Real Estate

A NAR board member tells (almost) all

For this week’s Houses in Motion, a miniseries that is part of HousingWire Daily, we spoke with Lisa Dunn, the partner/owner of Laurel Real Estate Resources in Rancho Santa Margarita, California. Dunn is also a member of the California Association of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors board.

We discussed pressing issues in real estate, including disclosure of agent commission. She also shares what she expects to happen at NAR’s convention next month in San Diego.

Here is a small preview of the interview, which has been lightly edited for length and clarity:

Matthew Blake: Regarding buyer’s agents commissions and whether they should be publicized, do you think that the National Association of Realtors will take action in terms of either preventing multiple listing services from prohibiting that information? Or nudging them to include that information? How proactive do you see NAR on this issue?

Lisa Dunn: Well if the Department of Justice settlement had gone through, then—boom—it would be done. For the California Regional Multiple Listings Service to go ahead and move forward with that, that shows a sign of good faith. 

We know that this is something that the Justice Department wants to see. And I think that most associations are going to agree to do this as a matter of transparency and consumer protection to help the public. I don’t think a whole lot of NAR nudging is going to be needed because they already thought that they were going to have to do this anyhow. And it’s good for the consumer.

HousingWire Daily examines the most compelling articles reported across HW Media. Each afternoon, we provide our listeners with a deeper look into the stories coming across our newsrooms that are helping Move Markets Forward. Hosted by the HW team and produced by Alcynna Lloyd and Elissa Branch. If you have a pitch or an inquiry relating to podcasts, you can reach our team at alloyd@housingwire.com. 

Below is the transcription of the interview. These transcriptions, powered by Speechpad, have been lightly edited and may contain small errors from reproduction:

Matthew Blake: Hello, and welcome to “Houses In Motion,” a weekly real estate podcast that is part of “HousingWire Daily.” I’m Matthew Blake, senior real estate reporter with HousingWire.

On this episode, we spoke with Lisa Dunn, an Orange County real estate agent and member of the National Association of Realtors Board. Dunn has been an excellent source for HousingWire. She is also a face of NAR, an arguable monopoly of agents, brokerages, and multiple listing services that dictate the real estate economy. I thought Dunn provided nuance on NAR’s role on a host of issues, from lowering real estate commissions to letting consumers know how their agent is paid. She also, I thought, provided a glimpse of what is important and what is not for the national group, which is holding its convention next month in San Diego.

But let me know what you think. Please email me at mblake@housingwire.com. That’s mblake@housingwire.com. Lisa, thank you so much for coming on. Welcome to the show.

Lisa Dunn: Oh, thank you for having me.

Matthew Blake: So why don’t you talk a little bit about how you got into real estate and what your current multiple roles are in real estate right now?

Lisa Dunn: I would be happy to. You know, I had a once in a lifetime dream situation come up because if you would’ve asked me when I was in my 20s, you know, “Should you be a realtor?” I didn’t even know what a realtor was. I just figured everybody that sells houses, that’s what they’re called. Because my previous career was in transportation and distribution, which has absolutely nothing to do with real estate, but, you know, we were coming out of some crazy times.

I was, you know, in my early 30s, had my kids and, you know, like, “What am I gonna do? What am I gonna do? I’m really sick of this transportation and distribution.” I had a job there was I was involved in loss and damage freight claims. So every phone call that came in was mean and nasty and negative. So I was just like, “I gotta get out of this.”

And during the time, I’m home with my kids doing some work from home, but I wanted to get out. And there was this ad in the local pennysaver, which people of a certain age will remember actually had value at one in time. And one of the local builders in Rancho Santa Margarita was looking for a part-time real estate hostess and I’m like, “I’m a good brochure flinger. I’d love this job.”

So I go into an interview for it and the gal says, “I’m sorry, you know, you can’t work the hours I need.” And I’m like, “Oh gosh, I’m sorry.” So I wrote her a thank you card, never underestimate the value of thank you card because that’s why I’m here now, telling her, “You know what? I can fill in if needed.” And she said, “Come on in, I’ll train you. You know, I’m taking off next weekend. You can come help this other gal.”

By the end of the day, she said, “Whatever days you wanna work, whatever hours you wanna work, you’re gonna get your real estate license, you’re gonna be my partner. I’m gonna mentor you.” And so it began. And that was back in 1993. And I was basically thrown in head first into the resale real estate while working new homes on the weekends.

So the day I got my license, I was handed 10 listings for one half of a percent each and was told that I had 30 days to get ’em all into escrow. And that was pretty much my life for about 18 months. It was just constant churn, churn, churn, just get these things sold. I could never have asked for a better way to learn the business. I consider myself blessed in that regard because I don’t think there’s too many people that ever would’ve had an opportunity like that for a mentorship with a good agent and to learn the business the way that needs to be done from the get-go.

Matthew Blake: So now you’ve sort of evolved into a role today. Well, let’s talk about both kind of your portfolio of work today so folks get a better sense of what you work on, but then also some of the advisory role that you perform as a real estate agent.

Lisa Dunn: Certainly. And, you know, things have changed a lot since then. You know, back then, the year that I started, or actually when I joined the board for the first time, I received the last MLS book, which I keep in my office here as a little souvenir, and they were just starting to get into the computer age. So I’ve really seen things evolve from the metal lockboxes with the little keys to now the ones that we have that are all electronic and let you know the minute anybody enters anything and more. But over the years, you know, I’ve been doing this now for, you know, about 28 years.

But midway through my career, I had somebody tap me on the shoulder and say, “You know, we need somebody at the local board to be a representative for a certain city’s government, Rancho Santa Margarita. And we think you’d be really good.”

Well, at that point in time, I was still dealing with my kids in sports and high school and running soccer programs and hockey programs. And, you know, I’m like, “I don’t know if I can do this. But if it’s just one committee, you know, my kids are getting older, I might as well try it.” And that was the gateway drug. And the next thing I know I had the association executive for the Orange County Realtors tapping me on the shoulder saying, “You know, you really need to run for the board of directors.” And I’m like, “No, I really don’t,” and like “Yeah, you really do.” And so when my kids were finally off to college, I ran for the board of directors. I was already involved on a lot of committees. But then I ran. I was elected. A couple of years later, I became a treasurer for the board and served on the executive committee.

And then I started going to the California Association of Realtors and became a director there and got involved in many different arenas, a lot of policy arenas. And my bucket list item was to be National Association of Realtors director because it’s a pretty rare spot for the 1.4 plus million. I hear we’re approaching 1.5. You know, there’s not a whole lot of directors. And so to be able to represent our association, it’s just been truly an honor. And I’ve been able to do it…this is my third year, I believe. And I got recently reelected to be NAR director again next year too. But it carries a lot of weight. We are the voice of the realtor population, making decisions for the realtor populations and being an advocate for homeowners because we are really the only advocate a homeowner has.

Matthew Blake: I am really putting on the spot here, but how many directors are there nationally?

Lisa Dunn: Just about 1,000, maybe even a little over. But that’s 1,000 representing 1.4 million plus. You know, it’s actually very small representation when you think about it. And that’s covering commercial, residential, large brokers, small brokers, state associations, local associations. And, you know, it sounds like a lot, but really in the grand scheme of things, it’s not very many. Our association, we have about 14,000 members. We’re the 12th largest in the country. And we have six NAR directors, which is huge, compared most associations are lucky to have one.

Matthew Blake: Let’s get into some National Association of Realtors stuff then, because you’ve been a very candid and willing voice for me this year, and I really appreciate it in talking about the myriad of issues that the National Association of Realtors is facing right now, including a broad investigation by the U.S. Justice Department that the National Association of Realtors is in violation, potentially, of antitrust laws.

So, before we tackle that kind of big philosophical political subject, maybe first, the NAR is holding its first kind of policymaking conference in November in San Diego. It’s kind of the first conference since the Justice Department withdrew from the consent decree and said that they’re pursuing this broader investigation. So what kind of issues do you think will specifically be voted on and discussed at the convention? That’s one question. And then another question is what do you sort of imagine the tenor to be at this convention?

Lisa Dunn: Well, you know, it’s interesting because when we had our May governance meetings, we all thought we were gonna be voting on something, you know, some sort of ratification of what was agreed to with the Department of Justice. And we just all kind of sat there and said, “We’re not hearing anything. I guess we’re not gonna worry about this right now.” You know, we just figured they’re still working things out, knowing that the Department of Justice received our side and we were waiting to hear back from them. And, you know, we already had things in the works to comply with the settlement. A lot of those things are still moving forward. Some of them have stalled out, and we can talk about that a little bit. You know, so we’re kind of miffed at what happened.

And then we heard that the DOJ reneged on the settlement and then it was like, “Okay, so what does this mean?” And we still don’t know what it means.

I personally think that there is a lot of misunderstanding about what it is we do and how we do it. I’ve had friends say, “Well, NAR, it’s just one big monopoly, and you guys are doing antitrust violations and blah, blah, blah.” And it’s like, “Well, you know, the first commissions are completely negotiable.” Nobody’s charging or holding a gun to your head saying, “You have to be charged X amount of a percent or a flat fee or whatever.” If I wanted to work for $5 a transaction, I could work for $5 a transaction. There’s customs, just like any other business. Every business has its customs. But nobody forces us to do this.

In fact, if you want to really worry about clients not being able to fairly negotiate commissions or not understand how the commissions are paid, that’s a brokerage issue. That’s really not a trade association issue. We have a code of ethics we have to follow. They do advocacy for us. They, you know, work with the MLSs, which are…there are hundreds of the MLS providers out there. It’s not a monopoly on there. Local association can have their own MLS, or they can join a very large MLS. You know, there’s this strange misconception that we’re all colluding or something and it’s like it couldn’t be further from the truth.

You know, we call it organized real estate. And that’s so we all, a small brokerage like mine, can operate under the same ground rules as a large corporate brokerage. And we all have basically the same ways to follow. We disseminate information within, you know, our communities, within the multiple listing. We have a duty to cooperate with other brokers. If we do not cooperate with other brokers, we can be run up on charges, grievances and, you know, ethics charges. So I think it’s very misunderstood, to be perfectly honest.

Matthew Blake: In terms of sort of I think the picture you painted of the May conference, I wanted to do a back to that because I thought that was really interesting and sort of how everyone was kind of wondering what was going to come next. And then you had the Justice Department consent decree withdrawal in July.

To get into the weeds a little bit, the original consent decree I think maybe arguably the biggest of the policies that were sort of agreed upon was that the buyer’s agent now must disclose on the MLS what percentage commission they get. And there’s an argument from consumer advocates. I don’t know how true this is. You may argue that it’s not true. But there’s an argument among consumer advocates and plaintiff’s lawyers that buyers’ agents sometimes pull a fast one over, you know, home buyers and act like their services are for free when in fact they’re obviously, in most cases, splitting the commission with a listing agent. And so part of the consent decree said, “Buyers’ agents should disclose on the MLS kind of what the commission is.”

Where are we right now with that? Now that the consent decree has been withdrawn, what is your sense as to what the NAR’s policy is on that and what is your sense as to what might be decided in November?

Lisa Dunn: Well, that was something that actually already is taking place. That was one of the things that a lot of the MLSs had actually prepared for. Let’s be proactive on this. And so we are seeing that on the major third-party aggregators’ sites, you know. I think on individual agent IDX sites, it’s not shown, you know, and that’s just the way that the feeds are set up. But, you know, if you’re Joe consumer and you’re going on your computer and you’re looking for a home using one of those sites that advertises on TV real big, we all know the names of those sites, but I’m not gonna say what they are, you know, those are the places that you need to kind of know, you know, what is being charged.

And it’s funny because probably back in May, I would’ve said that really doesn’t pertain to us. What difference does it make here in the area that I work? You know, really, I couldn’t understand how that would affect my business. However, a friend of mine went to North Carolina to purchase a home. His daughter purchased a home and he purchased a home. And he found an agent out North Carolina to help ’em. And she sent over what’s called a buyer-broker agreement. And in this buyer-broker agreement, the buyer is contracting with this agent that this agent will find them a property and they will get paid. And they will get paid the commission amount specified in the buyer-broker agreement. And in this case, it said 3%.

And he’s in the business and he’s like, “Wait a minute, you never talked to me about this. You never asked me about this. You’re just writing this into this contract.” “No, you’re gonna get paid whatever the MLS says you’re gonna get paid. That’s not my problem. You’re gonna show me houses, and then you’re gonna get paid just like I would get paid in California, which is if somebody offers, you know, X%, you show the house. If it’s half of X%, you show the house.” And he’s like, “I’m not getting on the hook to pay you more money. I don’t even know how much money you’re gonna make.”

And that’s when it all clicked. It’s like, “Oh my gosh, if you’re working with a buyer-broker and you don’t have any knowledge of what you could personally be on the hook for to pay that person, if they’re showing you, you know, I’m just gonna say 1%, you know, houses, but you’re on the hook to pay 3%, you gotta come up with the other 2%.”

And for that not to be explained, again, brokerage issue, I think, because it’s supervision of the agents, the brokers need to be doing a better job of that. But that finally drove it home for me that it wasn’t transparent. We don’t use buyer-broker agreements out here very often. I mean, they are in use, but not as like a standard of practice. So, for myself, I didn’t understand it because we all do business differently across the country. So I think for some areas it’s gonna be a shock for that to happen. Others like CRMLS instituted a couple months ago, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t do anything. And if you’re not gonna take the time to explain your client how you get paid and you’re telling ’em you work for free, nobody works for free. So, you know, they need to do a better job explaining it. And again, I think that’s down at the brokerage level. I don’t think that’s really a trade association rule myself.

Matthew Blake: But I mean, is that something do you think NAR will take action on in terms of either preventing MLSs from prohibiting that information or nudging them to include that information? How proactive or not proactive do you see NAR on this issue?

Lisa Dunn: Well, I think it’s more or less the individual associations, you know, if the settlement had gone through, then boom, it would’ve been done. For CRMLS to do it, and they are the largest MLS provider in California, to go ahead and move forward with that shows that we’re trying to do things with the sign of good faith. We know this is something that the Department of Justice wants to see, and I think that most associations are going to agree to do this as a matter of transparency and consumer protection to help the public. I don’t think a whole lot of nudging is gonna be needed because they already thought that they were gonna have to do this anyhow. And it’s good for the consumer.

Matthew Blake: Not to beat this topic to a dead horse, but do you see any people or entities or companies publicly objecting to the disclosure of buyer side commissions?

Lisa Dunn: I’ve seen some chatter out there in the various trade publications, you know, that people are saying, “You know, that it’s not necessary.” You know, there’s always two sides to every coin. I think most people understand that there’s something to do for transparency for the consumers. Just like moving the listing agent’s name into a predominant spot on many of these third-party aggregators, that’s another thing that’s going on with the MLSs because how many people contact these third parties and think that they’re talking to the listing agent? And that’s huge.

In my opinion, I thought that that was a great move. People were making noise. “Well, that’s not necessary, blah, blah, blah.” Yeah, it is necessary. It’s called being truthful to the public. They need to know who they’re working with. And that’s another way that we can ensure they know who they’re working with and they know how much that person’s getting paid.

Matthew Blake: Yeah, I appreciate you bringing that up. I had Ryan Gorman on the show a few weeks ago, the Coldwell Banker CEO, and he was discussing that. So that’s basically when you go onto Zillow...not really, I guess. I mean, Zillow’s the biggest, but I mean really any of these consumer-facing websites, it can be unclear who the listing agent is, is upon the property. With Zillow, you get the Zillow premier agents, the people who pay Zillow money to advertise themselves as potential buyer agents. But, you know, you even go onto the Coldwell Banker website and you click on a property and it’s not the listing agent, but a local Coldwell Banker agent. So I think that is an interesting issue in terms of consumer transparency. Where is that right now? Will National Association of Realtors take action on that and stipulate changes?

Lisa Dunn: I don’t know if they’re actually gonna be stipulating the changes. I think it’s more of an MLS-driven thing. But it’s just good consumer protection because, to be honest, I had a listing where somebody represented the buyer and two-thirds of the way through the buyer called me up and said, “I’ve had it with this agent. I don’t wanna work with this agent. I thought I was working with the listing agent. I wanted to work with you. And from now on, I’m only working with you because of the misrepresentation that went on and everything else.” So supervision is the number one thing that we lack in this business.

And, you know, for California, I can speak for California Department of Real Estate Laws is broker supervision is something that they look for quite a bit. And if you have brokers that have hundreds and hundreds of agents, and maybe not even know if they’re paying to be super agents on somebody’s site or whatever, you know, they’re doing, and they’re putting themselves in a position like this, well, who’s gonna have to go represent ’em, you know, in court? You know, who’s gonna be representing them? You know, your broker’s license tagged onto these sales agents’ licenses. At least in California, I know some states you have to be a broker to operate in. But, you know, you gotta just know what your agents are doing and it’s vital because this is where the nasty situations can come in.

That agent that had the client who wanted to work with me is really lucky that that person didn’t go out and sue him for misrepresentation. You know, it would’ve been kind of hard to show what the damages were, but there was still misrepresentation and he could have filed an ethics complaint with the local board of realtors, which we do find real money and we can, you know, make people do mandatory education and various other things. So, you know, we do our best to kind of keep everybody on straight and narrow, but anything that we can do to help the public understand what’s going on, showing who the listing agent is, is a great step towards, you know, transparency again.

And some brokerages got all kind of been outta shape with this too thinking, “Oh, this is because listing agents wanna double in transactions.” No, that’s not what this is about. It’s about somebody picking up a phone when they’re being called from a website saying, “Hi, I saw you were looking at this website. Hi, I can help show you that property.” And you have no idea who’s on the other end of that phone.

Matthew Blake: Yeah. I’m going to deluge you more a couple of National Association of Realtors questions.

Lisa Dunn: Go for it.

Matthew Blake: But before I do, I did wanna, you know, acknowledge that I keep wanting to talk with you about the National Association of Realtors and you keep saying, “Well, this might it be more of a brokerage issue.” So maybe talk a little bit more about that. What issues, or what either shortcomings do you see brokerages having right now, or what would you like to see a real estate brokerage do that maybe it’s not doing in terms of policing their agents in terms of like setting ethical guidelines for their agents?

Lisa Dunn: Well, and that’s it in a nutshell, right there, setting the ethical guidelines and having all of your agents commit to withholding those. And that’s part of being a realtor too. By being a member of the National Association of Realtors, you are agreeing to abide by a higher standard and abiding by the realtor code of ethics, which is much, much more detailed than if I was not a realtor and just had to abide by the law. In this business, there is such a rush to say, “I have 100 agents working for me. I have the largest brokerage in this area. I have the largest brokerage in the state.” And it’s like, “Hey, that’s great.” So what are your people doing? And it’s hard. I mean, we’re about 12 people in my brokerage and it’s hard to know what 12 people are doing. So I don’t know how you know what 200 people are doing.

You know, I mean, how do you know who’s doing the transaction? How do you know that they sat down and explained the contracts with their clients? Especially in this age of DocuSign and electronic signings, how many agents are just sending over contracts saying, “Just go ahead and sign this, we’re all good”? And people are just, they got ’em on their phone. They can’t see what’s signing because print’s so small and it goes so fast. You know, there’s a lot of…you know, you need to sit down and take time with your clients and give them that value. You know, everybody thinks that we’re all driving around fancy cars and earning tons of money, which really is not the truth either. Some people are, but most aren’t, just like anything else.

And to earn this money, we need to do our job. And doing our job is explaining to our clients what the ramifications are of signing these contracts, especially in this overheated market that we’ve been in. How many lawsuits are gonna come to agents and their brokers saying, “I was coerced into writing this offer. They didn’t explain this to me. Nobody told me what it meant, you know, that I was writing a noncontingent offer, you know”?

And this is something going around the country. It’s not isolated to any one market. We all have the same electronic tools. But if you’re just not taking the time to explain what a noncontingent offer is when your client’s deposit is at risk, which is most of the time, there’s lots of nuances that go with this. So training agents is the key and training them to do something besides get leads.

You know, we have two kinds of offices out there. One, “Go out and get clients.” “What do I do when I have a client?” “Ah, don’t worry about it. Somebody will help you. Go get clients.” My brokerage, especially, and my philosophy is, “This is my profession. This is my practice. I need to be well-versed and well-educated in what I’m doing, helping people with one of the largest financial transactions they’re ever gonna have in their life.” And that’s where I feel the emphasis should be versus how are you gonna get these sales? So you got these sales, what are you gonna do with them because all that commission money that you’re making can all be wiped out with one lawsuit?

Matthew Blake: Just one final follow-up on that is I get all these press releases as a reporter from different brokerages about like, “We’ve grown our agent count. You know, we now have like gazillion agents, hundreds of thousands of agents.” Is that a new thing or have brokerages always kind of judged themselves by agent count? I’m just curious.

Lisa Dunn: They have done this from the day I got into the industry. It’s all about recruitment. And, you know, when you really think about it, Matthew, think about this, is we’ve got this super tight inventory situation all over the country. It’s not, you know, limited to any one market. It’s all over the country. And we have 1.4 million plus realtors. That’s not counting people that have their licenses that are not members and there’s a lot of them. And if we have limited inventory, that means we’re gonna have limited sales, which means how are all these people gonna make a living?

So you figure probably somewhere between 50 to 60 of the percent of the realtors, more real estate professionals, real estate agents, shall I call ’em, aren’t making a living in this job. They’re either not working. They might pay their dues, which kind of subsidize the rest of us, you know, that are actually working.

And honestly, I wish we would make this profession much, much harder to get into that you have to have some sort of production level and the public is dealing with true professionals, not somebody that sells a house once a year because they can, you know, maybe for a family member, or something. You know, we would be treated better if we took our profession more seriously. But then again, when you have these companies that are making money off of, you know, agent fees, desk fees, and “Pay us, you know, 3,000 a year and you got all your commission,” you know, you get what you pay for. And, you know, maybe the brokerage is making money, but are you really doing a service to the public? And are you doing a service to that agent?

Matthew Blake: Let’s do a couple of specific NAR questions and then we can kind of talk about what the future looks like in real estate. So, to circle back to the convention briefly, do you feel like this year’s convention might have a different feel because of the DOJ investigation and because of national scrutiny about commissions? What are you expecting?

Lisa Dunn: I think for our November meetings, we have internal house cleaning motions that are going to take precedence over the Department of Justice and the commissions, which is basically, you know, some of ’em are just like, “Yeah, we’re gonna be doing our officer elections that we do every year. And, you know, we’re gonna have issues coming out of all of the committees, and we got a lot of committees. So we can always have a lot of issues.” But we have a director selection criteria matter that we have to vote on that is going to change the structure of how many of the directors are selected to get better representation from smaller brokerages and to reformulate the calculations for the assignment of local directors, like such as myself.

You know, some associations are gonna see a reduction, some are gonna see increase. Some, you know, brokerage directors are gonna see a big decrease. A lot of individuals are gonna see a larger increase. So that one’s gonna be something that is probably gonna take up our time. Is that gonna affect the consumer? Absolutely not. Is it gonna affect the realtor on street? Absolutely not. But it’s something that we’re trying to do just to be sure that we’re doing fair representation to all across the spectrum in our industry for representation at NAR.

Matthew Blake: So, I mean, it sounds like…obviously, not to diminish the importance of that, but it sounds like maybe there’s not panic or urgency at NAR at all about these…

Lisa Dunn: I think the legal department probably is really busy. I think that, you know, they’ve got their hands full figuring out what they’re gonna do with this, which is something that, you know, they have their strategy that they need to work out. And considering, you know, it hasn’t been that long, this monkey business to ensue, I think that they’re still trying to figure out, “What’s the DOJ wanting out of us? What can we do right now to keep us out of their crosshairs? What can we do to better educate them, you know, so they’re not coming after us thinking that we’re the big, bad boogieman?”

One thing that I know that isn’t getting any traction, that’s kind of interesting, you know, we talked about the buyer commission, which, we’re moving forward on that, but it’s that whole lockbox thing.

Matthew Blake: Yeah. And so just to clarify both to listeners, but also I think to myself, I mean the lockbox issue, as I understand it, is that non-NAR members want access to lockboxes that open properties so they can show properties to their clients. Correct?

Lisa Dunn: Yeah, and, you know, I would love to know where the Department of Justice got this complaint, you know. You know, involved on a local level, state level, and national level, I’ve never heard anybody say, “We can’t get into houses. Let us get into houses.” So, you know, that one personally I don’t understand. And I think that’s the one thing that a lot of people just said, “You know what? If we’re gonna backburner something, that one doesn’t really have any effect on the public,” because if you have a listing and you gotta sign in the yard, there’s a phone number on it. You can call it, make an appointment, get in just like anybody else, show up for an open house. You know, I mean, there are millions of ways to get in the house. It’s just maybe not with a lockbox.

Matthew Blake: Yeah. That all said, I’m a little surprised that NAR might table the issue, not because it’s important, I think you make a good argument that it might not be important at all, but just because I think the Justice Department had included it in their consent decree from November that there should be lockbox access to non-NAR members. Are you afraid at all that this is going to sort of, I don’t know, poke the bear, or whatever the metaphor is, upset the Justice Department?

Lisa Dunn: I’m gonna trust that the attorneys know, you know, what not to poke on that. You know, I think that the lockbox issue was a big…that was a big contention because every area uses different lockboxes. Like I can’t go down to San Diego without getting like a guest code to get into one of the San Diego lockboxes, which I’ve done. I’ve done that myself. However, if a San Diego agent comes up and tries to get into my lockbox, we don’t have a guest code. So we can’t do it. You want in, you just gotta arrange it with me and I’ll be happy to get you into the listing.

And I think overall, you know, from a realtor standpoint, I don’t care if you’re a member or not. You know, I don’t care. If you’ve got a client who wants to buy my listing and you wanna abide by the terms of my listing and accept, you know, the compensation that my seller is willing to see the buyer’s representative gets, I have no issue with that at all. And that’s also something too that we don’t really talk about on the commission front. The seller knows. The seller can say, “I want you to offer more, I want you to offer the same, I want you to offer less.” The seller dictates that. We can go in and suggest, just like we can suggest on prices and terms and everything else. But it’s ultimately up to the seller. But then, again, it’s also up to us to explain that to the seller.

Matthew Blake: So, again, I appreciate your thoughts about kind of the National Association of Realtors, their upcoming convention, whatever heat they’re feeling right now. The reason that I’m so interested in this is because I do think that there could be some change in commissions, there could be some change in how real estate agents do business, and how homes are bought and sold in the United States. And so that’s, you know, why I find this important and interesting. So I guess with that in mind, like, why don’t we maybe conclude here with like what do you sort of see actually changing in real estate? Like if we were to talk to each other like a year from now or three years from now, like, what might be different?

Lisa Dunn: Well, I would say everything will be different and nothing will be different because as long as we are humans, we’re still gonna want that personal touch. There’s so much emotion that goes into a home, the home purchase, the home sale, that this whole notion that it’s gonna be a one-stop shop and everything’s gonna be fine and people don’t wanna interact with humans, you know, that they can do it all online. You know, they’ve been saying that the internet was gonna put the real estate brokerage out of business. They’ve been saying that for 20 years. And here we are. We’re still here. In fact, more people are using realtors today than they were 10 years ago.

So I think really it’s just gonna be the little nuances in how we do the business. I think we’re gonna be seeing like online notaries, remote notaries coming in instead of having people come to your house to do a notary, or you go into the UPS store. It’ll be all done electronically.

I think the lenders are gonna be still playing a critical issue. I think they’ve got the same issues that we have, that it is personal. You do need to know you have somebody fighting on your side. And every transaction’s different. So I think that we’re gonna probably have some new ways to do things. We’re always looking for ways to build a better mouse trap. And as long as we can embrace those good ways of doing it without sacrificing, you know, the service that we give to the clients, then, you know, we’ll be just fine. But it would just be the same, but different.

Matthew Blake: Yeah, I think it’s a time of great flux right now. You know, you and other people conveyed to me, there’s not a lot of clarity in terms of what DOJ maybe wants out of NAR. And then we have these multiple issues, which you’ve laid out with Zillow. And then we have an issue of sort of an almost evergreen high demand, low inventory market, it seems, or at least for the past year. So thank you for speaking about all of these, I think, important and interesting issues for people who are in real estate, for home buyers and sellers, for anyone who lives in shelter. Lisa Dunn, LAUREL Real Estate Resources, thank you very much for appearing on “Houses In Motion.”

Lisa Dunn: My pleasure. Thank you for having me.

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