Curbed, the popular real estate blog, is launching an online listings service that will compete with the likes of the New York Times, Craigslist, StreetEasy.com and ResidentialNYC.com.
Rather than aggregating listings from brokerages, as some listings services do, Curbed’s “Marketplace” page will only accept listings from brokers or sellers. It explains on the page: “We’re aiming to create an exchange in which a lack of sheer volume is made up for in quality of the listings and the pleasure of the browsing experience.” Curbed officially announced the service in a blog post yesterday.
Curbed, one of the real estate industry’s most-read blogs, says that the listings service is for brokers, buyers and sellers and will be set apart by “big, beautiful photographs and a blog-style layout of properties.” It boasts that its New York blog reaches over 300,000 unique visitors a month. The Curbed network, which includes Racked, Eater, various Los Angeles and San Francisco blogs and the travel blog Gridskipper, states that it receives a total of more than 1 million unique visitors per month.
Initially the listings will only include for-sale properties, which are brokered on an exclusive basis more often than rentals are.
Although the listing service is already up and running, with a free offer through Labor Day, it is being officially introduced after the holiday. Until then, Lockhart Steele, Curbed’s president and founder, said he would not discuss it.
As of yesterday, the site had 60 listings, ranging in price from $199,000 to $6.97 million, and by agents from lesser-known firms to big players like Prudential Douglas Elliman and the Corcoran Group.
The listings’ order appeared to be random and presumably their validity will not be verified. A disclaimer says: “The site may contain errors or inaccuracies. We do not guarantee, and no reliance should be placed upon, the correctness or reliability of Curbed’s content.”
The new listing service joins the ranks of other such services that try to fill a hole left by Manhattan’s lacks of a real multiple listing service, said Paul Purcell, co-founder of Charles Rutenberg Realty in Manhattan and consulting firm Braddock + Purcell.
Curbed’s new service comes at a time when real estate firms are moving more of their services online. This year Corcoran decided to scale back its print advertising, no longer allowing classified ads to run in print.
But with so many similar online services, standing out will be tough, said Barak Dunayer, president of Barak Realty.
“I predict it will take them a while to compete,” Dunayer said.
Curbed’s postings will cost $90 to be included in a special section for a 30-day period. Agents will get their picture displayed, have posted direct links to their Web site and an unlimited number of photos and floor plans. For $300 more, the listings get posted on Curbed’s homepage and get posted in the site’s archives.