Industry News

Lawsuit over exclusive listing offer

Iowa Realty accused of anti-competitive practices

An independently owned Coldwell Banker brokerage company in Des Moines, Iowa, has accused a local competitor of anti-competitive practices in conjunction with a new incentive program used to attract exclusive home listing agreements. The Coldwell Banker company leveled the charge in a federal lawsuit filed Thursday. Coldwell Banker Mid-America Group Realtors alleged that Iowa Realty and First Realty, both units of Home Services of America, used their market dominance in Des Moines to eliminate competition by creating a category of for-sale listings that would be exclusive to Iowa Realty and First Realty agents. The dispute erupted after Iowa Realty/First Realty this month announced a new program called "Passport Listing" that offers incentives to homeowners in exchange for an agreement to list exclusively with the brokerage, according to Carolyn Helmlinger, president of the Des Moines Coldwell Banker franchise. An exclusive listing restricts agents from outside brokerages from show...