everywhere real estateAgreement to Settle Antitrust Lawsuits in Two Class Action Lawsuits Dealing with Buyer Broker Compensation Raises Important Questions About Buyers Agency’s Future and How Other Defendants View Impending Trials are doing.
Of course, the most interesting question is what exactly is included in the settlement agreement, besides the agreement that Anywhere will pay the two companies a total of $83.5 million in damages. Merle and Sitzer/Burnett suit.
Steve Berman, Managing Partner and Co-Founder Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLPThe company, which is representing the plaintiffs in the email litigation, said the settlement includes material changes to Anywhere’s practices with respect to the conduct that we challenged. However, the exact terms of the settlement will not be known until plaintiffs file a motion seeking approval of the settlement agreement. Anywhere declined to comment on the exact terms of the deal.
Meanwhile, co-founder Steve Murray said, Real trend consultingsaid he believes Anywhere’s proposed changes could mark the end of buyer-broker compensation as we know it.
“We’re almost done with cooperation and compensation,” Murray said. “The country’s largest integrated brokerage firm across all brands said, ‘It’s time to exit.’ We are no longer going to defend this lawsuit.” ”
Murray believes there are three possible outcomes of the lawsuit.
“In a worst-case scenario, brokers representing buyers would have to negotiate their own fees with clients, and sellers would be unable to force flat compensation to be listed on the MLS,” Murray said. “The second thing that could happen is that more and more buyers are going directly to a listing agent, but in this case they obviously don’t have a representative. “There will be a whole new class of buyer brokers that charge a flat hourly fee to represent buyers,” Murray said.
For these results, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Drysdale Properties Brokerage owner Gretchen Pearson said he is working with agents to fulfill their buyer agency agreements.
“When an agent submits and reviews a Buyer’s Agency Agreement on my behalf as a broker, that workflow doesn’t exist in our document management system,” Pearson said. “The software we use is not made that way.” So it will affect not only agents but also technology systems, she added.
While the potential impact of the lawsuit on buyer agency and buyer broker compensation looms as the biggest question, Murray also wonders how the settlement agreement will affect Anywhere’s many franchise owners. I’m thinking
“Will plaintiffs now start suing the individual Caldwell Banker franchises?” he argued.
When asked how the deal would affect affiliates, Anywhere highlighted a passage from its initial statement.
“Anywhere has taken an important first step towards a solution that liberates not only the company but also its affiliated agents and franchisees,” the company said.
Murray said he believes this could be the beginning of further settlements with other defendants in the lawsuit.
“They will all be running for settlement now,” Murray said. “I think this is definitely a floodgate moment.”
Ken Trepeta, President wrestlinghas indicated that it may be subject to the terms specified in the settlement agreement and refrains from making any predictions.
“If they solve this problem, if the problem is cleared, if they don’t admit wrongdoing, there is no need to change policy,” he said. The Sitzer/Barnett lawsuit is expected to award up to $4 billion in damages, while the Mail lawsuit is expected to award up to $40 billion in damages.
of National Real Estate Agents Associationthe defendants in both lawsuits say they have not abandoned the fight.
“Settlements are always an option for litigants. , the consumer-facilitated local MLS broker marketplace ensures fairness, efficiency, transparency and market-driven pricing options for home buyers and sellers,” said Mantil Williams, NAR’s vice president of communications. said in an email to Housing Wire.
The NAR noted that the practice of listed brokers paying buyer brokers’ fees saves sellers time and money by allowing more buyer brokers to participate in the local market.
For buyers, the NAR argues that such marketplaces relieve additional closing costs, provide professional representation, and enable more people to own homes.
Keller Williams, RE/MAXand home america serviceThree other defendants in the lawsuit declined to comment.
The Sitzer/Burnett lawsuit is scheduled to go to trial on October 16, 2023, and a trial date for the Mail lawsuit has not yet been set, but is expected to take place in early 2024.
The Mail Lawsuit and the Sitzer/Burnett Lawsuit, originally filed in 2019, seek to: NAR Terms of ParticipationThe law requires the listing agent to present a lump sum compensation to the buyer’s agent in order to list the property on a multi-listing service (MLS) affiliated with a real estate agent. Plaintiffs say the fee burden inflates consumer costs and violates the terms. sherman antitrust law. The NAR argues that the current fee structure, in place for over 100 years, is actually helping consumers.