Finance

Realtor Group to Pay $418M, Slash Fees to Settle Lawsuits

A powerful real estate trade association has agreed to pay $418 million and change its rules to settle lawsuits claiming homeowners have been unfairly forced to pay artificially inflated agent commissions when they sold their home.

The National Association of Realtors said Friday that its agents who list a home for sale on a Multiple Listing Service, or MLS, will no longer be allowed to use the service to offer to pay a commission to agents that represent potential homebuyers. The rule change leaves it open for individual home sellers to negotiate such offers with a buyer’s agent outside of the MLS platforms, however.

NAR also agreed to create a rule that would require MLS agents or other participants working with a homebuyer to enter into written agreement with them. The move is meant to ensure that homebuyers know going in what their agent’s service will charge them for their services.

The rule changes, which are set to go into effect in mid-July, represent a major change the way real estate agents operate.

The NAR faced multiple lawsuits over the way agent commissions are set. In October, a federal jury in Missouri found that the NAR and several large real estate brokerages conspired to require that home sellers pay homebuyers’ agent commission in violation of federal antitrust law.

The jury ordered the defendants to pay almost $1.8 billion in damages — and potentially more than $5 billion if the court ended up awarding the plaintiffs treble damages.

The NAR said the settlement covers over one million of its members, its affiliated Multiple Listing Services and all brokerages with a NAR member as a principal that had a residential transaction volume in 2022 of $2 billion or less.

The settlement, which is subject to court approval, does not include real estate agents affiliated with HomeServices of America and its related companies, the NAR said.


Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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