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Don't Believe the Real Estate Hype — Understand the New Rules About How You Can Buy and Sell Your House Real estate investor and entrepreneur Paul Morris breaks down the truth inside the $418 million National Association of Realtors settlement.

By Paul Morris

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Ruby June

News services, including The New York Times, are spreading misinformation about the recent National Association of Realtors settlement. These news organizations said that the N.A.R. agreed to slash agent commissions — but that is flat-out not true. Watch my embedded video below to understand the details of the settlement and its actual impact on the real estate industry.

Takeaways of the National Association of Realtors settlement

The truth is that N.A.R. settlement comes down to the fact that it decided to separate buyer and seller commissions.

Under certain circumstances, the cost of buyer representation could be shifted to the buyer. And, as we all know, the buyer (who is bringing all of the money to the transaction) is the person who can least afford to pay a commission in the transaction. But it doesn't mean that buyers don't need representation.

Related: How to Make Money in Real Estate — 8 Proven Ways

A home buy for most families is the most expensive and most important financial decision they will make in their lifetime. Highly skilled realtors will get paid exactly what they're worth. The market will reward realtors who add significant value to the transaction, Those realtors who add little value will get little compensation or be put out of business altogether. (Which at the end of the day, I don't think that's a bad thing.)

Here's my synopsis of the settlement, which is likely to take effect in mid-July 2024:

  1. Buyer Representation Agreements will be required for agents showing homes listed on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).
  2. Sellers can still offer compensation to the buyers' agent but it cannot be specified in the MLS. It can be advertised to the public elsewhere.
  3. Agents must make commission disclosures, including the disclosure that commissions are not set by law and are fully negotiable.

The net effect is that buyers will have to specify in the contract the amount they are willing to pay an agent to represent them.

Sellers may feel that it is important to offer buyer's agents compensation to incentivize agents to show their properties, maximum exposure, and the highest price possible.

Related: These Real Estate Trends Are Set to Change the Market Forever

Although MLSs are prohibited from publishing what a seller is willing to pay toward the buyer agent's compensation, the settlement allows brokerages and their agents to publish seller-approved compensation offers for their own listings (but not other brokerages' listings) on their websites, in emails, texts, and other communications.

I do believe that buyer agents will have to demonstrate far more expertise to justify their compensation. This change will drive more buyers to the seller's agent. That agent has a duty to negotiate for and represent the seller. More dual-agency (one agent representing both seller and buyer) will take place, and more litigation will ensue from this conflict of interest.

Paul Morris

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® VIP

CEO of Forward Management

Paul Morris is a New York Times bestseller, real estate investor and entrepreneur. He is the second largest Keller Williams owner with 3,000 agents and $5.4 billion in annual volume (22nd largest U.S. brokerage). Morris is No. 73 on the Power 200 most influential real estate leaders. 

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