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Major homebuilder objects to commissions settlement process 

PulteGroup, which potentially has thousands of claims as a seller, raised concerns about “needless and time-consuming” paperwork and lack of transparency.

April 16, 2024
2 minutes

Traditional home sellers aren't the only ones interested in getting a piece of the commissions settlement pie. Homebuilders are also looking to tap into the settlement award — but one of the country's largest builders isn't happy about the process.

In court documents filed April 12 in the Sitzer/Burnett case, Atlanta-based homebuilder PulteGroup, Inc. objected to the settlement proposals for Anywhere, RE/MAX and Keller Williams, citing the onerous paperwork involved for those who paid commissions for more than one home sale and the lack of clarity about the award amount.

Company details: Pulte, which has 31 divisions and active operations in 25 states, closed on more than 29,000 homes in 2022, making it the third-largest homebuilder in the U.S., according to Builder

Since the settlements generally cover a four-year period, Pulte could be eligible for thousands of claims given the likelihood that many of its home sales involved one of the brokerage firms taking part in the settlement.

What Pulte had to say: The company objected to the settlement agreement process, noting that each claim must be manually entered into a form, "a needless and time-consuming complication for a homebuilder that will be downloading this information from computer databases."

The homebuilder has also been unable to find information or a Plan of Allocation document to determine whether it should remain in the settlement class. 

"Pulte has not seen any information about class size, expected claim rate or the claim administrator's evaluations in dividing up settlement funds," the court documents stated. "Pulte cannot be sure that, as a large-scale homebuilder, it will not be disadvantaged in some way in the Plan of Allocation."

Pulte also said it never received direct notice, raising concerns about due process. If a large company, which potentially has thousands of claims, did not receive direct notice, "individual home sellers with many fewer sales likely did not receive notice either," Pulte suggested in the filing.

The company has asked the court to:

  • Defer the opt-out date until 30 days after the class receives notice of a plan of allocation

  • Require the parties to provide an efficient method to submit bulk claims through an electronic spreadsheet

  • Monitor future notices so that class members actually receive them

What's next: U.S. District Court Judge Stephen Bough is currently receiving feedback about the settlements and has scheduled a hearing for May 9 to finalize the agreements.

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