04/09/24 | $9.2M Settlement Reached with The Real Brokerage Inc.
On April 9, 2024, plaintiffs in the real estate commission antitrust class action reached a new settlement with another defendant, The Real Brokerage Inc. The $9.2 million deal brings the total proposed settlements to $693.2 million. The firm continues to litigate against remaining additional defendants.

 

Did you sell your home within the last five years through a real estate agent? You likely overpaid by thousands of dollars in real estate broker commission. 

Case Status
Active
Motion to Dismiss Denied (In Full or in Part)
Class Certified
Position
Co-Lead Counsel
Practice Areas
Court
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri
Case Number
1:19-cv-01610, 4:23-cv-00945-FJG
Defendant(S)
The National Association of Realtors
Anywhere Real Estate, formerly known as Realogy Holdings Corp.
At World Properties, LLC
BHH Affiliates, LLC
Compass, Inc.
Douglas Elliman Realty, LLC
Douglas Elliman, Inc.
eXp Realty, LLC
eXp World Holdings, Inc.
Hanna Holdings, Inc.
HomeServices Of America, Inc.
HomeSmart International, LLC
HSF Affiliates, LLC
Keller Williams Realty, Inc.
RE/MAX Holdings Inc.
Real Broker, LLC
Realty One Group, Inc.
Redfin Corporation
The Long & Foster Companies, Inc.
The Real Brokerage, Inc.
United Real Estate
Weichert Realtors
File Date

 

Real Estate Commissions InfographicHagens Berman filed a lawsuit against four national broker franchises for allegedly illegally inflating the commissions associated with home sales. Total broker and real estate agent commissions in affected areas average between 5-6%, a substantially higher figure than in countries with competitive markets for real estate brokers and agents.

AFFECTED METRO AREAS

This class-action lawsuit pertains to many metros across the nation, and our firm is actively seeking to hear from those who have sold a home with a real estate agent in one of the following areas:

- Phoenix, Arizona
- Colorado Springs, Colorado
- Fort Myers, Florida
- Miami, Florida
- Las Vegas, Nevada
- Charlotte, North Carolina
- Raleigh, North Carolina
- Cleveland, Ohio
- Columbus, Ohio
- Dallas, Texas
- Houston, Texas
- San Antonio, Texas
- Salt Lake City, Utah

AFFECTED BROKER FRANCHISES

We believe the following national broker franchises conspired with the National Association of Realtors and others to cheat home sellers out of thousands of dollars by illegally fixing real estate agent broker commissions:

  • Realogy Holdings Corp. — Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC, CENTURY 21, Coldwell Banker, ERA, Sotheby’s
  • HomeServices of America Inc. — Berkshire Hathaway, RealtySouth, Long & Foster, Edina Realty & others
  • RE/MAX Holdings Inc.
  • Keller Williams Realty

REAL ESTATE PRICE-FIXING EXPLAINED

Plaintiffs allege that Defendants’ conspiracy has centered around NAR’s adoption and implementation of a mandatory rule that requires all brokers and real estate agents to make a blanket, non-negotiable offer of buyer broker/agent compensation (the “Buyer Broker Commission Rule”) when listing a property on an MLS.

Most MLSs (including all MLSs at issue in this case) are controlled by local NAR associations, and access to such MLSs is conditioned on real estate agents and brokers following all mandatory rules set forth in NAR’s Handbook on Multiple Listing Policy, including the Buyer Broker Commission Rule.

The conspiracy, plaintiffs allege, has saddled home sellers with a cost that would be borne by the buyer in a competitive market. Moreover, according to the lawsuit, because most buyer brokers will not show homes to their clients where the seller is offering a lower buyer broker real estate agent commission, or will show homes with higher commission offers first, sellers are incentivized when making the required blanket, non-negotiable offer to procure the buyer brokers’ cooperation by offering a high commission.

According to the complaint, the mandatory Buyer Broker Commission Rule ensures that price competition among buyer brokers and real estate agents is restrained because the person retaining the buyer broker, the buyer, does not negotiate or pay his or her broker’s commission. In addition, the seller’s allegedly inflated commission offer cannot be reduced by buyers or their brokers, as Defendants also prohibit buyer brokers and agents from making home purchase offers contingent on the reduction of the buyer broker commission. Absent this rule, buyer brokers would be paid by their clients and would compete to be retained by offering a lower commission.

Currently, total broker/real estate agent compensation in the United States is typically 5-6% of the home sales price, with approximately half of that amount — and increasingly more than half — paid to the buyer broker. Defendants’ alleged conspiracy has kept buyer broker and agent commissions in the 2.5-3% range for many years despite the diminishing role of buyer brokers due to buyers independently identifying homes through online services and retaining buyer brokers only after they have found the home they wish to buy.

The alleged conspiracy has inflated buyer broker and real estate agent commissions, which, in turn, have inflated the total commissions paid by home sellers, who have incurred, on average, thousands of dollars in damages as a result of Defendants’ alleged conspiracy.

MLSs covered in this action in full include:

  • The Bright MLS (including the metropolitan areas of Baltimore, Maryland; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Richmond, Virginia; Washington, D.C.);
  • My Florida Regional MLS (including the metropolitan areas of Tampa, Orlando, and Sarasota);
  • The five MLSs in the Mid-West that cover the following metropolitan areas: Cleveland, Ohio; Columbus, Ohio; Detroit, Michigan; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Minneapolis, Minnesota;
  • The six MLSs in the Southwest that cover the following metropolitan areas: Austin, Texas; Dallas, Texas; Houston, Texas; Las Vegas, Nevada; Phoenix, Arizona; San Antonio Texas;
  • The three MLSs in the Mountain West that cover the following metropolitan areas: Colorado Springs, Colorado; Denver, Colorado; Salt Lake City, Utah;
  • The four MLSs in the Southeast that cover the following metropolitan areas: Fort Myers, Florida; Miami, Florida; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Raleigh, North Carolina.

YOUR RIGHTS WHEN SELLING A HOME

Hagens Berman believes that home sellers have been cheated in real estate broker commissions, and we intend to fight to recover overcharges. When entities arrange together to rig prices, or control a market, consumers always lose, and we’re here to challenge this illegal price-fixing.

TOP CONSUMER RIGHTS FIRM

Hagens Berman is one of the most successful consumer litigation law firms in the U.S. and has achieved more than $320 billion in settlements for consumers in lawsuits against big banks, technology corporations, automakers and others. Hagens Berman has achieved many monumental settlements for consumers in price-fixing suits, including one against Apple and various publishing companies in 2016 that settled for a total $560 million. Your claim will be handled by attorneys experienced in consumer and antitrust law.

NO COST TO YOU

There is no cost or fee whatsoever involved in joining this investigation. In the event Hagens Berman or any other firm obtains a settlement that provides benefits to class members, the court will decide a reasonable fee to be awarded to the class' legal team. In no case will any class member ever be asked to pay any out-of-pocket sum.

CASE TIMELINE

Settlement Valued at $57.5 Million with Compass

On March 22, 2024, the firm reached a settlement agreement with Compass Inc. valued at $57.5 million. The settlement brings class members’ total recovery to $684 million to date, with a number of defendants remaining.

Hagens Berman Reaches $418 Million Settlement Agreement with National Association of Realtors

Hagens Berman announced a settlement agreement with the National Association of Realtors (NAR) which, if approved by the court, would resolve antitrust claims against NAR in a class-action lawsuit alleging that it conspired with the Big Four real estate broker franchises to artificially inflate commissions associated with home sales.

“Third-party experts are estimating that this settlement will save consumers $20-50 billion a year,” said Steve Berman, managing partner at Hagens Berman and the attorney leading the case. “This is a seismic shift in the real estate market.”

The terms of the settlement comprehensively address the central anticompetitive conduct challenged by the lawsuit – buyer brokers steering their clients based on the offer of buyer broker compensation made by sellers. The settlement, which only resolves claims against NAR, brings the firm’s total settlements in this matter to $626.5 million, with a number of defendants left. Hagens Berman will continue pursuing litigation against the remaining defendants in this case.

Settlement Valued at $70 Million with Keller Williams Realty Inc.

On Feb. 1, 2024, Hagens Berman reached a settlement with defendant Keller Williams, bringing the total recovery to date in this case to $208.5 million. The firm continues to pursue litigation against remaining defendants on behalf of consumers nationwide.

Settlement with RE/MAX

On Sept. 18, 2023, the firm announced a second settlement in the case with defendant RE/MAX, on the heels of the case’s icebreaker settlement with Anywhere Real Estate Inc. The firm continues to pursue litigation against remaining defendants and looks forward to recovering damages for those harmed.

Settlement with Anywhere Real Estate Inc.

On Sept. 5, 2023, the firm announced an icebreaker settlement in the case. Hagens Berman’s managing partner and co-founder said, “This nationwide settlement is a significant milestone in this case against the National Association of Realtors and the Nation’s four largest real estate brokerages. The settlement covers a nationwide class of home sellers that includes the Moehrl and Burnett actions. Critically, the settlement includes changes to Anywhere’s practices relating to the conduct that we have challenged. Our antitrust team looks forward to continuing to pursue additional relief against remaining defendants for those who have been systematically overcharged for simply selling their homes in an already unstable housing market.”

Court Grants Class Certification

U.S. District Judge Andrea R. Wood certified two classes of home sellers accusing the National Association of Realtors and the Big Four real estate broker franchises of conspiring to artificially inflate commissions associated with home sales. Judge Wood’s certification of a damages class and an injunctive relief class extends to sellers who sold their home through a Multiple Listing Service (MLS) from March, 6 2015 and Dec. 13, 2022, as well as current and future owners of residential real estate in affected jurisdictions who are currently listing or will list homes on an MLS. The court’s class certification encompasses buyers who listed their homes on 20 MLSs around the country.

In her March 29, 2023 order, Judge Wood also denied the defendants’ motion to exclude two of plaintiffs’ expert witnesses, and said that the buyer-broker policies challenged in the lawsuit facilitate, “keeping buyers in the dark and severely restricting negotiations over buyer-broker commissions.

$9.2M Settlement Reached with The Real Brokerage Inc.

On April 9, 2024, plaintiffs in the real estate commission antitrust class action reached a new settlement with another defendant, The Real Brokerage Inc. The $9.2 million deal brings the total proposed settlements to $693.2 million. The firm continues to litigate against remaining additional defendants.

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