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‘We remain vigilant’ KW says as it unpacks NAR settlement 

From buyer agreements to non-MLS places where cooperative compensation can appear, here’s what Keller Williams is telling leaders and agents about the deal.

March 18, 2024
2 minutes

Keller Williams kicked off this week with calls and an email to all of its U.S.-based leaders and agents, providing its perspective on NAR's blockbuster commissions settlement.

First things first: The deal still must be approved by a judge before it can take effect. And it does not take the place of KW's earlier settlement, which also still requires court approval.

"We remain vigilant in pursuing final approval of KW's settlement to ensure all of you and your businesses are protected," KW said in its March 18 email.

Here are other top takeaways:

When buyer representation agreements are required: Agents working with buyers must have a signed buyer representation agreement in place before that agent can show a home. However, KW also points out that this rule applies only to "agents showing houses that are on MLSs."

What buyer agreements need to say about agent compensation: The agreements need to include the amount of compensation the agent will get "and how this amount will be determined."

Agent compensation needs to be a set percentage or dollar amount and cannot be open-ended. "For example, the agreement cannot say, 'buyer broker compensation shall be whatever amount the seller is offering to the buyer.' "

Agents cannot accept more money than what is laid out in the buyer representation agreement.

Cooperative compensation isn't going away, but it's moving off of the MLS: "Nothing in NAR's settlement prohibits sellers or listing agents from making offers of cooperative compensation to buyer agents off the MLS (e.g., by email, newsletter, calls, texts, etc. Be aware that all communications must always be TCPA compliant.)"

So where will cooperative compensation offers appear? According to the KW email, "the settlement allows brokers and their agents to publish seller-approved cooperative compensation offers for their own listings (but not other brokers' listings) on their own websites."

What's next? More education, KW says, and ideally more business. "Over the next 30 days, we will be working to document best practices and updates to our models and systems to help each of you thrive in this evolving real estate environment."

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