In the world of real estate, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) stands as a behemoth, shaping the landscape of buying and selling properties in the United States. However, recent developments have forced the organization to hurdle challenges as it grapples with accusations of anti-competitive practices. This article discusses the details of the recent NAR settlement, its potential impact on the real estate market, and the likely ramifications for consumers and industry players alike.


NAR boasts a membership of over 1.4 million real estate professionals and has long been regarded as an industry authority. Its influence extends fair and wide, with its code of ethics and standards governing the conduct of relators across the nation. However, allegations of anti-competitive behavior have been mounting and resulted in litigation finding NAR's practices a form of collusion.

The crux of this issue lies in NAR's policies regarding the dissemination of property listings. Traditionally, access to these listings has been controlled by real estate agents affiliated with NAR, which opponents argue effectively provides them a monopoly over crucial information. Plaintiffs argue that the current system stifles competition and limits consumer choice.

The Settlement

In response to increasing pressure, NAR recently reached a landmark settlement to address these allegations. The terms of the settlement are far-reaching and poised to bring about significant changes to the way the real estate market operates. The agreement binds one million plus NAR members as well as all state and local realtor associations, all association-owned MLS realties, and all brokerages with a NAR member as principal that had a residential transaction volume in 2022 of $2 billion or below.

Before the settlement, NAR required a seller to agree to a commission rate. The rate was negotiable, but the standard was 6%. The settlement does away with this standard. In addition, the agreement focused on changes to NAR's rules in regard to property listings. Real estate agents will no longer be permitted to restrict access to these listings. Quite the contrary, NAR will now implement measures aimed at increasing competition among agents.

Key Changes for Real Estate Agents and Brokers

  • The settlement prohibits NAR from setting any rules that permit an agent for the seller to establish compensation for a buyer's agent.
  • Any field on the MLS which indicates broker compensation should be deleted.
  • Agreement prohibits any prerequisite subscription to the MLS as a condition of offering or accepting compensation.
  • Professionals who utilize the MLS must complete a written buyer broker agreement.
  • The 6% commission rule is no longer the standard.
  • Members of NAR will now be required to disclose commissions and broker compensation to clients.
  • The settlement encourages increased flexibility in the structuring of commissions.
  • NAR plans to provide education and training programs to inform its members regarding the new requirements and best practices moving forward.
  • Cooperative compensation remains a choice for consumers when buying or selling a home.
  • NAR also secured in the agreement a mechanism for nearly all brokerage entities that had a residential transaction volume in 2022 that exceeded $2 billion and MLS not wholly owned by REALTOR associations to obtain releases efficiently if they choose to use it.

It is important to note that NAR maintains that it did not engage in any wrongdoing in regard to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) cooperative compensation model rule. NAR agreed to pay $418 million over a four-year time period. These changes will take effect in mid-July 2024.


The ramifications of the NAR settlement are extensive and likely to result in immediate change throughout the real estate industry. Proponents argue that the settlement will result in increased transparency for consumers as the sharing of property listings could translate into greater choice and potentially lower costs. With more information at their fingertips, the hope is that buyers and sellers alike will be better equipped to make informed decisions about their real estate transactions.

However, the changes may also present challenges for real estate agents, particularly those who have relied on the NAR's policies to maintain their competitive edge. With access to property listings no longer restricted, agents will need to find new ways to differentiate themselves and provide value to their clients. This could lead to increased competition within the industry.

Moreover, the settlement is likely to have broader implications for the real estate market. By eliminating barriers to entry and promoting competition, it has the potential to reshape the dynamics of the industry and pave the way for new players to enter the fray. This could lead to increased innovation, as traditional business models come under pressure to evolve in response to changing market conditions.


The recent NAR settlement represents a watershed moment in the regulation of the real estate market., By addressing allegations of anti-competitive behavior and promoting greater transparency and competition, the agreement has the potential to bring about significant benefit for consumers. However, it poses challenges for industry players who will need to adapt to a more competitive and dynamic marketplace. Ultimately, only time will tell how the real estate industry responds to these seismic shifts, but one thing is clear: change is on the horizon.

Should you have any questions or require further assistance on this issue please do not hesitate to contact the author of this article or a member of the team at WSHB.

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