October 10, 2023
The $138.5 million in antitrust settlements that home sellers reached with Realogy Holdings Corp. and Re/Max will also include injunctive relief requiring business-practice changes that aim to add more transparency around the existence and offering of broker commissions, according to the docket and a statement from one of the parties.
Among the business practice changes in the sellers’ $83.5 million deal with Realogy, which now operates as Anywhere Real Estate Inc., and their $55 million deal with Re/Max are requirements that the companies and their affiliated agents refrain from setting any minimum commission requirements and remove software that allows the companies to filter home listings by a broker’s compensation, according to court documents entered last week and a Friday announcement by Anywhere Real Estate.
Anywhere and Re/Max have also agreed to make clear that broker commissions are negotiable and not set by law, advise and remind franchises and affiliated agents of their obligation to show and market properties regardless of the existence or amount of a broker commission, and not to require their franchisees and affiliated agents to join the National Association of Realtors or follow its code of ethics or multiple listing service handbook.
Anywhere’s settlement terms will sunset after five years, while Re/Max’s terms are not subject to a sunset, according to settlement documents.
The details of the real estate companies’ settlements came just weeks after they’d struck a deal in the home sellers’ antitrust cases claiming the NAR, Anywhere, Re/Max and several other real estate companies violated federal antitrust laws by conspiring to get higher broker fees by requiring sellers to pay buyer broker commissions.
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In Moehrl, the classes are represented by Susman Godfrey LLP, Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, Handley Farah & Anderson PLLC, Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC, Justice Catalyst Law and Teske Katz PLLP.