Real-Estate Broker Commissions Antitrust

DEFENDANT NAME: The National Association of Realtors, Realogy Holdings Corp., HomeServices of America Inc., RE/MAX Holdings Inc., Keller Williams Realty Inc.
STOCK SYMBOL:
CASE NUMBER: 1:19-cv-01610
CASE NAME:
COURT: U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
PRACTICE AREA: Antitrust Litigation
STATUS: Active
CLASS PERIOD:
LEAD PLAINTIFF DEADLINE:
DATE FILED: 03/06/19
COURT LOCATION:
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Did you sell your home within the last five years?

You likely overpaid by thousands of dollars in real-estate broker commission. You could be entitled to reimbursement for price-fixing. Find out your rights »

Our attorneys are investigating four national broker franchises for illegally inflating the commissions associated with home sales. Total broker commissions in affected areas average between 5 and 6 percent, a substantially higher figure than in countries with competitive markets for real estate brokers.

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 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

If you sold your home through a real estate broker, sign up now »

REAL ESTATE PRICE FIXING EXPLAINED

The National Association of Realtors has worked with these franchises to eliminate competition over business, implementing rules that prevent offering lower commissions and negotiation of buyer broker commission, and serve no other purpose for home sellers.

The National Association of Realtors – the largest lobbying group in the country – and the franchises worked together to boycott and punish any buyer brokers who offered to accept a lower commission.

The National Association of Realtors’ anti-competitive policies are intended to prevent the following competition between buyer brokers to offer lower commission rates, as well as stop buyers and sellers from negotiating commissions.

These policies include:

  • Only allowing listing brokers to list a property on an MLS if the listing broker makes a unilateral, non-negotiable offer of compensation on the MLS to buyer brokers.
  • Prohibiting buyers and sellers from negotiating buyer broker commission.
  • Prohibiting brokers from disclosing commissions offered on MLS.
  • Allowing brokers to take both buyer and seller commissions, if the buyer is not represented by a broker.
  • Expressly allowing buyer brokers to tell clients their services are “free.”
  • Prohibiting inclusion of for-sale-by-owner properties on MLS listings.
  • Permitting websites operated by brokers to exclude listings that offer lower commission rates.

This price-fixing has occurred on both national and local levels.

HOW COMMISSION-BASED INDUSTRIES SHOULD WORK

Since the advent of the internet, many commission-based industries have seen significant disruption, including auto insurance brokers who have lost $4 billion in underwriting profits in each of the last five years, financial service brokers who have seen commissions drop from $250 to $10 during that period, and travel agencies which has lost more than 40 percent of its workforce in the last 20 years.

Meanwhile, real-estate broker commission rates have stayed the same, despite the fact that a substantial majority of buyers find their home via their own online search, bewildering economists.

In a competitive market, real-estate commissions would fluctuate with changes in technology and natural competition, ending in various and lower commission rates for home sellers; brokers would compete, buyers and sellers would negotiate with brokers regarding commissions, and buyers would bypass brokers using independent online platforms.

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 $260 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.

 


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