Realtors Settle With DOJ To Make Broker Fees Clearer

As part of a settlement with the Department of Justice, the National Association of Realtors has agreed to change several of its policies in order to increase competition among brokers and make agent fees clearer to home buyers, reported CNN. 

The Department of Justice filed a civil lawsuit alleging that NAR “put illegal restraints” on the way agents who sell real estate can compete. These practices, according to the complaint, include concealing buyer’s broker commissions, allowing them to misrepresent their services as “free,” enabling them to filter listings based on the commission offered and limiting access to homes for sale solely to brokers who work for a NAR-affiliated listing service.

The DOJ’s Antitrust Division simultaneously filed a proposed settlement that requires NAR to repeal and modify some of its rules. Those changes — including more disclosure around buyer’s broker fees, are expected to increase competition among brokers and lower the fees paid by home buyers. 

If approved, the Justice Department said, the settlement would enhance competition in the real estate market, resulting in more choice and better service for consumers, as well as boost innovation in the industry.

“Buying a home is one of life’s biggest and most important financial decisions,” said assistant attorney general Makan Delrahim of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. “Home buyers and sellers should be aware of all the broker fees they are paying.”

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