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Navigating the Post-NAR Verdict Landscape: Why a Buyer’s Agent is Still Your Best Bet in Real Estate

Nathan Jennison
April 10, 2024

Wondering how the NAR verdict changes things for you as a buyer or affects your real estate agent? The ruling not only imposes a $418 million settlement on the National Association of Realtors but also demands a shift in commission structures. In this article, we’ll cut straight to the heart of these changes, exploring how they affect your wallet, your options in the real estate market, and sound advice to protect your home purchase.

What happened— The $418M Settlement

In April 2024, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) agreed to a $418 million settlement. This settlement marks the end of longstanding regulations mandating that home sellers cover the commission costs for both their own broker and the buyer’s broker.

Illustration of a gavel and money to represent a court settlement related to inflated realtors commissions.

At the heart of the litigation was the practice of tying buyer and seller commissions together, primarily via Multiple Listing Services (MLS). This practice, some argue, has led to stifled competition and escalated fees in the real estate market.

How it will likely shake out for Real Estate Commissions

The verdict against NAR and other real estate organizations may lead to changes in the real estate industry. Some speculate that it will lead to more transparent real estate transactions, which could result in reduced costs for all parties involved.

Illustration of scales of justice to represent new rules and regulations in the real estate industry.

Increased Disclosures

Real estate agents will provide increased disclosure to their clients regarding compensation options. Additionally, displayed commission rates in online MLS databases may also be eliminated, furthering the push toward transparency in real estate transactions.

Competition Among Agents

The outcome of the antitrust lawsuit signals a potential increase in competition among agents and could lead to the development of a competitive pricing system that enhances service quality and delivers cost savings for consumers.

In the wake of the verdict, rising competition is expected to catalyze innovation and diversification in the services offered by real estate agents. Sellers are now advised to push for reduced commissions, aiming as low as 1.5% for listing agents, further highlighting the shifting dynamics in the real estate industry.

Negotiating Commission Rates

As part of the NAR settlement agreement, preset commission rates and shared commissions between buyers and sellers could be abolished. This move, supported by the trade group, paves the way for more flexible compensation models, giving consumers say in negotiating commission rates.

Tips for Homebuyers and Sellers in the Post-Verdict Market

Navigating the post-NAR verdict market might seem challenging, but understanding the changes and their implications can be empowering. Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, it’s critical to understand the value of a buyer’s agent, the importance of negotiating commission rates, and the evolving dynamics of the real estate market.

Many buyers are questioning whether they need an agent, especially when they might be responsible for the commission. However, a buyer’s agent does more than just show homes—they provide invaluable advice, negotiate on your behalf, and have an expert eye for potential problems in properties that you might overlook.

Expert Guidance

Having a buyer’s agent can be incredibly beneficial, providing expertise and guidance throughout the complex process of buying a home. Market knowledge is another area where buyer’s agents provide unmatched value. They understand local market trends, know what comparable homes are selling for, and can provide insights that help you make informed decisions. This expertise is particularly crucial in a shifting landscape, helping you to navigate the market confidently and successfully.

REALTOR® showing homes to home buyers and acting as a guide

Negotiating the Best Price

A Buyers Agent can help you negotiate the best price, spot potential issues with a property, and navigate the local market efficiently. In the post-verdict market, the role of buyer’s agents is more critical than ever, and their value cannot be underestimated. In a post-verdict world, where commission structures might change, a buyer’s agent’s negotiation skills are crucial. They’re not just about getting the price down; they also work to secure terms that benefit you, from repair agreements to closing costs. Furthermore, in a competitive market, having an agent who can strategize effectively can make the difference between securing your dream home and missing out.

REALTOR® showing client paperwork related to negotiations.

Largest Purchase with Protections

Would you represent yourself in a major legal battle? Likely not. Purchasing a home is one of the largest financial decisions you’ll make, involving contracts and negotiations that could have long-lasting implications. A skilled buyer’s agent acts as your advocate, ensuring your interests are protected throughout the entire transaction.

Homebuyer hand writing check for largest purchase they will make with the aid of a buyers agent post NAR verdict.

Finding Your Real Estate Ally

Choosing the right buyer’s agent is more important than ever. You need someone who is not just knowledgeable but also adaptable to the changes in the real estate industry post-verdict. Look for an agent who understands your needs, has a solid track record, and is committed to representing your best interests.

Remember, a good buyer’s agent will help you see beyond the surface of potential homes, pointing out issues or features you might miss, offering insights into the neighborhood, and providing guidance on the true value of a property. They’re your partner in the home-buying process, offering education and support every step of the way to ensure you make a decision that’s right for you.

In conclusion, despite the evolving landscape, the value of a buyer’s agent remains clear. They are not just facilitators but crucial advisors who can enhance your home-buying experience, provide strategic insights, and help you navigate the complexities of today’s real estate market. In the post-NAR verdict era, having a trusted buyer’s agent by your side is more important than ever.

new home buyers hugging in new home kitchen with trusted buyers REALTOR by their side post NAR verdict.

Negotiating Commission Rates

In the new landscape of real estate, commission rates are no longer preset. While there are standard commission rates in traditional real estate transactions, these are not fixed and can could be negotiated. Factors such as market strength, inventory levels, and the potential for future business can influence an agent’s willingness to negotiate their commission.

While negotiating commission rates is part of the new landscape, the value a skilled agent brings can often exceed the cost of their commission through better deal outcomes, saving money in other aspects of the purchase, or finding the right property more efficiently. It’s worth noting that the rates are often a reflection of the value, expertise, and complexity of the services provided by real estate agents.

In summary, while it’s important to negotiate commission rates, a real estate agent is a highly valuable partner in this complex transaction, and you don’t want to step over dollars to pick up dimes!

A realtor reviewing their commission rate post NAR verdict with prospective client home buyer.

Understanding the MLS System

The NAR settlement has sparked significant changes in the MLS system. Commission rates must now be explicitly agreed upon by buyers and their agents, and these rates will no longer be publicly displayed on online MLS databases.

Despite these changes, listing agents retain the ability to communicate buyer’s agent commission through their own websites or directly, maintaining a degree of flexibility in the system. The changes brought about by the NAR agreement could lead to a decline in transparency issues in the MLS system, enhancing buyer awareness of agents’ incentives.

Understanding the changes to the MLS system is crucial for homebuyers and sellers. It’s a new era of transparency and understanding, one that provides consumers with greater control and insight into their real estate transactions.


The NAR settlement represents a paradigm shift in the real estate industry, disrupting traditional commission structures and ushering in a new era of transparency and fairness. From the abolition of preset commission rates to the rise of competition among agents, the landscape is changing, and it’s essential to stay informed and adapt to these changes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happened with NAR?

Answer: The National Association of Realtors (NAR) agreed to pay $418 million over four years to resolve all claims against the group by home sellers related to broker commissions. Additionally, NAR agreed to create a new rule prohibiting offers of compensation on the MLS. This agreement is pending court approval.

How can homebuyers and sellers navigate the post-verdict market?

Answer: Understanding the changes in the market and the value of a buyer’s agent can help homebuyers and sellers navigate the post-verdict market effectively. Negotiating commission rates is also important in this process.

How much can I save by using a buyer’s agent who negotiates effectively on my behalf?

Answer: The savings achieved through effective negotiation by a buyer’s agent can be substantial, but they vary based on the property, market conditions, and the specific terms of the deal. A skilled buyer’s agent doesn’t just negotiate the purchase price; they also work on other aspects of the deal, such as closing costs, repair credits, and contingencies, which can all lead to significant savings.

For example, if a buyer’s agent negotiates a $10,000 reduction on the purchase price of a $300,000 home, that’s an immediate 3.3% savings. If they also negotiate for the seller to cover $5,000 in closing costs, the total savings increase. Additionally, by identifying and negotiating repairs or improvements before the sale closes, an agent can save you even more, not just in money but also in future hassle.

It’s also worth considering the long-term impact of these negotiations. A lower purchase price means lower mortgage payments and potentially less interest paid over the life of the loan, contributing to substantial long-term savings.

What should I look for in a buyer’s agent to ensure they can negotiate effectively?

Answer: When choosing a buyer’s agent, look for someone with a strong track record of successful negotiations. They should have in-depth knowledge of the local market and a keen understanding of property valuation. Excellent communication skills, persistence, and the ability to think creatively and strategically are also crucial. It’s beneficial to choose an agent who comes highly recommended by past clients for their negotiation skills.

Can a buyer’s agent help me understand the true value of a home I’m interested in?

Answer: Absolutely. A buyer’s agent uses their expertise and access to market data to provide you with a comprehensive analysis of the home’s value. They consider comparable sales, the property’s condition, the local market trends, and other factors. This insight helps you make an informed decision on how much to offer and can serve as a strong foundation for negotiation.

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