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Realtor group says no to consumer rebates

Bills would allow cash incentives for buyers, sellers in New Jersey

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The New Jersey Association of Realtors is opposing legislation that would allow real estate brokers and agents to provide cash rebates or other gifts to buyers and sellers. Members of the state's Real Estate Commission, a regulatory agency that enforces licensing law in the state, has considered the legislation but hasn't yet announced a position. Assembly Bill 373 and Senate Bill 139, introduced by state Assemblyman Patrick J. Diegnan Jr., D-South Plainfield, N.J.; and state Sen. Nicholas P. Scutari, D-Linden, N.J.; seek to amend a provision in the state's real estate law that generally prohibits payment of a "rebate, profit, compensation or commission" to any person who is not a real estate licensee. While officials at the U.S. Department of Justice's Antitrust Division have taken action to oppose bans on rebates in several states, New Jersey Association of Realtors officials contend that the offer of rebates can actually be harmful to consumers. Jarrod Grasso,...