Sitzer/Burnett v NAR

Sitzer/Burnett v NAR

Hey folks, if you've been keeping tabs on the real estate scene lately, you've probably heard about the lawsuits and settlements with the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and some of the largest real estate brokerages in the country. It's got people talking, and there's plenty of speculation floating around about what it could mean for the industry.

So, what's the deal? Well, the crux of the matter revolves around allegations of anti-competitive practices and inflated commissions within NAR. It's a serious issue that's casting a shadow over the credibility of the organization. Whereas there is a lot of misinformation out there, including but certainly not limited to law changes (none) and buyer commissions not allowable (false), my purpose is not to debate or opine specifically on that today. 

Now, amidst all the noise, I have a prevailing notion that this lawsuit could serve as a wake-up call for the real estate world. Some believe it might be the catalyst needed to sift out the less-than-scrupulous agents from those who are genuinely committed to their clients and profession. Let's face it – we've all heard the horror stories. The agents, the “bad apples”, who disappear when you need them most, or who seem more interested in their paycheck than your needs. They're the ones giving the industry a bad rap.

But amidst the uncertainty, there's a glimmer of hope. With increased scrutiny on the industry, there's a chance for the true professionals to stand out. The ones who put in the hard work, stay informed, and prioritize their clients' best interests.

So, what's in it for you, the homebuyer or seller? Well, hopefully a bit more peace of mind. With the potential for greater transparency and accountability, you can feel more confident knowing you're working with someone who's got your back.

As we wait for the approval of the settlement, there is some uncertainty on the complete picture of what the change will look like. But one thing's for certain – change is on the horizon. Whether it's a purge of unprofessional agents or a shift towards a more transparent industry, one thing remains clear: the real estate landscape is evolving and we as real estate professionals have a chance to be the change.

So here's to the professionals who are out there, doing right by their clients day in and day out. And as for the rest? Well, they might want to start reevaluating their approach.


Facts about the Sitzer/Burnett v NAR case settlement:

The settlement is finalized and a new law is in place. FALSE

  • Firstly, there has been no new legislation established from the suit. Parties did however agree to a settlement, but are waiting for the court (likely DOJ blessing too) to sign off on it in the coming months. Regardless of the outcome, NAR is still moving forward with implementing the rule changes included in the settlement in July of 2024: 1) Agent compensations will be prohibited in association-owned MLSs and 2) Buyer agents will be required to enter into Buyer Brokerage Agreements.

Commission limitations have been established: FALSE

  • There has been no law or rule change that limits or standardizes commissions, whether it be a listing or buyers agent. Commissions are based on the value and the services the agent/brokerage delivers and has never been a fixed non-negotiable amount. 

The settlement prohibits Sellers from paying Buyers' agents: FALSE

  • Yes, the MLS did require that there was a compensation offered to buyer agents in order for a property to be added to the MLS, however, $1 was the minimum. This was changed to $0 prior to the settlement. What NAR has changed is that ANY brokerage compensation offerings are prohibited through association owned MLSs.
  • Even though sellers are and have been able to opt-out of paying a buyer agent compensation, they may also choose to consider otherwise in order to differentiate their home. Furthermore, buyers may include contingencies that a seller pays these or other costs as part of the negotiation process. All scenarios to be discussed with the agent.


These are just some of the many comments I have seen and realize there are so many questions left unanswered, so if you have them reach out. 


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