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NAR President Responds to Trial Verdict Questions

Tracy Kasper calls the ruling “disappointing, (but) just one chapter in a longer legal process.” She answers some key questions, including: How does this affect my business?

CHICAGO – National Association of Realtors® (NAR) President Tracy Kasper released a series of Q&As based on questions NAR has been receiving since the verdict in the Burnett v. NAR et al case.

“As disappointed as I know we all are by the immediate outcome, this is just one chapter in a longer legal process as we plan to appeal the verdict,” Kasper says. “While we don’t have all the answers about how this will continue to play out, know that we are working around the clock to evaluate the situation and get the best advice about the path forward.”

Kasper says she’s “following up with some additional high-level guidance to help you communicate about the verdict.” And she encourages “everyone to keep sharing with your clients and communities the value you as Realtors® provide to your clients day in and day out. I have seen a number of these personal reflections in recent days, and they are so impactful and inspiring. Keep them coming, everyone.”

Burnett v. NAR et al case questions and answers

What does this mean for me and my business?

  1. We all should continue to express that commissions are negotiable and set between a broker and their client.
  2. As always, it is critical to maximize transparency with your clients about their choices and your terms.
  3. Continue to use your listing and buyer agreements to help them understand 1) exactly what services and value you are providing and 2) how much you charge:
    • For buyers, this includes options for offers of compensation from a listing broker or paying for your services directly or a combination.
    • For sellers, this includes options to allow offers of compensation to be made by their listing broker to a buyer’s broker, and if so, how much and under what terms.

 What should I tell my clients who ask me about the verdict or lawsuits?

  • The National Association of Realtors believes that the jury reached an outcome that is neither supported by the law nor the facts presented in the case and plans to appeal.
  • The trial had to do with a very pro-consumer rule for local MLS broker marketplaces where listing brokers make offers of compensation to buyer brokers who identify someone who wants to buy the sellers’ home.
  • Those offers can be any amount, can vary over time, are based on things like service and the market, and are negotiable. Neither the buyer nor seller broker gets paid until the home sale and purchase close based on what the seller and buyer have agreed to in writing.
  • The offer of compensation practice ensures efficient, transparent and accessible marketplaces where sellers can sell their home for more and have their home seen by more buyers while buyers have more choices of homes and can afford representation.
  • Plaintiffs have said wealthy people could still afford representation without the practice, but that hardly seems fair. The National Association of Realtors is going to continue to advocate for this pro-consumer practice and, as noted, plans to appeal the jury’s verdict.
  • Know that agents who are Realtors will still, and always be, there for clients to guide them through the financial, legal and community complexities of buying and selling a home.
  • The verdict doesn’t change the many choices buyers and sellers have when deciding whether to hire a real estate agent who is a Realtor. Compensation will continue to be negotiable and set between a broker and their respective client, as it always has been.

 What can I do to help?

  1. It’s so important that, as real estate agents who are Realtors, we continue to demonstrate the real value we bring as we guide consumers through the financial, legal and community complexities of buying and selling a home.
  2. There are so many great resources at the Realtors as Champions section of the website, including infographics you can reference, post and share:

Other resources

Source: National Association of Realtors® (NAR)

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