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Nelbee – find the property and schedule a broker in real time

Seems a simple task, right?

nelbeeWhile the rest of the the U.S. innovates it’s often perceived archaic ways of marketing real estate, New York’s property listings are still typically buried within the listing broker’s walled garden. Segmented and segregated, consumers are left with jumping from broker to broker and site to site to see properties until the ideal price, location, and unit is found, opening a door to startups seeking to make efficient what is currently viewed as a monopoly in disarray.

Whether disarray of a monopoly is fact or fiction, the idea of transparency in the New York property market is still a new and troubling concept. Some brokers are at least attempting to share listings and data with aggregating sites, although the notion of cooperation is still considered an illusion with dual agency seen as the primary motivation to slow adoption of new ideas and concepts by the traditional real estate space in New York.

Choice coming to New York real estate

Enter Nelbee, a New York based startup that seeks to schedule available brokers to view available properties in real time, giving consumers access to downloadable documents, choice in brokers, along with property information. Nelbee seeks to reward a right now available broker/agent or owner with a right now buyer or renter in a one stop solution, thus organizing and enhancing the consumer experience while adding choice to the mix. The 2009 concept has already won an award as Nelbee was announced a regional winner for New York state in FundingPost’s Pitching Across America contest—the largest nationwide venture capital contest of its kind making Nelbee even more notable.

Graduating from law school this summer, business partners and friends Michael McGrath and Edward Valentini seek to launch Nelbee to the New York City property market adding a real time reality to New York real estate.

Nelbee is still in development, however a working prototype is available as the two work towards their bar exam this summer when they intend to launch Nelbee. Nelbee is keeping future plans pretty close to the vest, but making Nelbee mobile is high on the priority list as well as plans for expansion into other U.S. markets.

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Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network. Before AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation has received the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular offline events. He does not venture into the spotlight often, rather he believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits and develops, so he gives all credit to those he's empowered.



  1. Fred Romano

    April 12, 2010 at 11:00 pm

    Interesting Benn, but I think it will make no difference in NYC. Those brokers keep a tight leash on the market… why do you think they do not have an MLS there? Because they want to force everyone to go through them. It’s a total monopoly.

  2. Benn Rosales

    April 12, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    It’s pretty tight, but the boiler plate has already been pierced- only time or the FTC will tell…

  3. Ryan Connor

    April 13, 2010 at 9:01 am

    The whole world is becoming more transparent and its about time real estate joined the party. The current real estate transaction model is painful and outdated. Anything that can expedite the process is a welcome to sellers and buyers. Only brokers and agents with their monopolistic attitudes and egos will fight against the change but it is coming. People are demanding it.

  4. Malcolm,

    April 13, 2010 at 10:26 am

    I suppose it’s an interesting idea, but the recent adoption of VOWs (which have their own problems) suggests that you likely are too late.

  5. Mike McGrath

    April 13, 2010 at 11:14 am

    Since the web, buyers look at twice as many properties in 1/3 the time before purchasing, but the average real estate agent takes 70 hours to respond to a web request and their #1 complaint nationwide is still bad follow up.
    Nelbee is not for all agents – only the worker bees willing to compete in real-time and in turn receive ready, willing, and able buyers and renters from our hive.
    Simply put: 10 years from now do you think we will be calling agents or offices for appointments? Filling out forms? Having to work around an agents schedule? Its a complete no brainer, OpenTable is to restaurant appointments as Nelbee will be to real estate appointments.
    Fast moving, competitive markets create efficiency. Maximum exposure = maximum price sold. Sellers will demand our service once our thesis is proven.
    Stay tuned for some key competitive advantages we are going to unleash!

  6. Fred Romano

    April 13, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    Mike, as it is, buyers have very little loyalty to agents, they just use and abuse agents. I think you will be hard-pressed finding agents willing to be part of your program, drop everything on a dime to show a home, then never hear from the buyer again. I certainly wouldn’t do it.

    I really think agents need to work harder to strengthen their relationship with the buyer, build that trust, build a relationship, so they keep calling on them to view homes. I know the days of “finding” homes for buyers are almost gone, with so much info available online, so it’s more about the customer service aspect of it.

    If you think agents are just going to be on “stand by” waiting for your lead, I think you might be disappointed. We do have lives and buyers that expect us to “jump” into action are not the kind of buyers that will be loyal anyway.

    • Mike McGrath

      April 13, 2010 at 3:27 pm

      That is why the buyers are confirmed and verified. Most of the time its not dropping on a dime, if I’m at work now and can see a place at 7:30 I make the appointment, its checked against available agents, and I choose who.
      Of course you have a life – that is why you enter your showing availabilities and it checks against it. If you work M-F 9-6 the system would never give you anything but etc
      This frees the agent up to be better at customer service and not do administrative tasks.
      I was a NYC broker for 8 years – loyalty is earned, and you don’t get it by saying your buyers “use and abuse agents.”

    • Benn Rosales

      April 13, 2010 at 3:44 pm

      It’s funny, we’ve seen this movie and how it turns out across the country and the reality is if consumers want it, it’ll happen. Ultimately, it’s demand that moves industry, not the other way around. We had this same debate against the flat fee tiered models too, Fred, but as I said, consumers ultimately decide. If agents don’t want to participate, but consumers are there, who’s really losing? The model can adapt to exclude as fast as it can include – look at Redfin?

  7. RealEstateCafe

    April 13, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    “…dual agency seen as the primary motivation to slow adoption of new ideas and concepts by the traditional real estate space in New York.”

    How will Nelbee impact dual agency? From the home buyer’s perspective, will Nelbee increase agency options OR in-house sales? My guess is that the emphasis on speed, rather than informed consent, will mean that few buyers stop long enough to consider the financial / fiduciary implications of agency relationships.

    • Mike McGrath

      April 13, 2010 at 6:14 pm

      We e-sign and explain on a state by state basis the disclosures are before showing. Everyone has a right to choose upfront what they get: buyers, sellers, and agents. I never saw anyone act as a dual agent in a contractual fiduciary capacity. NYC is almost completely seller’s agents.

  8. LMN

    April 16, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    Looks great, cant wait to see the site launched.

  9. Drew Knapp

    August 14, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    Looks very interesting – we would be interested to add nelbee schedulers to our real estate listings & help with distribution.

  10. Ruthmarie Hicks

    January 14, 2011 at 2:03 am

    Frankly, This looks very much like just another middle man trying to get a slice of the pie. Not impressed. Also, showings have to be planned. Generally I’m working with several clients at once so I am not available to show listings at the drop of a hat. My availability varies from day-to-day depending on client needs. Also, I have found through experience that the client that can’t accommodate (within reason) the agent’s schedule is a client that will turn on a dime and use several agents to get them into homes when they want. They rarely, if ever, stay loyal so they rarely if ever pull the trigger with me as the agent. So why would I do this?

  11. Ruthmarie Hicks

    January 24, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    Has anyone seen the YouTube video Nelbee just put out. I think its pretty clear that they have no idea what they are doing and are playing on every cliche in the book. Apparently this video – according to my email is only going to be up for 24 hours. It’s insulting to agents. Absolutely insulting. I don’t know how I got on the mailing list – but I left a blistering comment on YouTube.

    Here is the link to the YouTube video….

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