In the CNE Foundations course, we spend some time discussing the idea of having a buyer client ensure our minimum fee.  I always get the same push back from the class.  “I just get my commission from the seller”, and “if the seller isn’t offering enough commission I just write it in that I want it”.   And so far, for the most part, that has worked.    I’ve always said that it is unfair and unreasonable to have the seller pay the buyer’s commission and that sometime soon, this is going to have to change.

And it looks like two of the US’s biggest and most successful law firms agree.

Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll and Hagens Berman Sobol & Shapiro filed a class action lawsuit in Chicago on March 6th against most of the MLS’s in the US and nearly all the biggest brokerages.  It alleges that cooperation and compensation is an anti-trust violation that results in consumer harm and seeks an injunction against forcing home sellers to pay the commissions of the buyer agent.

If you are a real estate agent, you need to read this article

And follow this case over the coming months as this has the potential to unravel the entire infrastructure of how residential real estate is traded.

And while the drama unfurls south of the border, it’s time to start anticipating what this could mean for business in Canada.

This lawsuit will be one of many challenges to the way REALTORS® are currently compensated, At The Nature of Real Estate, we believe that a really skilled REALTOR® is worth every penny they are paid and we will work hard to help ensure that great REALTORS® are still around to help buyers and sellers make great housing decisions. However, most people see a gap between what the average REALTOR is paid, and how much they are worth.

This gap can be closed from the top down or from the bottom up. Those who create massive value with their skills as negotiators, strategists and market experts will certainly see disruption to their practice from coming changes, but ultimately the value they provide is there, and so they can be stable in their relevance. For those who are hiding behind the legislation that is now being challenged, and are using this system as the main protection to their fees, rather than their value being that protection, it’s time to step up.

We can’t know what will come of this lawsuit, or the many other factors of disruption in our industry, but we know that it’s important to pay attention. We’d love to hear your thoughts, and keep the conversation going.