What a headline! Nowhere in this article does it say that NAR is slashing commissions or that any agents – the people who determine the commissions – have agreed to slash the commissions. The weak, spineless agents who have nothing else to offer will gladly agree to work for less because to them, it beats not working – but consumers suffer when they hire a weak agent.

Nothing will change until consumers realize that the key is to GET GOOD HELP!

There will be only one result from these commission lawsuits. The buyer-agent will be eliminated in the name of ‘saving money’, and home buyers will be forever harmed by not getting any, let alone adequate, representation.

The full NYT article without paywall is HERE.

Nobody from the industry is quoted in the article, and they published the most outrageous quotes they could find.


Housing experts said the deal, and the expected savings for homeowners, could trigger one of the most significant jolts in the U.S. housing market in 100 years. “This will blow up the market and would force a new business model,” said Norm Miller, a professor emeritus of real estate at the University of San Diego.

The lawsuits argued that N.A.R., and brokerages who required their agents to be members of N.A.R., had violated antitrust laws by mandating that the seller’s agent make an offer of payment to the buyer’s agent, and setting rules that led to an industrywide standard commission. Without that rate essentially guaranteed, agents will now most likely have to lower their commissions as they compete for business.

Economists estimate that commissions could now be reduced by 30 percent, driving down home prices across the board. The opening of a free market for Realtor compensation could mirror the shake-up that occurred in the travel industry with the emergence of online broker sites such as Expedia and Kayak.

“The forces of competition will be let loose,” said Benjamin Brown, co-chairman of the antitrust practice at Cohen Milstein and one of the lawyers who hammered out the settlement. “You’ll see some new pricing models, and some new and creative ways to provide services to home buyers. It’ll be a really exciting time for the industry.”

Under the settlement, tens of millions of home sellers will likely be eligible to receive a small piece of a consolidated class-action payout.

The legal loss struck a blow to the power wielded by the organization, which has long been considered untouchable, insulated by its influence. Founded in 1908, N.A.R. has more than $1 billion in assets, 1.3 million members and a political action committee that pours millions into the coffers of candidates across the political spectrum.

The antitrust division of the Department of Justice is continuing its investigation of N.A.R.’s practices, including the organization’s oversight of databases for home listings, called multiple listing sites or the M.L.S. The sites are owned and operated by N.A.R.’s local affiliates. For decades, the Justice Department has questioned whether these databases stifle competition and whether some N.A.R. rules foster price-fixing on commissions.

Some experts said the shift on commission structure, and the billions of dollars that would flow into the housing market as a result, could spark a recovery in the housing market, going so far as to say that it could be as significant as the 1930s New Deal, a flurry of legislation and executive orders signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt designed to stabilize and rebuild the nation’s economic recovery following the Great Depression.

“This will be a really fundamental shift in how Americans buy, search for, and purchase and sell their housing. It will absolutely transform the real estate industry,” said Max Besbris, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of “Upsold,” a book exploring the link between housing prices and the real estate business. “It will prompt one of the biggest transformations to the housing market since New Deal-era regulations were put in place.”

Despite N.A.R.’s turbulence over the last several months, however, there was one constant: their insistence that the lawsuits were flawed and they intended to appeal. With Friday’s settlement agreement, N.A.R. gave up the fight.

The settlement includes many significant rule changes. It bans N.A.R. from establishing any sort of rules that would allow a seller’s agent to set compensation for a buyer’s agent, a practice that critics say has long led to “steering,” in which buyers’ agents direct their clients to pricier homes in a bid to collect a bigger commission check.

And on the online databases used to buy and sell homes, the M.L.S., the settlement requires that any fields displaying broker compensation be eliminated entirely. It also places a blanket ban on the longtime requirement that agents subscribe to multiple listing services in the first place in order to offer or accept compensation for their work.

“The reset button on the sale of homes was hit today,” said Michael Ketchmark, the Kansas City lawyer who represented the home sellers in the main lawsuit. “Anyone who owns a home or dreams of owning one will benefit tremendously from this settlement.”

From the NAR President:

NAR has agreed to put in place a new rule prohibiting offers of compensation on the MLS. Offers of compensation could continue to be an option consumers can pursue off-MLS through negotiation and consultation with real estate professionals. And sellers can offer buyer concessions on an MLS (for example—concessions for buyer closing costs). This change will go into effect in mid-July 2024.

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