The NAR Settlement Explained

On Friday, the National Association of Realtors reached a $418-million settlement agreement aimed at resolving all litigation initiated by home sellers pending court approval. Here’s a breakdown of the terms:

NAR will disburse $418 million over the next four years. The initial payment of $197 million is slated within 90 days of final settlement approval, followed by $72 million after a year, another $72 million within two years, and the remaining balance with interest in the third year.

The settlement addresses all claims against the following entities:

  • NAR
  • All state and local Realtor associations
  • All association-owned MLSs
  • Brokerage firms led by an NAR member and with sales volume below $2 billion in 2022
  • Over a million NAR members, including agents and brokers

However, this settlement does not encompass the ongoing lawsuits brought by homebuyers dubbed Batton 1 and Batton 2, which will proceed separately.

Furthermore, the settlement designates HomeServices of America as the lone defendant in the Sitzer/Burnett case.

Analysis: This settlement marks a significant victory for NAR, ensuring its financial stability without facing bankruptcy. While the $418 million payout is notably less than the initial $1.78 billion order following the Sitzer case, NAR maintains control over (most) MLSs and averts potential membership loss stemming from optional MLS access. Yet, uncertainty looms regarding the Department of Justice’s stance on this settlement, leaving unanswered questions about the nationwide licensee count and potential financial implications for NAR in the future.