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Navigating the Changes: What Buyers and Sellers Need to Know About the Recent NAR Settlement

The real estate landscape in the United States is set to undergo significant changes following the recent settlement between the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and various plaintiffs. This settlement stems from lawsuits that challenged the traditional practices within the industry, particularly around commission structures and the transparency of fees. Here’s a comprehensive look at what buyers and sellers can expect as these changes take effect.

The Background: Understanding the Settlement

The lawsuits against the NAR focused on several core issues:

  • Commission Transparency: The plaintiffs argued that the way commissions were traditionally handled lacked transparency.
  • Mandatory Commission Sharing: It was claimed that the NAR’s rules required listing brokers to offer commissions to buyer brokers, which plaintiffs argued could inflate costs for sellers.
  • Anticompetitive Practices: The lawsuits alleged that certain NAR practices stifled competition and maintained artificially high commission rates. In response, the NAR agreed to settle, which involved implementing several changes aimed at increasing transparency and promoting fair competition.

Changes Buyers Will See

  • Greater Transparency in Commissions: Buyers will now see clearer disclosures about the commissions being paid to their brokers. This change is designed to help buyers understand how much their broker is earning and evaluate whether the services provided justify the cost.
  • More Negotiating Power: With increased transparency, buyers may feel more empowered to negotiate commissions with their brokers. 
  • Increased Choice: The settlement is expected to foster a more competitive environment. Buyers may find a wider range of brokerage services available, including flat-fee or a la carte options.

Changes Sellers Will See

  • Flexibility in Commission Offers: Sellers will no longer be mandated to offer a set commission to buyer brokers. This means sellers can choose to offer lower commissions or even no commission at all, depending on the market dynamics and the demand for their property.

The Overall Impact on the Real Estate Market

The settlement is poised to create a more competitive and transparent real estate market. Here’s how:

  • Market Competition: With traditional commission structures under scrutiny, there could be a rise in innovative brokerage models. 
  • Consumer Awareness: Both buyers and sellers will benefit from increased awareness of real estate fees, leading to more informed decisions.
  • Industry Adaptation: Real estate professionals will need to adapt to these changes by clearly communicating their value propositions and possibly rethinking their fee structures to stay competitive.

Tips for Buyers and Sellers Moving Forward

  • Do Your Research: Understand the new commission structures and how they impact your finances. 
  • Negotiate Wisely: Use the newfound transparency to negotiate better deals. Whether you are a buyer or a seller, knowing what you are paying for can help you save money.
  • Stay Informed: Keep abreast of further changes and updates from the NAR and other regulatory bodies to ensure you are making the most informed decisions.
Real Estate handshake shows how Via Realtors have always been attentive to the needs of our clients and the changing real estate environment


The settlement between the National Association of Realtors and the plaintiffs marks a pivotal moment in the real estate industry, promising to bring about greater transparency and competition. Both buyers and sellers stand to benefit from these changes, with more control over their transactions. As the market adjusts, staying informed and flexible will be key to navigating this new real estate landscape successfully.

VIA Group, Realtors has embraced the results of the lawsuits and changes at the National Association of Realtor, the Iowa Association of Realtors and recent Iowa real estate law updates. We have always been attentive to the needs of our clients and the changing real estate environment. We will continue to be versatile as the real estate industry adapts to the desires of the public. And we will be innovative in service to the customer and clients that choose a VIA Realtor to assist them.

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