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Real Estate

Redfin’s listings to disclose agent commissions

Listings platform says disclosure brings transparency to an area that has been criticized as opaque

The commission gobbled up by a homebuyer’s real estate agent will now be posted on Redfin’s listings.

The home listings aggregator announced Monday that they have made public the buyer’s agent brokerage fee on 700,000 listings spread across 65 Multiple Listings Services, which are the National Association of Realtor-created databases of homes for sale that Redfin (and Zillow and other home listings websites) take their information from.

Redfin’s announcement is the first shoe to drop from the settlement reached in November between the NAR and the U.S. Justice Department’s Antitrust Division.

Under that deal, the MLS operator/lobbying group for real estate agents agreed that they could no longer keep Redfin and other websites from posting an agent’s commission fee.

Redfin already makes its own agents post the fee in the “property details” section of a Redfin listing. Making other agents disclose “could usher in a whole new era of price competition that saves consumers billions of dollars in fees,” trumpeted Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman in a statement Monday.

How agents will react to the world knowing exactly how much they stand to make on a sale is to be determined. A message left Monday with the NAR was not returned.

Zillow, and other websites like Trulia and Realtor.com, have not started posting buyer’s fees. Questions left with Zillow Monday went unreturned.

Typically, a home seller pays a commission of 5% to 6% the price of sale, with the seller’s agent collecting half the fee, and the homebuyer’s agent collecting the other half.

While the home seller knows that they have hired an agent on a contingency fee, a homebuyer can sometimes be left in the dark, the Justice Department settlement contended. Federal antitrust lawyers charged the NAR with allowing buyer-side agents to misrepresent that their services are free, and enabled listings to be filtered based on commission fees.

In reaching the settlement, the NAR admitted no wrongdoing, and noted they were “not subject to any fines or any payments.”

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