properties in the city, as well as in the suburbs.

So that’s the immediate growth I’d like to see, but going back to the beginning of our conversation anywhere there are buses and trains that go in and out of Manhattan. I think that there should be one MLS and I don’t think that’s a pipe dream. I think that that is an achievable. A goal that will, it may take three to five years, but I think it’s a chief and w Richard we’re, we’re kind of coming up on time.

I wanted to kind of ask. That’s something we ask all of our guests on the show. You know, like you said, you’ve been doing this for 35 years. I think you have seen a lot of trends come and go. You’ve seen a lot of buzzwords become popular and fade out. If you kind of looking back on your career, if there’s one thing that you could go back and change, or one thing you could go back and do differently what, what do you think that would be?

I would have started the conversations earlier and, you know, we were pretty aggressive about it. We Yeah, we merged with two other associations back in 2012, and I understand the reluctance to have those kinds of conversations because they can be tough conversations. You know, they can be perceived as we’re giving up our identity.

And I think what we got to focus on is we shouldn’t have anybody giving up on their identity. We’ve got to create a new identity that benefits everybody. So I would’ve speeded up that process. I’m not sure I would have been successful, but I would have probably wanted to speed it up. And I think what I could change it.

And I don’t know if we ever have the power to change the dynamics. The unique thing about our industry is our members engage in cooperation at the same time. They’re competing with each other, and that really is unique. And that really sets our industry apart. And the MLS is what is facilitated that whole mindset.

And I think right now the MLS has taken an undeserved beating in certain then use and I, I think that folks are not recognizing just how important the MLS concept has been to the success of real estate professionals and to the success in the advancement of consumers, having an easier transaction.

Because they have access to wider information. And I do think that going forward, we cannot give up on that concept of cooperation. That really is the underpinning of the MLS. So this is not so much what I would change. I guess this is something where I, I hope it doesn’t happen, that we realized that we collectively realize that the multiple listing service philosophy of cooperation.

Is so important to how we really work so well with consumers. And can’t give up on recognizing that importance. Definitely. And what is one thing, you know, you’re most excited about in 2021 and what’s kind of, what’s really kind of driving your conversations. You mentioned early, you know, before we started recording you said the theme is the more things change.

The more they stay the same. What does that kind of, what does that mean and how are you viewing, you know, this industry through that lens right now? I, one thing I’m really excited about. Is I really do see the demographics of our membership changing. I see changes in age demographics. I see agents getting younger.

I see a change in racial demographics. I’m at, I was actually, while we went through a very difficult period last year with the tragic death of George Floyd. And all of the protests that happened after that, in that I think we started to have finally have a discussion on meaningful discussion about race in this country that should have happened a long time ago.

And one of the things our association is continued to be engaged in is making sure that discussion continues and to make sure that we’re representative of our leadership is representative of our membership and making sure that we are engaging in. Individuals from diverse backgrounds, making sure that they realize that they could have a career in real estate and they can have a role in the leadership of this organization.

So I’m excited about that and I’m excited about that conversation and that movement continuing and expanding, going forward. I agree. And I, and I think it’s long overdue. Richard, thank you so much for joining me today. This has been a very insightful call and, and, and I think our listeners are gonna learn a lot and be able to have some good takeaways about both the market and One Key MLS and, and what Hudson gateway association of Realtors is doing.

So thank you so much for joining me today. It’s been my pleasure. Thank you so much. Really appreciate it. And thanks for listening to brokerage insider the podcast where we interview the leaders in real estate and technology. I’m your host Britt Chester director of marketing success at TRIBUS. And today we’re joined by Richard CEO of the Hudson gateway association of Realtors, president, and chief strategic growth 📍 officer of One Key MLS.

Be sure to subscribe to brokerage insider, wherever you get your podcasts. And we’ll see you next week. .

CEO | Director of Strategy
With over 20 years experience in the real estate industry, including being a Realtor and Broker / Owner, Stegemann brings a wealth of knowledge to this job as CEO of TRIBUS. He focuses his time on helping brokers enhance and expand their business and working with the TRIBUS labs team to consider what's next in real estate.
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