MetroTex Named as Co-Defendant in Lawsuit
The MetroTex Association of REALTORS® was recently named as a co-defendant in a lawsuit, QJ Team et al v Texas Association of REALTORS® et al. Several REALTOR® associations and real estate brokerages in Texas have been named as co-defendants.
This is one of several copycat commissions-related lawsuits across the country that have been filed in the wake of a verdict against NAR and other corporate defendants in the case of Burnett v. NAR et al. As you probably know, NAR has indicated that it will appeal that outcome.
NAR’s position – which MetroTex supports – is that the practice of cooperative compensation makes efficient, transparent, and accessible marketplaces possible. Sellers can sell their home for more and have their home seen by more buyers while buyers have more choices of homes and can afford representation.
MetroTex stands by the value of the professional expertise that our members provide to your clients. Please continue to communicate to clients and consumers the value you bring to them when they are involved in real estate transactions.
REALTORS® should continue to clearly communicate their role in the transaction and all details about how they are compensated. As always, rely on guidance from your broker and your firm’s legal counsel. Remember, too, that several forms are available for use by members—including listing agreements and buyer/tenant representation agreements to help all parties clearly understand compensation related to a transaction.
Though there are aspects of this pending litigation that MetroTex is unable to discuss, rest assured that the association highly values transparency and will provide information and updates as we work toward a positive resolution for the association and its members.
Litigation Questions & Answers:
QJ Team et al v Texas Association of REALTORS et al.
Should You do Anything Differently in Your Business
- This suit and others like it don’t change the many choices buyers and sellers have when deciding to buy or sell their home. They can choose to hire a real estate agent who is a REALTOR®, to hire someone else, or to do all the work themselves.
- You should continue expressing to clients, friends, and family, that compensation arrangements (including commissions) are, and have always been, negotiable and set between a broker and their respective client.
- You should continue to use your listing and buyer agreements to help clients understand 1) exactly what services and value you are providing; and 2) importantly, how much you charge.
Can listing brokers still offer cooperating compensation?
- Listing brokers decide how much compensation to offer to serve in their seller’s best interest, and it can be $0, a penny, or any other amount. NAR rules do not specify an amount. This is solely a matter that’s negotiated between brokers and their clients.
What can REALTORS® be telling clients about this suit?
- This suit doesn’t currently change how you do your business.
- Bottom line, compensation will continue to be negotiable and set between a broker and their respective client, as it always has been.
- REALTORS® will still and always be there for clients to guide you through the financial, legal and community complexities of buying and selling a home.
- Additional materials you can leverage that cover these points are on the difference.realtor and competition.realtor sites. On competition.realtor, NAR just launched a great resource listing the 105 ways REALTORS® are worth every penny, which we encourage you to utilize when discussing your value with clients.