BAM Key Details:

  • Shortly after the news broke about the NAR settlement, Real, eXp, and Keller Williams shared their reactions to the settlement terms. 
  • Keller Williams is still waiting on preliminary approval for their own settlement agreement, while eXp and Real remain outside the scope of any existing settlements. 
  • Ryan Serhant also weighed in on the settlement in a CNBC interview. 

As brokerages across the U.S. unpack the terms of the NAR settlement, several giants of the industry have publicly spoken on the position in which they find themselves. 

Two of them—Real Brokerage and eXp Realty—are outside the scope of the settlement reached by National Association of Realtors® (NAR), according to the terms. 

Another, Keller Williams, is still waiting on preliminary approval for the settlement agreement reached on February 1st. 

Ryan Serhant also weighed in on the settlement terms, sharing his biggest takeaways in a CNBC interview

Read on for the highlights of each one’s reaction. 

Real Brokerage reaction

Sharran Srivatsaa, president of Real Brokerage, responded to the settlement in a video available on YouTube. From the description:

“Here’s what we know so far:

    • There are going to be changes
    • These changes will be incorporated into how we do business
    • We will get through it together

“In response to this news, we hosted this webinar to tackle these developments together and establish a commitment to continuously learn, grow, and become even better real estate professionals.”

Sharran titled the webinar, “Navigating the New World with Grace,” putting additional emphasis on “the operative word: grace.” 

The webinar’s aim was to help agents navigate the outcome of this settlement, assuming it gains the court’s approval, in the most proactive and helpful manner possible. In a simplified explanation, Srivatsaa compared the settlement’s results to taking a new route to a destination you have been to many times. 

The result is exactly the same…You are going to help the consumer buy or sell a house. There are probably two routes. A route you are used to and a route you are not used to. The new route just probably takes three minutes longer.

Sharran Srivatsaa

President of Real Brokerage

Along with breaking down the terms of the settlement, Srivatssa debunked the biggest myths circulating right now, as well as big ideas, common agent questions and recommendations. 

Srivatssa’s five recommendations for real estate agents include:

  1. Develop and deliver a value proposition for buyers 10x better than the listing presentation
  2. Elegantly explain economics and compensation
  3. Utilize a Buyer Broker Agreement
  4. Adjust forms and workflows
  5. Work Hard, Be Kind

For more, watch the full recording here.

eXp Reaction

Nearly 50,000 viewers tuned in for a “virtual town hall” live stream hosted by eXp Chief Strategy Officer Leo Pareja and VP of Brokerage Operations Holly Maberry. 

AJ LaTrace shared the details on Real Estate News.

Speaking of the NAR settlement, Pareja and Maberry encouraged eXp agents to “breathe a sigh of relief.” They talked about changes to buyer agency as well as new potential approaches to agent services. 

Thousands of agents used the live chat to post a variety of questions and comments, some expressing outrage toward NAR, while others shared concerns about the future. 

If the court approves the NAR settlement, changes could go into effect as early as July. 

To prepare eXp agents for those changes, Pareja and Maberry started by pointing out that individual agents are free and clear. 

You as individual agents are actually released from the settlement, but we as corporate are still litigating. But everyone should breathe a sigh of relief — those who are licensed and a dues-paying member of NAR.

Leo Pareja

Chief Strategy Officer for eXp

That said, the terms of the NAR settlement leave nearly 100 brokerages, including eXp, to pay their own way if they choose to opt in. 

Pareja added that people should expect to see business models and services change if the settlement gains court approval.  

Don’t be surprised if we see a proliferation of people experimenting—you know, like a flat fee for opening a door. I’m fully expecting to see a whole lot of creativity. Just like today, there are high-end boutiques, full service, limited service [offerings] for all experiences.

Leo Pareja

Chief Strategy Officer for eXp

He expects to see more agents offering dual or variable rate commissions to prepare for a world where clients choose a commission package based on their level of representation or the services they want included. 

That brings to mind Toronto real estate agent Tom Storey, who’s already offering multiple service packages at different commission rates. 

As for the number one question Pareja has been getting over email—whether eXp leadership is planning to stick with NAR long-term, or whether eXp agents can leave NAR—he said, We’re going to do what’s best for you and us… Just stay tuned.

VP of Brokerage Operations Holly Mabery offered an alternative for those who “feel passionately about not wanting to be a member of the National Association, saying, “We do have another brokerage which is eXp Commercial…”  

Parejo added that sticking with NAR—and retaining access to forms and to the MLS—could make it easier for eXp agents to do their jobs. 

Keller Williams reaction

Keller Wiliams started the week with phone calls and an email to all its U.S.-based brokerage leaders and agents, sharing its perspective on the NAR settlement. 

Stephanie Reid-Simons shared the details on Real Estate News

First of all, the settlement is still pending approval by the judge (who might after all decide it needs work). Second, the NAR settlement does not replace the settlement reached by Keller Williams over a month ago on February 1, 2024. 

With that out of the way, the gist of Keller Williams’ response so far is an invitation to join them in remaining vigilant while the settlement goes through the process and brokerages across the U.S. (especially those left out) unpack the settlement terms and weigh their options. 

Keller Williams’ top five takeaways for real estate agents: 

    1. When are buyer representation agreements required? An agent working with a buyer must have a signed buyer representation agreement before they can show a home. This rule applies only to buyer brokers showing houses listed on the MLS. 
    2. What do buyer agreements need to include? Buyer representation agreements must include the amount of compensation the agent will receive and how that amount will be determined (i.e., what it’s based on). 
    3. What are the rules regarding buyer agent compensation? Agent compensation must be a set dollar amount or percentage and cannot be open-ended. For example: the agreement cannot say, “Buyer agent compensation shall be whatever amount the seller is willing to offer them.”
    4. Can agents accept more money than is specified in the buyer representation agreement? No. Agents cannot accept more money than is specified in the agreement. 
    5. Can sellers and their agents still offer cooperative compensation? Yes. Cooperative compensation would not be illegal; sellers are still allowed to offer compensation to the buyer agent. But all mention of buyer agent compensation is moving off the MLS. 

“Nothing in NAR’s settlement prohibits sellers or listing agents from making offers of cooperative compensation to buyer agents off the MLS (e.g., by email, newsletter, calls, texts, etc. Be aware that all communications must always be TCPA compliant.)”

In their email, KW also addresses the follow-up question, “Where will these offers of cooperative compensation appear?

“The settlement allows brokers and their agents to publish seller-approved cooperative compensation offers for their own listings (but not other brokers’ listings) on their own websites.” 

As for what’s next, KW leaders responded with “More education…and ideally more business.

“Over the next 30 days, we will be working to document best practices and updates to our models and systems to help each of you thrive in this evolving real estate environment.”

A few words from Ryan Serhant

In a CNBC news segment that aired on Tuesday, Ryan Serhant, founder of brokerage SERHANT., shared his perspective and what he sees happening if the proposed NAR settlement gains court approval.  

Top 3 Serhant quotes from the conversation: 

  1. “Good service can be expensive; bad service can cost you a fortune (in the long run).”
  2. “Compensation should be a free market conversation.”
  3. “Transparency is important to bring our industry forward.”