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NAR Settlement: The Headlines Aren't Portraying the Real Story

Karen Balkin
May 3 4 minutes read

Recently, a judge approved a $418 million class-action settlement for the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Sensational headlines and rampant misinformation have been swirling in news reports daily. 

I want to share my perspective from inside the industry. First, it’s crucial to note that in Washington state, things are very different than where the first class-action suit was filed in Missouri; we've been ahead of this curve for years. The Kirkland-based Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS), of which I am a long-standing member, is not owned by NAR but is owned by members like me. 

The NWMLS has never engaged in the practices cited in these class-action lawsuits. In fact, the NWMLS has been a national leader in consumer transparency and has not faced any charges of being deceptive or engaging in collusion against consumers. In fact, five years ago, the NWMLS proactively increased its efforts to protect consumers like you by implementing changes focused on transparency to ensure nobody is kept in the dark about broker compensation and the effect it may have on home sales. Our state legislature even made buyer broker service agreements a legal requirement as of January 1 of this year. 

As such, there is very little difference for my practice today than before the media response to the proposed settlement made it sound like I’ll be going out of business. So, what are my headlines? 

  • Mandatory transparency and consumer advocacy is a great thing. 
  • Addressing unethical practices around the nation is a great thing. 
  • The NWMLS changes made it easier for brokers and consumers to build trust. In fact, MLSs across the nation are now moving to adopt our best practices because of the class-action settlement; I’m very proud to be a part of a professional organization that my national colleagues want to emulate.

Secondly, yes, the settlement will cause many part-time, inexperienced, and incompetent Realtors to leave the business. However, agents who possess integrity and expertise will explain these changes to their clients in ways that empower them to make well-formed decisions. Those who are advocates for their best interest will thrive now more than ever. 

Real estate professionals who truly have your best interests at heart should soon no longer be the exception, but will hopefully become the rule as the masses of novices leave the business and seek other lines of work. 

I will continue to push the envelope, ensuring you receive the best service grounded in transparency and integrity. At the end of the day, my true value isn't just in facilitating a transaction; it's in the knowledge, expertise, and peace of mind you’ll benefit from as I advocate for you while you make one of the most significant decisions of your life.

What does this mean for you?

I'd be honored to help you navigate the real estate market and achieve your goals.

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