Major real estate brands open option for agents to leave NAR

by Emily Mack

Agents from CENTURY 21, Coldwell Banker, ERA, Sotheby’s International Realty, Corcoran and Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate will have the option to leave the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) pending a new settlement by parent company Anywhere Real Estate.

As part of a separate settlement, RE/MAX will also no longer require agents to be part of the association.

In some markets, though, agents who leave NAR may lose access to their local MLS. Additionally, agents who are not NAR members are not allowed to use the trademark Realtor designation.

Both Anywhere and RE/MAX were plaintiffs in two class-action, anti-trust lawsuits and settled out of court in September for $83.5 million and $55 million, respectively. Then, on Oct. 6, Anywhere revealed the terms of that settlement included making NAR membership optional for agents.

Hours later, RE/MAX followed suit, publicly announcing its own, similar, settlement terms. Both companies are dropping buyers’ commissions requirements, in addition to the NAR requirements, and adding that agents must clearly disclose that commissions are fully negotiable.

Despite the rule change, Anywhere CEO and President Sue Yannaccone emphasized the company’s support for buyers’ agents. “We strongly believe in sellers making offers of compensation to buyers’ agents to bring more eligible buyers to a listing, which increases the likelihood of a successful transaction,” Yannaccone said in a press release.

“We continue to believe in buyer agency, cooperative compensation and the idea that consumers are best served when they are working with real estate professionals,” RE/MAX President and CEO Nick Bailey also said.

The latest news comes just days after Redfin announced its own withdrawal from NAR, citing “a pattern of alleged sexual harassment” at the association plus the group’s fee requirements for buyer agents.

Earlier on Oct. 6, however — before the announcements by Anywhere and RE/MAX — the association said it will begin allowing listing agents to offer a $0 commission to buyer agents, reversing its previous stance on its own Participation Rule.

Meanwhile, NAR remains a defendant in the ongoing anti-trust lawsuits, along with firms like HomeServices of America and Keller Williams. The first case goes to trial Oct. 16.

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