The Battle Against Broker Fees

By: Anneken Tappe · October 26, 2023 · Reading Time: 2 minutes

NAR’s Antitrust Suit

The way Americans buy and sell homes is on trial. And a guilty verdict could be good news, unless you’re a broker.

The National Association of Realtors, or NAR, faces two class-action antitrust lawsuits. One of them, centered around broker fees — specifically, the seller’s payment to the buyer’s agent — has already gone to trial in Kansas City.

Breaking Down Broker’s Fees

The NAR, which agents must join to access real estate databases, requires that sellers pay a fee when selling their home. This fee, typically in the mid to high single digit percentages, is split between the seller’s and buyer’s agents. On a home worth $500,000, that cash would be enough to buy a new car.

In the past year, the broker’s role has gotten significantly diminished thanks to online real estate marketplaces. But homesellers are still on the hook for the fee.

Opening Statements

The plaintiffs argue the broker fee system is designed to keep home prices elevated.

On the flip side, the NAR maintains changing the rules would put homebuyers’ access to homes and the stability of the housing market at risk. The trial is projected to end early in November.

Read more reporting here .

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