National Association of Realtors logo and Department of Justice seal with office buildings
Illustration by Lanette Behiry/Real Estate News; Shutterstock

3 top takeaways from NAR’s meeting with the DOJ 

The Department of Justice is keeping a sharp eye on the industry as the August 17 deadline for settlement-mandated practice changes draws closer.

June 29, 2024
2 minutes

The National Association of Realtors on Friday shared a warning to members looking for "loopholes" or "work arounds" to its commissions lawsuit settlement agreement: The Department of Justice is watching.

And "the DOJ seems particularly focused on whether form agreements are tools for that," NAR President Kevin Sears said to members in an update posted Friday in the Realtor Hub, an online forum for its members.

NAR leadership and Gary Acosta, president of the National Association Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, met with the DOJ Antitrust division this week — "a big step in our process to have meaningful dialogue," Sears said.

Sears shared these top takeaways to remember as the industry moves toward the August 17 deadline for removing offers of compensation from the MLS and getting written agreements before working with would-be buyers.

Make sure forms put consumers first. "The settlement empowers buyers and brokers to negotiate and mutually agree to services and compensation that work for them," Sears said. "Realtors should work with consumers to ensure they fully understand the options available to them while continuing to seek fair compensation for their services," Sears said, sharing tips for crafting clear, transparent buyer agreements.

Don't try anything fishy. "NAR — and I personally — oppose any attempts to circumvent the settlement," Sears said. And the DOJ is watching. "The practice changes should be implemented fully and in good faith, in the service of promoting consumer empowerment, consumer choice, and healthy competition." The association's FAQ has more information.

The DOJ isn't done. Sears called the recent meeting with the DOJ "an important step forward" but added that "we expect the DOJ to continue making inquiries into industry practices," as they have done with the California Association of Realtors

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