NAR president’s post-verdict message: Be transparent, trust appeals
Tracy Kasper addressed Realtors in a video post, offering specific advice for working with buyers and sellers, and a look ahead to other legal actions.
National Association of Realtors president Tracy Kasper struck an optimistic tone in a message to Realtors navigating the uncertain landscape in light of a $1.8 billion verdict against the industry in the Sitzer/Burnett trial last week.
"I know a lot of people are wondering what all of this means for our business and how we serve our clients, and I understand your feelings," said Kasper, who is also a broker-owner. "At this point we don't have all the answers about how the future will play out."
But she offered some advice, some thanks, and some insight into what could be coming next:
What NAR is doing: "We are in the midst of a very complex legal situation, and we are working around the clock to evaluate the situation and get the very best advice about a path forward." NAR, along with remaining defendants Keller Williams and HomeServices of America, has brought high-powered attorneys on board to support the appeals process.
What real estate agents should be doing: "As always, it is critical to maximize transparency with your clients about their choices and your terms. Use your agreements with your buyers and your sellers to help them understand exactly what services and value you're going to provide to them."
Specifically, that means:
Transparency: "Continue to express that commissions are negotiable. Explain clearly how you get paid and what you are charging."
Helping buyers understand their options: "This includes paying for your services directly, plus options to obtain some or all of that fee through other means, such as offers of compensation from a listing broker, all of which would be specified in your buyer representation agreement."
Setting expectations for sellers: Make sure sellers understand "their 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."
"I also encourage everyone to express the incredible value that we as real estate agents who are Realtors bring as we guide our consumers through the financial, legal and community complexities of buying and selling a home," said Kasper.
What other legal proceedings may be looming: The plaintiffs in the Sitzer/Burnett case "may ask the court to issue an order that changes the rules about cooperative compensation," Kasper said. "There are other legal actions pending, and we may see additional plaintiffs come forward to make similar allegations in new cases."
NAR's commitment to appeal, and to the system as we know it today: "The verdict runs contrary to what we all know about the value we bring not only to our clients but to the functioning of a buyer-seller real estate market more generally. As we have said previously, this is one chapter in a very long legal process. We plan to appeal the verdict."
"We will continue to make a difference for our clients, for our families and for our communities."