Nykia Wright, CEO, National Association of Realtors
Illustration by Lanette Behiry/Real Estate News

NAR interim CEO ‘sets the record straight’ in new video 

Nykia Wright defended the real estate profession and NAR, saying the association does not set commissions and “never has,” though that phrase was later cut.

Updated February 1, 2024
3 minutes

Key points:

  • Wright took aim at the media, lawyers and others in a video message.
  • In addressing the commissions lawsuits, she emphasized that NAR does not dictate commissions, but softened her statement in a later version of the video.
  • She also told viewers that the internet is no substitute for real estate agents.

The first public video from the National Association of Realtors Interim CEO Nykia Wright was posted online on Jan. 31, only to disappear and then reappear with a brief but significant edit.

In the two-minute video, called "Setting the record straight," Wright defended the organization against media reports and claims of price-fixing in real estate commissions, repeated familiar talking points about the organization's value, and acknowledged rumblings about a new association to replace NAR.

"I want to set the record straight about our industry and the women and men who make it their profession," Wright opened, after introducing herself as the NAR CEO.

"The real estate profession has been vilified by certain plaintiffs' lawyers, sensationalized by a few reporters and misrepresented by people who know little about this business," she continued.

Wright then addressed the issue of NAR setting commissions head-on with a firm, unequivocal denial.

"First, the notion that the National Association of Realtors controls what real estate professionals get paid, is wholly untrue," Wright said. "NAR does not set commissions."

In the original version of the video, she continued: "It never has, and it never will. Period, end of story."

In the edited version, the phrase "It never has" is cut, and a disclaimer was added, stating that while the association used "rate cards" before the Supreme Court ruled against them in the mid-1900s, "the present litigation has nothing to do with those rate cards."

Wright also acknowledged the concept of a replacement for NAR. "There's some talk about a new association," Wright said in the video. "We welcome competition from anyone who can match our impact and deliver the kind of value we bring."

NAR versus... the internet?

The video wraps up with a familiar analogy about online shopping and assurances that the internet cannot replace local real estate agents. Wright also emphasized that buyers and sellers want to use agents because of the value they add.

"The internet can be a tool, but it is not a replacement for the essential services agents or Realtors provide. A real estate transaction is not a simple click and purchase like buying a plane ticket online," she said.

"Most Americans choose to use a real estate professional when buying or selling a home, not because they're required to but because of the help that one provides in navigating the challenges that are a part of the process of buying or selling a home," Wright went on to say. "No amount of scrolling on the internet can replace having a professional by your side during what can be a complex, unfamiliar and lengthy process."

Wright closed by inviting the public to visit NAR's website and engage in a conversation.

"We take pride in the work we do and will continue to help sellers walk away having sold at a competitive price and buyers get the keys to their dream homes."

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