How the Most Popular NYC Search Engine for Real Estate is Riddled with Open and Fake Listings

Streeteasy is the most reliable form of lead generation for brokers and agents and supposedly the most accurate information for buyers and renters. The website only advertises exclusives listings which (Until recently) you can keep up as long as you wanted to.

The advantages of listing on Streeteasy is many, it’s free to post on the website and has thousands of would be clients. Agents routinely advertise on multiple sites, including the NYTimes, Zupmer, Naked Apartments, Renthop, Zillow, Trulia and on and on. But Streeteasy effectiveness on producing the leads surpasses them all with maybe the NY Times coming in second on quality leads.

But dig deeper into listings on the site and you will find fake listings, open listings, FSBO’s advertised as exclusive listings, all of which dilutes the express purpose of maintaining Streeteasy gold standard of listing aggregators.


How does this happen? Well since not every owner and landlord advertises their listings, it’s become a free for all to take advantage of the system. Open listings in the brokerage community are put up with blazing speed with the hopes of snaring a few direct clients before getting a warning from the Streeteasy support team (Which to my knowledge has 1 or 2 people on staff) but that takes days and often an agent can fake an exclusive agreement to appease the SE team. They don’t have time to check every single listing agreement sent to them.


Example of a rental open listing:


There are serial brokers and agents taking advantage of the system, it’s an industry running joke of a few agents constantly posting FSBOs as they’re own, only to be taken down a day or two later then resurface again. Agents have also complained about the site not being updated. This is indicative of how hard the real estate profession truly is and why listings (any listings) on Streeteasy produces leads.

But the effects of fake, ghost, open listings, or whatever you want to call it are felt sitewide, comps for sales and rentals are diluted with inaccurate information, analysis is being distorted by the sheer volume of fake listings. Trends are skewed, pricing and other categories can’t be completely trusted.


Skewed or not?


This is especially true for sales listings, a growing trend in ghost listings are appearing in bigger buildings where its harder to identify what’s truly on the market. Also FSBOs and lingering listings which may have been sold but kept up anyway to attract more buyers and bolster listings on an agents profile.

It’s impossible to police or track every false listing, SE does it’s job to manage it but how many brokers have they really thrown off the site?


Example of a Streeteasy Request for Exclusive Agreement:



Will it become like Craigslist? Probably not. Could it become just another listing aggregator? Well, with the acquisition from Zillow, they’ll be looking to monetize it more and perhaps one day, start letting brokerages feed open listings to the website. For now, if you’re looking to buy or rent, keep an open eye on what you see because everything aint what it seems, especially when it comes to NYC real estate.


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