BAM Key Details:

  • Anywhere has agreed to a settlement for the Moerhl and Sitzer/Burnett class action lawsuits challenging the current model for buyer agent commissions. 
  • Meanwhile, other defendants, including NAR, RE/MAX, and Keller Williams, are still on track to go to trial. 
  • Both cases could upend the current system for compensating buyer agents. 

In a significant development that could reshape the landscape of the real estate industry, Anywhere Real Estate has reached a preliminary settlement in two high-stakes class action lawsuits. 

The lawsuits, known as the Moehrl and Sitzer/Burnett cases, are centered around buyer agent commissions and have been closely watched by real estate professionals across the nation. 

Anywhere Real Estate Reaches Preliminary Settlement in Class Action Lawsuits

Anywhere Real Estate and home sellers who brought the legal action informed judges on their agreement to settle all claims on September 5, 2023.

Details of the settlement remain confidential until the motion is approved, however, plaintiff attorneys in the Moehrl lawsuit stated the agreement for both lawsuits was a total of $83.5 million, according to HousingWire.  

It is expected that along with the multi-million dollar settlement, Anywhere will also be making some changes to common practices in the real estate transaction process. Steve Berman, the managing partner and co-founder of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapirio LLP, wrote in an email, 

“The monetary settlement was the most that could be obtained in light of Anywhere’s available financial resources. Critically, the settlement includes significant changes to Anywhere’s practices relating to the conduct that we have challenged. Our antitrust team looks forward to continuing to pursue additional relief against remaining defendants for those who have been systematically overcharged for simply selling their homes in an already unstable housing market.”

Steve Berman

Managing Partner and Co-founder, Hagens Berman Sobol Shapirio LLP

In an email statement, an Anywhere spokesperson stated,

“The path to obtain final approval and implement the settlement is a long one, and Anywhere has taken the first important step toward a resolution that not only releases the company but also our affiliated agents and franchisees. We believe the settlement will remove future uncertainty with respect to the upcoming trial, potential additional claims, and legal expense, enabling Anywhere to focus on and continue delivering what’s next for agents and franchisees. Given ongoing legal proceedings and confidentiality agreements between parties, we cannot comment further at this time.”

Anywhere spokesperson

Meanwhile, the remaining defendants—including the National Association of Realtors®, RE/MAX, HomeServices of America, and Keller Williams—are still set to go to trial this fall. Michael Ketchmark, lead attorney for the Sitzer/Burnett lawsuit, pointed to Anywhere as the “voice of reason in the real estate world,” which could ruffle some feathers. 

With all the attention NAR has been getting after the New York Times exposé, they may see this as an opportunity to redeem themselves with their dues-paying members. After all, how can they justify charging what they do if they’re not willing to make a stand for buyer agency?

Agents across the country are paying attention. 

Why these commission lawsuits matter

Both class action lawsuits (Moehrl and Sitzer/Burnett) have the potential to disrupt the traditional model of how buyer agents are compensated. Plaintiffs in each case believe the current system leads to higher buyer agent fees—which ultimately hurts home sellers. They argue that buyers should be responsible for the commission of their own agent. 

NAR, along with other defendants, believes that the current model for buyer agent commission serves the best interests of both buyers and sellers. Many industry professionals are closely watching how NAR, in particular, handles these cases.

It’s clear that the outcomes of these commission lawsuits could redefine the rules and common practices for real estate agents, sellers and buyers nationwide. Stay tuned for further updates on the details of Anywhere Real Estate’s settlements as well as the upcoming trials.