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Opinion: NAR’s rule changes continue to put consumers first

New MLS guidelines offer transparency for real estate home buyers and sellers

Change is inevitable, and there is arguably no industry more prone to change than American real estate. From rapid technological advancements employed by real estate agents to innovations surrounding ways consumers can view housing information, the market has continued to adapt and evolve to better serve American consumers. Guidance changes recently adopted by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) show progress continuing to be made to uphold this commitment.

We passed these rules because it best serves consumers.

After an overwhelmingly favorable vote by our Board of Directors on Nov. 15, NAR announced changes to our guidance for local broker marketplaces that will help protect transparency for American consumers. These changes more explicitly state what is already the spirit and intent of the NAR Code of Ethics and local broker marketplace guidance: We remain committed to consumer transparency and broker participation. 

Specifically, the changes reinforce that local broker marketplace participants do not represent brokerage services as free. They guarantee that compensation offered to buyer agents is disclosed freely and openly. And they ensure listings are never excluded from search results based on the amount of compensation offered to buyer agents. 

We passed these rules because it’s the right thing to do.

NAR has worked closely with a number of agencies within the federal government to advance pro-consumer reforms like the ones we announced this week. In adopting these specific changes, we are proceeding with the agreement we made with the Department of Justice (DOJ) in November 2020. 

The DOJ’s July 2021 move to withdraw from a fully binding agreement NAR had begun to implement – and is now implementing – is a breach of agreement and the law and a disservice to U.S. consumers everywhere. The DOJ must be governed by principle, and NAR’s simple expectation for the department is that it will live up to its commitments. 

We passed these rules because it will improve the industry.

Grounded in our commitment to act in the best interests of home buyers and sellers, we regularly review and update our guidance for local broker marketplaces to continue to advance efficient, equitable and transparent practices. 

These changes best serve home buyers, sellers and their agents by providing them with a transparent hub in which they can navigate through every option before finding their home. We take this responsibility seriously, and we remain ready to reinforce our pro-consumer, pro-competitive guidance however possible. 

These changes underscore NAR’s commitment to acting in the best interests of home buyers and sellers. We are proud to be affiliated with many of the local brokers marketplaces around the country and look forward to our continued pursuit of the most efficient, equitable and transparent practices possible. 

Charlie Oppler is immediate past president of the National Association of Realtors.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of RealTrends’ editorial department and its owners.

To contact the author of this story:
Charlie Oppler, NAR’s immediate past president — NARPresident@NAR.Realtor

To contact the editor of this story:
Tracey Velt, editorial director — tvelt@realtrends.com

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