The Real Deal New York

WATCH: Bess Freedman on the BHS-Christie’s breakup, REBNY’s MLS, the trouble with noncompetes & more

The Brown Harris Stevens second-in-command doesn't hold back
By Alistair Gardiner | June 26, 2017 08:00AM

Bess Freedman doesn’t shy away from speaking her mind. The Brown Harris Stevens executive, second-in-command at the firm, spoke with The Real Deal just days after Christie’s abruptly ended its 22-year affiliation with BHS. When asked about it, Freedman didn’t hold back.

“I think that was a little underhanded,” Freedman told TRD’s Hiten Samtani of the Christie’s breakup. “You have a relationship with someone for 22 years, I think you owe them a little bit more than that. We were not so surprised that they’re opening up [a brokerage], but the delivery and the way it was handled was a real slap in the face.”

The residential brokerage industry is in a period of flux, with venture capital shaking up traditional ways of doing business and platforms like StreetEasy looking to monetize their clout with consumers. Freedman dished on StreetEasy’s controversial Premier Agent feature, explaining BHS’ decision to not support the feature even though several of its biggest rivals have caved in.

“The Premier Agent feature does not do a good service for the consumer, for the buyer, for the seller,” Freedman said. “There’s zero vetting process, you know? If you can pay, you get to play… you don’t know who you’re getting. The agent could be from Ohio, which has happened!”

Freedman discussed her involvement with REBNY’s attempts to launch an MLS, her previous career as a lawyer, and even President Trump’s impact on the luxury market. She discussed the evolution of the BHS brand, and the pros and cons of noncompete agreements.

Watch the video above to see the conversation in full.

Produced by Alistair Gardiner and Kerry Barger. Interview conducted by Hiten Samtani

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