For most New Yorkers, the search for housing is perhaps the least favorite part of the New York experience. If the size is right, the price is wrong; if the price is right, the neighborhood’s wrong. And then there’s that hideous wallpaper in the hallway. In an area as popular and populous as metropolitan New York, finding a unit that meets all your needs is darn near impossible. The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) hopes to change all that.
Founded in 1896, REBNY began as the state’s first real estate trade association, created in response to New York’s 1890s building boom, which was necessitated by the mass influx of people and businesses into the area. Since then, REBNY’s ranks have grown to include not just brokers but owners, builders, managers, banks, insurance companies, pension funds, real estate investment trusts, utilities, attorneys, architects, marketing professionals and other important real estate players.
REBNY’s mission is to promote industry policies to the public and to legislators. The association is governed by a 100-person Board of Governors headed by a chairperson. The membership is divided into six divisions organized by function: The Owners and Builders Division, the Commercial Brokerage Division, the Residential Brokerage Division, the Management Division, the Allied and Associates Division, and the Institutional Owners Division The four largest divisions are governed by their own board of directors.
REBNY’s civic-minded members walk the walk and talk the talk. Members created The REBNY Foundation, a non-profit corporation that enables them to engage in charitable pursuits, such as absorbing the aftereffects of Superstorm Sandy.
“The first thing we did was to work with the city on coming up with a system for reopening buildings,” says REBNY president Steven Spinola. “The city had a meeting with us to talk about what would be necessary for a building to reopen and we gave our input on that. Then we formed a working group and this was the longer term effort to identify what worked and what didn’t work and what things could be done that would permit us to be better equipped to handle another Sandy or another serious hurricane.”