Where Real Estate Gets Its Dirt

Vendor Alley reader has unique solution to compensation disclosure on MLS systems

“I think I’ve figured out the solution. From now on, the last three digits in the list price represent the basis points the seller is willing to offer a buyer’s agent. $595,250 = 2.5%. It’s elastic from 0% to 9.99% and legal proof. Is the DOJ going to crack down on how sellers price their property? 🤯”

Vendor Alley Reader

The reader only wished to be identified as a “strikingly handsome and incredibly intelligent industry expert.”

Another miss

Anybody else getting a ton of calls/texts/forwards from your “non-real estate” friends about the NAR settlement? My friends are saying that a lot of their social media feeds are crazy with anti-REALTOR messages. Mostly in their social media feeds, with a ton of memes and “quick takes”. I think all of us are still digesting these changes but in the end as Redfin CEO, Glenn Kelman wrote in a recent blog post (NAR Settlement: Kaboom!) “…perception is reality…”

“Even if the letter of the settlement allows for cooperation, how the settlement is perceived may still re-shape agent attitudes about cooperation, and consumer attitudes about fees. The result could be that agent-to-agent cooperation on fees is weakened but not killed. “

Glenn Kelman, Redfin

I want to say upfront that I think NAR did a tremendous job on the settlement for their membership. But, and I may be beating a dead horse here, this feels like another miss in messaging/marketing from NAR. Based on what I’ve seen on Twitter and elsewhere NAR took everyone by surprise, even at their own event, AEI.

How about pumping the brakes a bit? Create some good content that puts a positive spin on things. Give all those assets to share with your local MLS and associations (so they can pass it on) and mirror that with some sort of nationwide “we hear you” campaign.

But releasing the news when all of their association leadership was offsite? Plus, has anyone seen anyone from NAR in the national news?


Back to basics

Defining and Communicating the Value of the Multiple Listing Service

“In light of this uncertain, ever-changing environment, a casual observer might ask, “What is the existential value of an MLS?” The truth is, the MLS has provided an abundance of value over the past century that explains its broad appeal and its continued relevance.

Being able to succinctly communicate the many benefits of the MLS in a modern environment—with historical context, and even from an international perspective—is critical for brokers and MLS leaders to ensure that transparent, liquid marketplaces continue to serve their communities. In fact, any professional who’s involved in the real estate profession should be prepared to describe the value of the MLS.

Sam DeBord

A good reminder.

Looks like non “association owned” MLS orgs are still on the hook

Still running through the docs. One reader tipped me off to this nugget; Check out #8 of NAR FAQ on the settlement:

“8. How does the settlement affect MLSs?

• The agreement would release association-owned MLSs from liability for the types of claims brought in these cases on behalf of home sellers related to broker commissions.

• While the release excludes MLSs that are not wholly owned by REALTOR® associations, the agreement provides a mechanism for those MLSs to obtain releases efficiently if they choose to use it…”


Shades of CIVIX?

NAR settles….

Powerful Realtor Group Agrees to Slash Commissions to Settle Lawsuits

“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.”

Debra Kamin, New York Times

Story is developing. I’ll try and get more details.

REACH Australia adds nine new companies.

REACH Australia and New Zealand Unveils 2024 Scale-up Program with 9 Dynamic Companies

“We are honored to have the opportunity to work with more exciting property technology startups,” said Peter Schravemade, managing partner, REACH Australia and New Zealand. “These nine companies represent the largest number of companies taken on in a calendar year for the REACH Australia and New Zealand program. Regardless of your area of specialization, there is significant value within this group.”

NAR, National Association of REALTORS

Interesting mix of companies. If website design and illustrations were any indicator of company success then Milk Chocolate would get my vote.

KW settles for $70M

Keller Williams settles Sitzer, Moehrl commission suits for $70M

“If approved by the court, the settlement means Keller Williams will pay substantially less than it could have to resolve Sitzer | Burnett. On Oct. 31, in a historic verdict, a jury found that Keller Williams, RE/MAX, Anywhere, the National Association of Realtors, HomeServices of America and two of its subsidiaries, BHH Affiliates and HSF Affiliates, conspired to inflate broker commission rates paid by homesellers. The jury awarded $1.78 billion in damages to a class of approximately 500,000 Missouri homeowners. If that award stands, it would be trebled by law to more than $5.3 billion.

The deals leave NAR, HomeServices of America and two of its subsidiaries, BHH Affiliates and HSF Affiliates, as the remaining defendants in the case.”


I’ve been thinking about this for the last week and a couple things stand out. I guess you could say it was shrewd of KW to see if the case was won before settling (interesting to think of NAR and BHH/HSF through that lens). Hard to say if the settlement would have been lower if they had settled earlier. But $70M feels about right. BHH/HSF are probably talking longer due to their corporate structure.

That would leave NAR standing alone. People who would know tell me that their case for appeal is pretty strong based on upon the documents being filed by NAR. That may be true, but the genie is out of the bottle. More and more of people I meet and hear I’m “in real estate” ask me about being “over-charged” for commissions. I still think settling (and sooner than later) is the right move.

Industry Relations Podcast: NAR Conference Recap and Zombies

Join Rob and Greg on this episode of Industry Relations, as they recap the NAR NXT annual conference and explore some critical issues. Greg shares what NAR NXT’s atmosphere was like, and find out why Rob is worried about independent press commenting on NAR. 

Also, discover the reasoning behind Rob and Greg’s beliefs that the real estate industry is way past prepping and the zombies are breaching the wall!

Watch us on YouTube!

Connect with Rob and Greg: 

Rob’s Website

Greg’s Website

Our Sponsors: 

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This podcast is produced by Two Brothers Creative 2023.

See you tonight!

Looking forward to seeing many of you for our NAR NXT Pre-Party/GEM Soiree tonight.

The fun begins at 5PM!

711 W. 17th St.
Unit J6
Costa Mesa, CA 92646

Hit me up on my phone if you have any questions: 714-240-3895

Batton down the hatches

Mother of all commission suits filed in Illinois, this time by homebuyers

“The scope of Batton 2 is exponentially larger than Gibson, Sitzer | Burnett, or another, similar case, Moehrl. Both Batton 1 (formerly, Leeder) and Batton 2 seek class certification on behalf of two proposed classes:

  • a “Nationwide Class” made up of “All persons who, since December 1, 1996 through the present, purchased in the United States residential real estate that was listed on an NAR MLS.” For this class, the plaintiffs are asking for injunctive relief, meaning either a court-ordered prohibition or a requirement on the defendants’ behavior.
  • a “Damages Class” made up of “All persons who, since December 1, 1996 through the present, purchased in the Indirect Purchaser States residential real estate that was listed on an NAR MLS.” For this class, the plaintiffs are asking for damages under “antitrust, unfair competition, consumer protection, and unjust enrichment laws.”
Andrea Brambila via Inman News

This is why I drink.

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