Hopefully NAR is busy in settlement talks right now, because they just don’t seem to get it, or they have trouble putting it on paper. These are their latest explanations:
However, there might be hope for settling the case:
Regarding the possibility of a settlement in the case, Katie Johnson, NAR’s chief legal officer said, “For NAR, settlement has always been an option.”
If NAR were to settle it would look for two outcomes, according to Johnson:
1. That homebuyers will continue to be able to access and afford buyer representation, and
2. That all liability from the suit’s claims is eliminated for NAR’s members, associations and MLSs.
“Settlements are always an option if we can achieve those objectives,” Johnson said.
Lesley Muchow, the NAR Deputy General Counsel & Vice President of Legal Affairs and Antitrust Compliance also advised agents to stress that commissions are negotiable. In that vein, she urged NAR members to leave compensation fields blank on forms rather than pre-filling them out — a phenomenon multiple plaintiffs emphasized in their testimony during the Sitzer | Burnett trial.
“Those are conversations you need to have with the consumer,” Muchow said.
“There’s no set amount. Sellers can decide and it’s on the Realtor to educate the seller as to why they might want to elect to make an offer of compensation and how that will work to their benefit in the transaction.”
“A Realtor should never suggest to a seller that if they do not make a certain amount of an offer of compensation that other Realtors will steer buyers away from their property,” she added.
Johnson ended by stressing that NAR’s current legal situation represents an opportunity.
“An opportunity to differentiate yourself from others – from your competitors and colleagues in your area – and an opportunity to improve your practices. An opportunity to think creatively and do things differently, using this delta, this point in time, as a launch pad for innovation.”