Lawsuits Against Realtors Are Long Overdue

Who doesn’t love a certified letter? Everybody…that’s who. So you can imagine how unsettling it is to get a message from the office saying, “You’ve got (certified) mail.” Never a good day. 

Today, I’ll tell you about some eye-popping legal situations developing against Realtors, why this is overdue, and what this means if you’re selling a home this year.  If you’d rather, feel free to check out the video version. 

I know the puckering effect of a simple certified letter, so I can only imagine the physical, mental, and emotional toll from notification that a multi-BILLION dollar lawsuit has been filed with you as a defendant. Talk about wanting to go fetal and start investigating bartending school.

The Legal Battle and Its Implications:

Recent lawsuits against the National Association of Realtors and traditional brokerages like Keller Williams, Remax, Howard Hanna, Century 21, and Coldwell Banker are bringing a critical issue to the forefront: the traditional commission structure in real estate transactions.

In the landmark $1.8 Billion ruling Burnett v. NAR, plaintiffs, made up of recent home sellers, successfully challenged the long-standing practice of how sellers are charged commissions, arguing it’s unfairly costly for sellers. 

These lawsuits also challenge the age-old practice of forcing sellers to offer a commission to a buyer’s agent to negotiate against them. We never thought this made sense, but most sellers felt they had to offer it or risk buyer agents boycotting their listing.

Impact on the Housing Industry:

So, what does this mean for the industry? If the ruling stands and others follow suit, we’ll likely see a significant shift toward more transparent and equitable handling of commissions. This could include unbundling services, offering more flexible and less expensive commissions, and ultimately empowering sellers with more choices and fewer mandatory costs.

Perhaps the biggest future change involves buyers directly paying for any services they require from a buyer’s agent. In the past, buyer agent commissions were typically baked into the price of the home, which led to buyer agents claiming their services were “free.” The DOJ finally outlawed this unethical practice in 2021. 

Who actually pays the Realtors?

So how does this work…In the traditional commission structure, sellers pay their listing agents 6-7% of the sales price, and the listing agent splits that commission with the buyer’s agent. If there’s no buyer’s agent, the listing agent becomes a dual agent and keeps the whole commission. Don’t get me started on that one.

Just like the chicken and the egg, people have long debated who actually pays the agents. Some argue sellers pay it since it comes out of their proceeds at closing. Others argue that buyers pay it in the form of higher prices since sellers include commissions when pricing their homes. 

Having spent the last two decades in this business, I can promise you that this confusion is on purpose. Traditional agents WANT you to be confused, so you’ll just accept the system the way it is. They want you to believe that it costs what it costs, that everyone else has accepted this model, and you just need to shut up and go along with it if you want to sell your home.

This is probably why real estate commissions in the US are 2-3 times higher than the rest of the world. 


Ohio Property Group’s Stance:

So, here’s where our firm, the Ohio Property Group, comes into the picture. While these legal battles are new, our approach isn’t. Since 2003, we’ve specialized in the flat fee approach. This means that instead of charging you 6-7% of your selling price to work with you, we’ll sell your home for a low flat fee. No percentages, no hidden costs. 

For flexibility, we have other packages available, giving our sellers the option to choose and only pay for the services they actually want. The less we are involved, the less they pay.  Plus, our fees are never based on the price of the home.

And, best of all, and unlike nearly all traditional realtors, if there’s no buyer’s agent involved, then our sellers pay no commission. Complete control and consistent fees with total transparency. 

Empowering Sellers with Maximum Control:

Speaking of buyer agents, from day one, we’ve never forced our sellers to offer a traditional buyer agent commission. They can offer one or not; and if they do, the seller decides how much or how little. Believe me–that’s almost unheard of in this business. 

The thing is, our model isn’t a reaction to these lawsuits; it’s a proven system that aligns with where the real estate industry is headed. We’ve been at the forefront, advocating for fairness and transparency in real estate for over 20 years

In Conclusion…

In essence, we’ve been practicing tomorrow’s version of real estate since before FACEBOOK was invented, Finding Nemo was still in theaters, and people were still listening to actual iPods. By the time the traditional brokerages being sued right now catch up to us if they even survive this nightmare, we’ll be even more experienced with flat fee and unbundling. 

We’ve been there, done that, and have the track record to prove it. Our sellers save millions in commissions every year working with us. 

Want to know how much you can save with a flat fee listing? Then grab your free seller net sheet. This free service estimates what you will be paying and, more importantly, what you will have leftover if you sell with us. Just tell us a few things about your property, and we will send it right over. 

If you want to know a little more about our Flat Fee system, check out the videos on our “HOW IT WORKS” page, or if you want more personal advice, schedule a 20-minute call with me. That way, we can go a little deeper. 

In the meantime, keep sending your questions. Your best bet is to send me a message at I read and respond to every email…eventually.

glen whitten ohio mls flat fee real estate broker
Ohio Property Group, LLC
Author: “You Can Sell It”

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