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A New Chapter in Real Estate: NAR’s Milestone Agreement

Written by Chris Christiansen on Apr. 28th, 2024
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In a significant development for the real estate industry, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently announced a groundbreaking agreement that promises to reshape the landscape of broker commissions and professional standards. On March 15, 2024, NAR unveiled a comprehensive settlement designed to resolve litigation surrounding claims related to broker commissions, marking a pivotal moment for over one million NAR members, state, and local Realtor associations, and industry stakeholders nationwide. 

At the heart of the agreement lies NAR’s steadfast denial of any wrongdoing in connection with the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) cooperative compensation model rule (MLS Model Rule). The settlement, subject to court approval, entails NAR paying $418 million over approximately four years to resolve claims against NAR, its members, state/territorial and local Realtor associations, association-owned MLSs, and qualifying brokerages. Importantly, this resolution upholds the principle of cooperative compensation as a choice for consumers when buying or selling a home. 

It’s crucial to understand that NAR does not dictate commissions; they are entirely negotiable. The rule in question mandates only that listing brokers communicate an offer of compensation, which can be any amount, including zero. This commitment to transparency and flexibility underscores NAR’s dedication to fair and equitable real estate practices. 

In addition to the financial payment, NAR has agreed to implement new MLS rules aimed at enhancing consumer protection and clarity in real estate transactions. One such rule prohibits offers of broker compensation on the MLS, while another mandates written agreements between MLS participants working with buyers and their clients. These changes, effective mid-July 2024, seek to streamline the home-buying process and ensure that consumers are fully informed about the services provided and their associated costs. 

Despite recent misleading headlines, it’s essential to recognize that many states have long incorporated buyer-broker agreements into their standard practices. Realtors in these states have successfully operated their businesses while upholding fiduciary duties and delivering a higher level of professionalism to their clients. For states where this practice is new, there’s an opportunity to learn from their predecessors and embrace a more consumer-centric approach to real estate transactions. This agreement represents a pivotal moment for the real estate industry, signaling a renewed commitment to transparency, fairness, and professionalism. By upholding the integrity of cooperative compensation and enhancing consumer protections, NAR reaffirms its role as a champion for both Realtors and consumers alike. 

As we embark on this new chapter in real estate, let us embrace the principles of transparency, integrity, and consumer choice that lie at the core of NAR’s mission. Together, we can build a stronger, more equitable real estate industry that serves the needs of all stakeholders.

Chris Christiansen

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