As Sitzer | Burnett unfolds, the New York City trade association announced the upcoming rule change amid a nationwide reevaluation of buyer commission structures.

No one can predict the future of real estate, but you can prepare. Find out what to prepare for and pick up the tools you’ll need at Virtual Inman Connect on Nov. 1-2, 2023. And don’t miss Inman Connect New York on Jan. 23-25, 2024, where AI, capital and more will be center stage. Bet big on the future and join us at Connect.

The Real Estate Board of New York is changing its rules around buyer agent commissions amid broader turmoil around the topic and multiple challenges to the way agents are paid nationwide.

Starting Jan. 1, REBNY rules will prevent listing brokers from paying buyer agents and will instead require sellers to pay commissions directly, a change known as decoupling commissions.

“Listing Brokers will no longer be permitted to make the offer of compensation to the buyside broker – even if it is on the seller’s or owner’s behalf,” REBNY said in a post explaining the change.

The changes are made via the 2024 Universal Co-Brokerage Agreement, which governs REBNY and New York City’s Residential Listing Service. The Real Deal first reported the changes Thursday.

Under the changes, sellers will negotiate a commission directly with a buyer’s broker. If they agree on compensation, the seller or property owner will pay the buyer’s broker at closing, REBNY said.

“In cases where the seller does not offer compensation to the buyer’s broker, the broker’s buyer may negotiate their potential compensation from the buyer,” the organization said.

The RLS and REBNY are independent from the National Association of Realtors, which is currently attempting to make the case in court that its rules around commission sharing don’t violate antitrust laws. It faces challenges in two major class action lawsuits, as well as inquiries by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Still, REBNY’s 2024 Universal Co-Brokerage Agreement includes a clear statement that commissions aren’t universal, and that listing brokers can’t suggest a commission for buyer’s agents.

It also includes a new section around sellers paying commissions. The rule also applies to rental properties.

“For the avoidance of doubt, offers of compensation, if any, to the Co-Broker involving sale and/or resale transactions must originate from the Owner,” it says, adding “the RLS provides the platform to facilitate such offers of direct compensation from an Owner.”

That’s in addition to an updated statement about avoiding commission fixing.

“Neither REBNY nor the RLS shall fix, control, recommend, suggest or maintain commission rates and/or fees for services to be rendered by Participants in the RLS,” the rules say. “Furthermore, neither REBNY nor the RLS shall fix, control, recommend, suggest or maintain the division of commissions and/or fees between cooperating Participants or any other parties.”

REBNY didn’t respond to requests for comment about the changes, which were part of a handful of other updates being made to the agreement. 

Nest Seekers’ Bianca D’Alessio told The Real Deal that she was afraid the change around compensation will give buyers’ agents the upper hand, particularly during buyers’ markets.

“As the market shifts and gets more difficult, a buyer’s agent that feels they’re more in control can leverage that,” D’Alessio said. 

Others told the outlet they appreciated the transparency, and that some buyers are already negotiating commission sharing details before signing listing agreements.

“These amendments promote transparency and consumer confidence in the residential real estate transaction,” Ninve James, a REBNY senior vice president, said in a statement. “They also provide for a more efficient RLS to help New York City brokers and agents do more business.”

REBNY added that it believes decoupling broker compensation is “the future of how residential real estate is transaction, and expect other listing services to follow this lead.”

Email Taylor Anderson

Show Comments Hide Comments
Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Only 3 days left to register for Inman Connect Las Vegas before prices go up! Don't miss the premier event for real estate pros.Register Now ×
Limited Time Offer: Get 1 year of Inman Select for $199SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription