The verdict is in — the old way of doing business is over. Join us at Inman Connect New York Jan. 23-25, when together we’ll conquer today’s market challenges and prepare for tomorrow’s opportunities. Defy the market and bet big on your future.
Each week on The Download, Inman’s Christy Murdock takes a deeper look at the top-read stories of the week to give you what you’ll need to meet Monday head-on. This week: Catch up with the “mother of all lawsuits” and all of the other so-called copycats that have followed in the wake of Sitzer | Burnett.
At the end of the Sitzer | Burnett trial, there was a sense of relief, despite the verdict and its attendant financial reward. “That was bad, but at least it’s over.”
Well, buckle up, buttercup, because the hits just keep on coming in the form of a series of new lawsuits beginning just minutes after the end of Sitzer | Burnett. First it was additional brokerages and other states, then rumors about conversations between the DOJ and the plaintiffs’ attorney from Sitzer and then — wait for it — “the mother of all commission suits.”
“Litigation on the initial cases moved slowly through the courts for the first few years. But since late October, when a jury sided with homeseller-plaintiffs in one of the highest profile suits, consumers have filed a string of new cases in various different states,” according to Jim Dalrymple’s roundup of the ongoing and newly filed suits.
“Defendants’ unlawful, anticompetitive conduct causes America’s home buyers to pay inflated commissions for broker services they misrepresent as free, to pay inflated prices for the homes they purchase, and to receive reduced quality broker services,” the complaint states, adding later: “Plaintiffs and the other Class members have each incurred at least thousands of dollars in overcharges as a result of Defendants’ conspiracy.”
A new consumer survey undertaken by Inman in partnership with Dig Insights that surveyed 3,000 potential homebuyers offers potentially reassuring answers. Signaling the future appetite for buyer agency agreements, 95 percent of active home shoppers reported they would pay agents directly, or would be open to doing so under certain conditions. You won’t want to miss this Inman Intel exclusive.
Beset by the worst market in years, the decay of confidence in the National Association of Realtors (NAR), and, now, the commission ruling, business as usual is in danger of evaporating into the ether. With the coming appeal, writes team leader Carl Medford, it will be some time before the final verdict is reached. However, there are four key realities that you can expect to see in the days ahead.
The events of the past few months have revealed many pain points and weaknesses in the housing industry business model around service, leadership, conduct and accountability. With 2024 less than two months away, Rachael Hite writes that agents need action steps to keep their business going, not more arguments about what’s wrong.
Pulse is a recurring column where we ask for readers’ takes on varying topics in a weekly survey and report back with our findings. This week, we’re really looking for you to weigh in on the state of the industry as we weather the bombshell commission lawsuits. What changes are you seeing already, and what changes are you making?