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NAR president offers guidance on how agents can navigate commission lawsuit uncertainty

Tracy Kasper: Agents should communicate that commissions are negotiable and explain clearly how they're getting paid and what they're charging

In her first video appearance since the jury verdict in the Sitzer/Burnett commission lawsuit, National Association of Realtors president Tracy Kasper told NAR members that she shares their disappointment in the decision.

“The jury reached an outcome that was neither supported by the law nor the facts that were presented in this case,” Kasper said in a video posted Thrusday.

She also addressed questions about the witnesses NAR’s team called to the stand to help make the case for the industry, running through NAR’s witness list, which included past NAR presidents and economists, for viewers.

According to Kasper, while the plaintiffs are portraying this outcome as a win for consumers, getting rid of cooperative compensation will only harm homebuyers and sellers.

“The verdict runs contrary to what we all know about the value we bring not only to our clients but to the functioning of a buyer-seller real estate market more generally,” Kasper said.

As she has stated previously, NAR plans to appeal the verdict and that Sitzer/Burnett saga is far from over. Despite Kasper’s determined attitude about the future of the Sitzer/Burnett suit, she did warn members that additional plaintiffs may come forward to make similar allegations in new cases.

“In short, we are in the midst of a very complex legal situation, and we are working around the clock to evaluate the situation and get the very best advice about a path forward,” Kasper said.

With the final ruling and injunction still unknown, Kasper acknowledged that there is a large amount of uncertainty swirling in the industry. As the NAR and industry awaits answers, Kasper told agents that it is more important than ever before to “maximize transparency” with clients, making sure they understand all of their choices and what services and value agents provide them with.

“Continue to express that the commissions are negotiable and set between you, their broker, and themselves,” Kasper said. “Explain clearly how you get paid and what you are charging. For buyers this includes paying for your services directly plus options to obtain some or all of that fee through other means such as offers of compensation form a listing broker, all of which would be specified in your buyer representation agreement.”

Moving forward, Kasper promised to continue to communicate with members and answer their questions, when information becomes available.

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