The National Association of Realtors (NAR) and other franchisors are navigating the fallout of a multibillion-dollar verdict handed down recently over agent commissions in Missouri. The case hinged on the commissions, usually of 6%, that sellers pay their agents, who then split them with the buyers’ agents. A jury concluded that the traditional practice where home sellers pay both buyer and seller broker commissions is anti-competitive and artificially inflates home costs.
Under the provisions of the Missouri antitrust law, which allows the court to award treble damages, damages from the case could be tripled to $5.356 billion for the 500,000 home sellers who are part of the class action lawsuit.
Immediately after the verdict, a new national class-action lawsuit was filed against some of the largest names in real estate including Compass, eXp, Redfin Corp, Howard Hanna Real Estate, United Real Estate, Douglas Elliman, and Weichert Realtors. The new lawsuit covers sellers anywhere in the U.S.
As a result of this case, sellers may gain flexibility in determining agent compensations. Further, it might deter agents from showcasing their properties despite the potential for savings if they no longer fund the buyer’s agent’s commission. Even the 6% commission could become a subject of more frequent negotiations or face direct challenges.
If the commission structure is modified, buyers may find themselves directly compensating their agents, which could create a rise in immediate costs. On the other hand, if sellers no longer factor in commissions for buyer’s agents, home listing prices might reduce slightly.
From the perspective of the seller’s broker, as the model evolves, they may need to re-strategize pricing and services to stay ahead in the market. Meanwhile, buyer’s brokers might struggle to demonstrate their value and securing their compensation, particularly if buyers start paying them directly.
For more information on what the implications of this recent case could mean for your business, contact the qualified attorneys at Rock, Fusco & Connelly.