Major news in the residential real estate market

The real estate industry has experienced a monumental shift due to a recent settlement involving the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and allegations of anticompetitive practices that inflated commission rates. This settlement is poised to reshape how commissions are handled in real estate transactions, potentially lowering costs for buyers and sellers and introducing a new era of competition among agents.

Key Points of the Settlement

  • The long-standing norm of a 6% commission in home transactions has been challenged, leading to the elimination of fixed commission rates. This change is expected to significantly reduce the cost of buying and selling homes by allowing for more flexible and competitive commission structures​​​​.
  • A major outcome of the settlement is the requirement for buyers' brokers to establish written agreements with their clients, detailing that commissions are fully negotiable and not mandated by law. This move aims to encourage transparency and empower consumers to negotiate better deals​​.
  • The settlement also includes a $1.78 billion damages award, which underlines the severity of the issue and sets a precedent for accountability in the industry. This amount could be tripled under U.S. antitrust law, reflecting the significant impact of the alleged anticompetitive practices​​.
  • Brokerage giants Anywhere and RE/MAX have agreed to significant policy changes as part of their settlement agreements, including removing the requirement for NAR membership and clarifying that commissions are negotiable. These changes mark a substantial shift in the operational norms of real estate transactions, aiming to foster a more competitive and fair marketplace​​.

Implications for Buyers and Real Estate Home Attorneys

From the perspective of a real estate home attorney, these developments introduce a new landscape that requires both buyers and attorneys to be more vigilant and informed about the negotiation process. Here are several key considerations:

  1. Increased Negotiation Power: Buyers now have more leverage to negotiate commission rates with their agents. It's crucial for buyers to understand this power and for attorneys to guide them in negotiating more favorable terms.
  2. Transparency and Disclosure: The requirement for written agreements emphasizing the negotiability of commissions promotes transparency. Buyers should seek comprehensive explanations of these agreements, and attorneys can play a critical role in ensuring their clients fully understand the terms.
  3. Exploring New Business Models: The settlement paves the way for alternative real estate transaction models, such as flat-fee and discount brokerages. Buyers and their attorneys should explore these options to find the most cost-effective and suitable services for their needs.
  4. Understanding Market Dynamics: The anticipated decrease in commission rates may impact the real estate market's dynamics, including how properties are listed and marketed. Attorneys should keep abreast of these changes to advise their clients accurately.


This settlement represents a significant shift towards more competitive and consumer-friendly practices within the real estate industry. For buyers, it's an opportunity to benefit from lower costs and greater flexibility in real estate transactions. Real estate home attorneys will play a pivotal role in navigating these changes, ensuring that their clients' rights are protected and that they are well-informed about the new norms of buying and selling property.