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Calling out real estate ‘junk fees’

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It is all over the Internet news. A court ruled that an "admin fee" that real estate brokers sometimes charge buyers or sellers may in some cases be a "junk fee." "In a decision late last month that is sending shudders through the realty brokerage industry, U.S. District Judge Virginia Emerson Hopkins in Birmingham, Ala., ruled that when a realty firm charges clients an 'admin' fee, for which no specific settlement services are performed, the fee violates federal law," Washington Post columnist Kenneth R. Harney reported. Here in Minnesota we have to call the fee a "broker commission." The fee ranges from $200 to $500; the buyer or seller is responsible for paying it; and it is in addition to any commissions paid by the buyer or seller -- the brokerage receives it in addition to any commission split or additional fees taken from the agent. Last year I had a closing where the title company made several mistakes and failed to collect...