“You are NOT allowed to discuss commissions,” a Realtor recently wrote in a popular Facebook group. “It is against the Sherman Antitrust Act.” Many agents believe some version of that amateur legal warning to be true. But in most cases, it is not. A legal chill hangs over real estate agents, brokers and franchise personnel who idly chat with one another about anything related to commissions. But current and former attorneys for the National Association of Realtors (NAR), along with other legal experts, say the Sherman Antitrust Act doesn’t bar competitors from merely bringing up the subject of commissions. So where did this legal anxiety originate? From a real estate industry true crime story. The story On September 5, 1974, John Foley, the president of Jack Foley Realty, Inc., hosted a dinner party at the Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland. The guests were nine of the leading brokers in Montgomery County. Following the meal, Foley allegedly st...
- Do not collude with your competitors to fix prices.
- If you talk about commissions, be careful what you say.
- "Better safe than sorry" is sometimes the best policy.