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How The NAR Settlement Will Affect Homebuyers In 2024

In recent weeks, the real estate industry has been abuzz with discussions surrounding the National Association of Realtors (NAR) lawsuit and its $418 million settlement. This settlement, which goes into effect mid-July, marks a significant shift in the landscape of real estate transactions, particularly concerning cooperative compensation agreements between listing agents and buyers’ agents.

So, what exactly happened, and what does this mean for buyers, sellers, and real estate professionals alike?


The Settlement Details

The $418 million settlement stems from a lawsuit alleging that NAR rules stifled competition and inflated commissions. As a result, several key changes are set to take place, including adjustments to cooperative compensation agreements.

One notable change is that listing agents are now prohibited from displaying any buyers’ agent compensation on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). However, they are still allowed to offer compensation to buyers’ agents, albeit off the MLS platform.


Implications for Buyers and Sellers


The media response to these changes has been mixed, with some outlets showcasing a significant lack of understanding. To clarify, here’s what these adjustments could mean for buyers and sellers:


Impact on Closing Costs: With buyers’ agent compensation potentially being negotiated into the offer, it opens the door for buyers to bear these costs upfront. This may influence closing costs and the overall affordability of a property, particularly if the compensation isn’t built into the deal.


Home Values and Seller Negotiation: There's speculation about how these changes could affect home values and seller flexibility. Will reduced commission fees lead to decreased home values, or will sellers become more negotiable? The outcome may vary depending on the specific dynamics of the housing market.


The Value of Buyers’ Agents


It’s crucial to recognize the multifaceted role of buyers’ agents and the value they bring to the real estate transaction process. Here are just a few essential functions they perform:


1. Coordination and Access: Facilitating property viewings and ensuring buyers have access to necessary information.

2. Negotiation: Advocating for buyers’ interests during price negotiations and handling seller concessions.

3. Inspection Coordination: Assisting with inspection arrangements and identifying potential property defects.

4. Appraisal Access: Providing access to appraisers and addressing appraisal-related issues.

5. Education and Guidance: Offering guidance and support throughout the home buying process.

6. Lender and Insurance Agent Selection: Assisting buyers in choosing suitable lenders and insurance agents.

7. Transaction Orchestration: Coordinating the closing process between mortgage lenders and title companies.


While the NAR lawsuit settlement and subsequent changes in cooperative compensation agreements may initially seem daunting, they also present opportunities for adaptation and innovation within the real estate industry. By understanding the implications of these adjustments and embracing the value of collaboration between listing agents and buyers’ agents, real estate professionals can navigate this new landscape effectively, ultimately benefiting buyers and sellers alike.

Make sure you choose a buyers’ agent that understands the NAR settlement and is upfront about how they expect to be compensated.  BUYERS BEWARE that this could mean an increase in closing costs of up to 3% for any purchases made after mid-July.  You can expect to see more agents having buyers sign an agreement before beginning the homebuying process. Make sure you read the agreement in its entirety and be prepared to pay additional commission fees at closing.

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