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Brokerages, MLSs not covered under NAR deal face 60-day deadline 

Sitzer/Burnett plaintiffs filed preliminary approval docs on Friday, triggering a countdown to opt in to the agreement process outlined by NAR and the courts.

April 22, 2024
2 minutes

The clock is now ticking for brokerages and Multiple Listing Services not covered by the NAR settlement to reach their own agreements with home sellers.

Late Friday evening, April 19, the plaintiffs in the Sitzer/Burnett case filed documents for preliminary approval of their $418 million settlement with the National Association of Realtors.

The motion for preliminary approval triggers a 60-day deadline for non-covered parties — including 90-plus brokerages that had more than $2 billion in annual transaction volume in recent years and 30 MLSs not wholly owned by Realtor associations — to take action. Those entities will now have until June 18 to pay the opt-in amount or reach their own agreement with the plaintiffs.

"The Settlement was the product of a half-decade litigation and extensive negotiations. The Settlement was informed by weighing the substantial monetary, practice change, and cooperation relief against the risks, cost, and delay of further litigation (including appeals), as well as limitations on NAR's ability to pay the full amount of any trial judgment entered against it," the April 19 court documents stated.

Along with requesting preliminary approval, the Missouri home sellers asked the judge to certify a nationwide settlement class, appoint the plaintiffs as settlement class representatives and order notices be sent to those who might qualify.

Final approval of the settlement is expected sometime this fall.

What this means for big brokerages: Along with abiding by rule changes regarding buyer compensation, brokerage firms not covered under the March 15 agreement will be on the hook for damages equal to .0025 multiplied by their average annual total transaction volume over the most recent four calendar years — an amount that could be in the tens of millions or more for some companies.

At least two brokerages, Compass and Real Brokerage, have reached settlement agreements with the home sellers since the NAR deal was announced. Anywhere Real Estate and RE/MAX reached agreements prior to the Sitzer/Burnett trial, and Keller Williams settled after the verdict.

What this means for MLSs: Non-Realtor Multiple Listing Services would owe a dollar amount equal to 100 multiplied by the number of subscribers the MLS had in 2023, based on the subscriber count listed in T3 Sixty's 2023 Real Estate Almanac. For the largest MLSs, the amount owed could be around $5 million. 

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