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“Enough is enough.” Redfin leaves NAR in wake of sexual harassment allegations

Redfin said that it has paid “more than $13 million in dues" since 2017

Redfin will soon be requiring agents to cancel their National Association of Realtors membership.

In a letter published on Redfin’s website on Monday, Glenn Kelman and Redfin’s leadership team, including Anna Stevens, Anthony Kappus, Bridget Frey, Chris Nielsen, Christian Taubman, Jason Aleem, and Keith Broxterman, said that Redfin is moving to end its support of NAR.

After what the firm described as “careful deliberation,” Redfin will begin “requiring our brokers and agents to leave NAR everywhere we can. Most brokerages are only a loose affiliation of independent agents, and none of us wants to impose a policy that could alienate any of the people who generate our revenue.”

The letter listed two main reasons for the brokerage’s decision: “NAR policies requiring a fee for the buyer’s agent on every listing” and “a pattern of alleged sexual harassment.” 

Since joining NAR in 2017, Redfin said that it has paid “more than $13 million in dues, in an effort to influence NAR to advocate for an open, technology-driven marketplace that would benefit consumers.” In leaving NAR, the brokerage said it will explore other ways to achieve those goals.

The letter also stated that the allegations of sexual harassment at NAR further increase the discomfort Redfin executives felt about NAR.

Redfin had already resigned from its national board seat at NAR in June, prior to the sexual harassment allegations came to light. The brokerage said it made this move due to the fact that NAR policies blocks sellers from listing homes that don’t pay a commission to the buyer’s agent, and it blocks websites like from showing for-sale-by-owner listings alongside agent-listed homes.

“Removing these blocks would be easy, and it would make our industry more consumer-friendly and competitive,” the letter states.

Kelman and other Redfin executives wrote that the all-or-nothing approach Redfin is having to take with Realtor association membership has been forced on the firm by NAR’s rules.

“NAR rules require us to leave local and state associations even when our only beef is with the national association,” the letter states. “The rules require that for a broker to be a member, she must pay dues for each of the agents under her supervision, regardless of whether an agent wants to be a member. The rules further say that if a broker isn’t a member, no agent under her supervision can be a member.”

Despite this decision, Redfin said that in roughly half of the U.S., including major markets like Charlotte, Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas, Long Island, Minneapolis, Nashville, Phoenix and Salt Lake City, Redfin agents will not be able to leave NAR, as NAR membership is required for agents to access listing databases, lockboxes, and industry-standard contracts.

Due to this, Redfin asked that NAR “decouple local access to these tools, including the listing databases known as Multiple Listing Services, from support for the national lobbying organization. Agents shouldn’t have to underwrite policies and legal efforts that hurt consumers when most of us got into real estate to help consumers.”

The Redfin executives states that the firm will continue to support the MLSs.

“We love our industry. We’ve tried to love NAR. But enough is enough,” the letter states.


  1. It is unfortunate to see a market participant leave the Realtor family. Many buyers do not have funds to pay a buyer’s agent out of pocket, in addition to closing costs and a down payment. This is more critical today where buyers’ budgets are particularly challenged. We will soon learn if the courts agree that the present system of sharing commissions benefits both the buyer and seller. Regardless of the outcome of the pending lawsuits, consumers trust the Realtor brand and commitment to a Code of Ethics that sets members apart from the agents who do not make such a commitment.

  2. I believe Redfin’s seemingly altruistic reasons for leaving NAR would be more believable if they were a profitable company. At the rate and magnitude that Redfin loses money against their dwindling cash on hand, I think it’s just as believable they’re doing it for cost-saving reasons like other corporate measures taken in their earnings statements.

    Redfin cited two reasons for leaving NAR. One is allegations of sexual harassment. Why not wait until allegations are proven as fact? If that culture is pervasive, then it’s bothersome Redfin sat on the NAR Board for over six years bearing witness. Did they try and stop it? Was Redfin on a board committee that tried to root out this conduct? Kelman’s letter didn’t say.

    The second reason was the NAR requiring a buyer-agent fee. I’m a member of Bright MLS, the second largest MLS in the county, which also happens to be in one of Redfin’s top 10 markets. There is now, and has been previously, no requirement for a Listing Broker-Agent to pay a buyer-agent fee. Most probably an experience in many of Redfin’s markets. I’m a skeptic of the reasons cited in Kelman’s letter, and more confident in the reasons cited in their earnings statements.

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