Keller Williams Settled. What Does NAR Do Now? The Download

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Each week on The Download, Inman’s Christy Murdock takes a deeper look at the top-read stories of the week to give you what you’ll need to meet Monday head-on. This week: In the wake of the $70 million settlement by Keller Williams, NAR and HomeServices of America appear to be the ones left holding the bag. What happens next?

The future just got a little more predictable for 180,000 Keller Williams agents on Thursday as the franchisor reached a tentative agreement to settle the Sitzer | Burnett, Moehrl and Umpa buyer commission lawsuits. The deal is also designed to cover the company from other existing and future lawsuits, though it will be up to the court to decide whether to allow it this latitude.

“I’m relieved to share that we have negotiated a nationwide settlement of the Sitzer | Burnett case – on terms that protect our agents, our franchisees, and our industry,” Gary Keller, executive chairman of Keller Williams, said in an email sent to all Keller Williams leaders, agents and associates Thursday morning.

“Crucially, the settlement releases individual agents and franchisees from copycat litigation filed in the wake of Sitzer | Burnett.”

While KW broker-owners and agents rejoice, however, the settlement means that NAR, HomeServices of America and two of its subsidiaries, BHH Affiliates and HSF Affiliates, are left holding the bag.

Plaintiff attorney Michael Ketchmark seemed to acknowledge this reality in his statement:

“We’re calling now upon the National Association of Realtors and HomeServices to join with us in changing this. We want them to sit down at the table with the plaintiffs’ attorneys and the Department of Justice and others to get the National Association of Realtors out of the business of allowing the MLSs to be used to fix commissions.”

Already besieged by a host of challenges, NAR attempted to set the record straight on its value proposition in the first public video address from interim CEO Nykia Wright. However, the message seemed to get lost in the delivery when the video had to be abruptly taken down to avoid inaccuracies in its messaging around commissions.

NAR CEO Nykia Wright appears — and disappears — in ‘odd’ new video

With buyer commissions at the center of all of this wheeling and dealing, it’s time to look at some of our most recent stories on working with buyers. After all, you’re the ones who are out there answering questions and helping them get geared up for a [fingers-crossed] active spring market.

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If you currently have buyers but cannot land an escrow, writes team leader Carl Medford, consider stepping up your game to provide the highest level of service possible.

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Real estate pros and financial advisers can help clients make informed decisions, writes Michael Conticelli, whether buying a home or building a real estate portfolio.

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