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How Are You Communicating Seller Choices in Light of the NAR Lawsuit?

Education & Training with The Lones Group, Inc.

The Lones Group, Inc.

Seller Strategy: How Are You Communicating Seller Choices in Light of the NAR Lawsuit?

The class-action lawsuit against the National Association of REALTORS® and a number of MLSs around the country should have you taking notice. The plaintiffs allege that because of the way buyer-agent compensation has been framed-up to sellers, it has created cooperation amongst brokerages and therefore is a violation of anti-trust law.

Whether true or not, which is up to the courts to decide, many MLSs have already taken action to alter their forms and provide agents with best-practices education. However, if you are still doing your listing presentations the way you always have, this is a very good time to reevaluate and make sure you are presenting compensation issues in a way that keeps you out of danger.

As a real estate professional, it is important to update any marketing materials you have that explain compensation, especially anything that you use which explains how compensation is paid and who is responsible for paying it. If you are a Club Zebra member, take a look at the sample resources below and use them to help guide your conversations with sellers. Using visuals like this can make it easier for your clients to understand their choices and what is in their best interest.

Club Zebra Members

Check out these great resources from the Vault and use them to help guide your listing discussions!

Your Home-Selling Strategy

This 8.5" x 11" document can be easily printed off as an agenda item for your listing presentations.

Infographic: Your Home-Selling Strategy

These social media posts will intrigue potential sellers and get them asking questions about the six elements that create the seller's strategy.

Although your seller process may differ, there are essentially six elements that make up a listing strategy. This strategy should take into account the seller’s listing timeline, time and energy they have to do repairs and maintenance, how they want to handle their listing in terms of other agents and buyers, and who they select for their listing agent in terms of their marketing and photography program. Specifically, those six elements that make up a seller’s strategy includes:

  • Home Preparation
  • Home Pricing Strategy
  • Photography and Marketing
  • Buyer Enticements
  • Buyer Showings
  • Reviewing Offers

It is key to communicate to your seller that there is no industry standard for these strategic elements, that creating this strategy is the seller’s choice. When discussing your recommended methods, it is important that the seller understand that these are your personal methods that you follow in your business or are outlined by your brokerage.

Listing Presentation System
Whether you need help with a specific section of your presentation or you are ready to take it all to a whole new level, we can help.

Although you may talk about these six elements individually at a listing presentation, packaging these together into a single strategy discussion is likely different from what other agents are doing, providing you with a point-of-difference over your competition.

Does your listing presentation include language that will keep you out of trouble? Make sure you are discussing your services and seller options correctly!


By Denise Lones CSP, M.I.R.M., CDEI - The founding partner of The Lones Group, Denise Lones, brings nearly three decades of experience in the real estate industry. With agent/broker coaching, expertise in branding, lead generation, strategic marketing, business analysis, new home project planning, product development, Denise is nationally recognized as the source for all things real estate. With a passion for improvement, Denise has helped thousands of real estate agents, brokers, and managers build their business to unprecedented levels of success, while helping them maintain balance and quality of life.

The Lones Group, Inc.


Toby Barnett
KW North Sound - Marysville, WA
Toby Barnett

Attending last years Legal Symposium she a lot of light into the national lawsuits and hoping this years symposium has a good update. The NWMLS has held classes and discussed at length what could be possible outcomes could mean for the industry.

May 05, 2023 10:20 AM
Denise Lones

There has been a lot of conversation about this among my coaching clients. Here in Washington State, the larger Northwest MLS took the initiative a couple years ago to make SOC transparent, which sparked a ton of debate among agents that is still happening today. This is a healthy discussion and agents need to know how to safely communicate commission options and defend their personal commission costs. Thank you for your comment Toby, it will be interesting to see what this results in for the industry. - Denise

May 05, 2023 10:35 AM
Doyle Davison
Hawaiian Beaches Hawaii - 714-968-6767 - Huntington Beach, CA
30 years as your Concierge services listing broker
I swear some people can create a lawsuit over a rock with the wrong spots. As if we don’t have enough to worry about keeping transactions together… antitrust laws for commissions to agency disclosures to multiple addendums and additions. Just one wrong word and bang…
May 05, 2023 10:26 AM
Denise Lones

I think that this is an important discussion to be having. If there is a public perception out there that this is happening, we (agents, NAR, MLSs, etcetera) need to face it head-on and correct that perception. Thanks for being part of the discussion Doyle. Good to meet you! - Denise

May 05, 2023 10:37 AM
Dr. Paula McDonald
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

We have been keeping a close eye on this case here in Texas. And, it is always good practice to make sure our clients understand the compensation side of our business.

May 05, 2023 11:25 AM
Denise Lones

Paula - I'm curious, what is the status of SOC transparency in the State of Texas, either for brokerages or MLSs? In Washington's largest MLS, Northwest, disclosure of seller offered commission has been required for a couple years. It has been very interesting watching industry adjust. Good to see you again - Denise

May 05, 2023 11:30 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Denis0- I'm so glad this was featured!  I'm not an agent so not quite sure what all of this means but it does sound like something that all agents need to be aware of. 

May 05, 2023 07:46 PM
Denise Lones

Thank you Kathy! At its core it's how agents get paid and how to communicate that to buyers and sellers. There's a public perception factor here too though. It's bad for the industry if trade groups, agents, and brokerages are perceived to be conspiring. Agents should be able to confidently justify their value and at the same time communicate choice to the client. This is a good opportunity for agents to reflect on how they do that. - Denise

May 08, 2023 10:15 AM
Edward Gilmartin
CRE - Boston, MA

It always seemed confusing that buyer agents are representing buyers but being compensated by sellers .

May 06, 2023 02:32 AM
Kieran Jackson

That is an interesting point to consider. I can't remember any wording from the listing agreement we used in Ohio. I haven't practiced there since early 2011. However, in California, the CAR Forms listing agreement clearly states that the listing brokerage is getting X% (let's say 6) of the sales price; And that the brokerage is a member of (whichever) MLS and under that MLS the listing broker will pay the buyer's broker X% of the listing broker's commission. (Not in these exact words, but very close). Also, the CAR forms in California are written by a group of attorney's who make updates often.

So back to your reply Edward Gilmartin I would assume that the wording on our listing agreement makes it clear to the seller that they are only compensating the seller's broker.

I am going to look into this in detail though.

All the best. 

May 07, 2023 08:14 PM
Carla Freund
Keller Williams Preferred Realty - Raleigh, NC
NC Real Estate Transition & Relocation 919-602-848

I've been selling here for 16 years and it has always been spelled out in our listing agreement. If an agent doesn't explain it sellers till see it if they read through the agreement. I do believe it is important for sellers to understand.

The problem with buyers paying their BA side is the buyer is already bringing so much to closing and coming up with an additional percentage may be difficult for some since it isn't financed into the loan. I think it will ultimately hit sellers in selling price/home value or closing costs. I'm already beginning to see buyers ask for closing cost just to help them get into a home.

May 06, 2023 06:42 AM
Kieran Jackson

Yes! What I've seen in some commercial transactions that I've participated in, they often have buyer broker agreements in place for the commission. When this is the case, when the buyer makes their offer and negotiates price, they keep their commission commitment in mind.

All the best!

May 07, 2023 08:17 PM
Denise Lones

What Carla Freud outlines here is the classic reason for this type of arrangement. I would add that there is a marketing element here too. A listing offering a low-to-no SOC (seller offered commission) may be less enticing to buyer agents. On the other hand, the buyer agent should consider the advantages of a buyer representation agreement as a solution for balancing the needs of buyers with the needs of the buyer agent's compensation in the event of a buyer having interest in a low-to-no SOC listing. As I said earlier, agents should not be shy about discussing compensation and be able to articulate their value. A good agent brings tremendous value to both buyers and sellers. - Denise

May 08, 2023 10:30 AM
Janice Zaltman
United Realty Group - Boca Raton, FL
Energy Efficient And Eco-Friendly Homes in Florida

Think the whole compensation/commission structure needs some shifting. Sellers want us to cut our commission  and was told by re teams that they won't show a property that does not offer a full commission because they have to share it with the head of their team. And if the property does not sell, we are not compensated for our time, energy or monies spent. 

May 08, 2023 07:06 PM
Emily Medvec

"and was told by re teams that they won't show a property that does not offer a full commission because they have to share it with the head of their team."  IMO this is why there are the lawsuits! 

Oct 13, 2023 04:21 PM