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Opt-in day is here — who’s in? 

Connecticut’s SmartMLS reluctantly decides to join the NAR settlement. Other MLSs and brokerages have until the end of the day to opt in.

Updated June 20, 2024
3 minutes

It's expected to be a busy day as around 90 brokerages and 30 multiple listing services decide whether to opt in to the $418 million NAR settlement.

The first announcement today came from Connecticut's SmartMLS, an organization with more than 20,000 subscribers, which said it was opting in — but with some reluctance. In a news release, the MLS said that while it was not a part of the Sitzer/Burnett litigation and had no opportunity to negotiate terms, its board "concluded that opting in to the Burnett settlement is necessary to minimize disruptions to sellers and buyers."

At the same time, SmartMLS expressed concern that the settlement could have unintended consequences, specifically, it might undermine years of efforts by lawmakers to promote transparency and fairness in the housing market. The organization said it plans to monitor the impact of the changes to determine whether it will harm historically disadvantaged communities.

"A robust, transparent, and universally adopted MLS is critical to providing real time market insights to sellers and homebuyers alike," said SmartMLS President Michael Barbaro. 

"As Connecticut's residential real estate industry navigates this period of change, SmartMLS is committed to preserving and protecting the open marketplace in the interest of the consumers it serves," he added.

As a Realtor-owned MLS, the organization did not have to pay into the settlement fund, but in order to be protected by the settlement, was still required to officially opt in.

On Monday, NAR posted a reminder about the deadline, emphasizing that opting in would ensure MLSs and brokerages not covered by the March settlement would be released from liability in the sell-side commissions cases.

What it means to opt in: For MLSs owned by Realtor associations, opting in means agreeing to the terms of the NAR settlement and removing offers of compensation from their platforms. Non-Realtor MLSs that opt in must also agree to those terms — and pay damages equal to 100 multiplied by their number of subscribers in 2023.

Brokerages with an annual sales volume of more than $2 billion are not covered by the NAR deal, and if they choose to opt in, they must agree to change their commissions practices and pay an amount equal to .0025 multiplied by their average annual transaction volume over the last four calendar years. 

A brokerage that averaged $2 billion, for example, would have to pay $5 million into the settlement account. 

This story will be updated if more announcements are made June 18.

These are the settlements or decisions that were announced prior to June 18:

Finalized, but under appeal:

  • Anywhere Real Estate: $83.5 million

  • Keller Williams: $70 million

  • RE/MAX: $55 million

Recently announced or preliminarily approved:

  • National Association of Realtors: $418 million

  • HomeServices of America: $250 million

  • Compass: $57.5 million

  • Real Brokerage: $9.25 million

  • Realty ONE: Damage total not announced yet

  • @properties: Damage total not announced yet

  • Douglas Elliman: Up to $17.75 million

  • Redfin: $9.25 million

Not planning to opt in to settlement:

Correction: An earlier version of this story indicated that SmartMLS would need to pay roughly $2 million into the settlement fund, based on their subscriber numbers. As a Realtor-owned MLS, the organization will not have to pay into the fund.

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