The earth moving beneath many a SoCal realtors’ feet wasn’t a quake, but instead an industry rumble. RE/MAX is the latest brokerage to announce a multi-million agreement over commissions, with news that the brokerage has joined Anywhere to settle a class-action lawsuit. While Anywhere previously announced it would settle for $85 million, RE/MAX announced it’s settling for $55 million.
RE/MAX plans to use available cash to pay the settlement amount, according to the SEC filing.
Two suites, Sitzer/Burnett and Moehrl, allege that some NAR rules—including the Participation Rule that requires listing brokers to offer buyer brokers a commission in order to list a property in a Realtor-affiliated multiple listing service—violate the Sherman Antitrust Act by inflating seller costs. According to Inman, hundreds of thousands of sellers are asking for reimbursement to the tune of $1.3 billion in commissions they paid to buyer agents over eight years, plus potential treble damages that could raise that total to around $4 billion.
In a statement, RE/MAX said the settlement covers both of the major lawsuits and that part of the agreement involves changing business practices. Several other major franchisors, including HomeServices of America and Keller Williams remain defendants in the lawsuit, along with the National Association of Realtors.