Editor's note: Every few years, Realtors and their commission structure come under scrutiny and it is happening again now. In this three-part series, we examine whether commissions are going up or down and what's adding pressure to the debate. (See Part 2 and Part 3.) Real estate agent commissions are a favorite topic of discussion lately, with the popular press poking at the traditional model with questions about compensation and the industry growing defensive over the issue. Pressure is mounting on the standard 6 percent commission model, with a number of factors contributing. The federal government shined a light on the industry with an antitrust lawsuit against the National Association of Realtors last September, and by publicly opposing several Realtor-backed state bills that would effectively ban some discount service models. Two other notable forces adding pressure on commissions are the groundswell of agents entering the business in the last few years and the availabilit...
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