A jury has found the National Association of Realtors (NAR), Home Services of America, Berkshire Hathaway and Keller Williams guilty of colluding to inflate or maintain high commission rates.
The verdict handed down on OCT 31, could result in drastic changes across the entire real estate marketplace.
The lawsuits are connected to a NAR policy that force listing brokers to provide compensation to buyers’ agents. Plaintiffs argue the policy violates antitrust laws and leads to inflated costs.
Home sellers (plaintiffs) contend that despite defendants having antitrust regulations in place, both the NAR trade group and corporate brokerages disregarded their own rules in order to uphold higher commission rates.
The class action antitrust lawsuit included RE/MAX and Anywhere as defendants. Both have reached out of court settlements. Anywhere is a franchisor that owns national brands like Coldwell Banker Realty, Corcoran and Sotheby’s International Realty.
Plaintiffs argued that NAR, National Association of Realtors, Keller Williams and Home Services of America conspired to keep and enforce the cooperative compensation rule, which in turn led to inflated fees for home sellers.
New York Times: Real estate brokerages, including Coldwell Banker, Century 21 Real Estate, Sotheby’s International Realty and Re/Max, are severing their allegiance to NAR, the National Association of Realtors, a powerful trade organization.
Re/Max and Anywhere Real Estate, the world’s largest real estate brokerage franchiser, with brands including Century 21 Real Estate, Coldwell Banker, the Corcoran Group and Sotheby’s International Real Estate falling under its umbrella — settled those lawsuits last month.
Sexual harassment allegations and class-action antitrust lawsuits have battered NAR’s image and influence.
Home sellers alleged that NAR and others participated in anti-competitive practices. Sellers were forced into a system that pays a commission, which is then split between buyer and seller agents.
This practice allegedly leads to inflated fees that hover around 6% of the selling price.
Brokerages Quit Powerful Realtor Group.
Re/Max and Anywhere Real Estate, a brokerage franchiser, will no longer require agents to join the National Association of Realtors.