Imagine a world with no broker’s fee. One where listings are what they seem — and not some bait and switch to get you into a dingy office just so some guy can snag 15 percent of your first year’s rent for doing nothing more than unlocking a door.
Marketing pros Ilana Schwartz and Don Tallerman are making this fantasy a reality with UrbanEdgeNY.com, a new, free Web site connecting apartment seekers directly with owners and thus eliminating the middleman.
“By last year, over 80 percent of people were going online to search for a home. And we saw such huge importance for [owners] to be visible online,” says Schwartz.
After doing research, the two realized there was no good central marketplace on the Internet where owners could sell directly to consumers. Instead, they were running into bogus sites where most of the homes listed weren’t accurate or still available.
“Craigslist has become the go-to site, but everybody’s frustrated by it,” says Tallerman. “There’s really no policing. Craigslist is where you get massages and antique bikes. It’s for a million things, and it’s not simply focused on real estate. What we want is to put the power back to the hands of consumers and of the owners.”
One way they ensure this is brokers aren’t allowed on Urban Edge. “They can look, they just can’t list,” says Schwartz.
“Owners list and keep the ads fresh and accurate,” adds Tallerman. “Fresh meaning if it’s not updated in two weeks, it gets taken down. And accurate is, it’s the owners pricing, they’re representing their own product, not depending on a broker to make it seem better than it is.”