Details Emerge from the Anywhere and RE/MAX Settlements
Going beyond the headlines
OCT 9, 2023
A jury has found the National Association of Realtors, Keller Williams and HomeServices of America guilty of colluding over commission rates.
The defendants were ordered to pay $1.78 billion in damages. The verdict in the landmark Sitzer/Burnett trial was rendered Tuesday after two weeks of testimony in a Kansas City courtroom over alleged collusion facilitated by NAR’s Clear Cooperation Policy.
The judge in the case hasn’t issued a final ruling, which will be needed before the verdict is finalized. In the decision on the antitrust case, the judge could triple the damages to total more than $5 billion, in addition to ordering policy changes.
“This matter is not close to being final,” NAR said in a blog post on the verdict. The trade group said it would appeal the verdict and ask the court to reduce the damages awarded by the jury.
“This verdict does not require a change in our rules,” the group said. “But if class action attorneys had it their way, buyer representation would be very much at risk because many first-time home buyers, among others, couldn’t afford to pay for representation out of pocket.”
Keller Williams vowed to “consider all options as we assess the verdict and trial record, including avenues of appeal.”
A spokesperson from HomeServices also said the brokerage would appeal the ruling in Missouri.
“Today’s decision means that buyers will face even more obstacles in an already challenging real estate market and sellers will have a harder time realizing the value of their homes,” the brokerage said. “It could also force homebuyers to forgo professional help during what is likely the most complex and consequential financial transaction they’ll make in their lifetime.”