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Uncovering The Truth Behind NAR’s Settlement: What the Media Got Wrong

Real Estate Agent with Savvy + Company (704) 491-3310 228209

Uncovering The Truth Behind NAR’s Settlement: What the Media Got Wrong

Imagine being a member of the WORLD’S LARGEST TRADE ORGANIZATION - a PAYING member and hearing the news of a lawsuit settlement by your own organization BEFORE we, the members, learned of this settlement? When the media was informed about this settlement (supposedly simultaneously as we, THE MEMBERS of the world’s largest trade association were), they shouted the most preposterous headlines from the mountaintops. I awoke to these stories and was in SHOCK on Friday, March 15, 2024! 

The first thing I heard was the our own trade organization had thrown its own members under the bus -  ‘admitting to collusion, price-fixing, etc.” The biggest issue I had with this whole scenario was that the media found out before we did and we had absolutely NO time to read the settlement and prepare for our clients' questions. What is obvious to me is, that neither did the media read the settlement! Here are just a few examples of those preposterous headlines, both locally and nationally - again, on Friday, March 15.


“National Association of Realtors to cut commissions to settle lawsuits. Here's the financial impact.”

“The 6% commission on buying or selling a home is gone“

The New York Times
“Powerful Realtor Group Agrees to Slash Commissions“

NBC News
“New rules could start saving home buyers and sellers thousands of dollars in lower commissions as soon as this summer“

Associated Press

“Real estate lawsuit settlement upends decades long policies that helped set agent commissions“

“The National Association of Realtors has agreed on Friday, March 15, 2024, to pay $418 million and change its rules to settle lawsuits claiming homeowners have been unfairly forced to pay artificially inflated agent commissions when they sold their home.“

“A powerful real estate trade group has agreed to do away with policies that for decades helped set agent commissions“

Yahoo Finance

“The powerful National Association of Realtors is set to usher in the most sweeping reforms the American real estate market has seen in a century. It could dramatically drive down homebuyers’ costs — and push some real estate brokers out of business.“

ABC News
“Selling a home is about to get cheaper after historic settlement“

Wall Street Journal

“Real-Estate Collusion Is Finally Coming to an End“

Like many Realtors® across the country, the news initially shocked me. But, taking the time to dive into the details of the settlement myself, I realized the media's portrayal was WAY off the mark - not even CLOSE to the details of the real settlement. It wasn't long before calls started pouring in for many agents/brokers, from our current sellers, buyers, and wider network of peers and referral partners. They had loads of questions and understandably so, given the misleading headlines that had been circulating. It was clear the media's spin had left many consumers (and even many agents) confused and concerned.

This settlement introduces changes poised to significantly streamline the real estate industry. It targets agents & brokers who have not been treating their businesses as a business or adhering to the rules and regulations set forth by our trade association - including our CoEs. This move is set to enhance professionalism and compliance within our field and will undoubtedly lead to a substantial decrease in our membership numbers, potentially affecting our status as the world's largest trade association.

How do we combat these sensationalistic (and bitterly misleading) headlines?

Combating sensationalistic and misleading headlines requires a strategic approach, focused on clarity, education and positive communication:

  • Engage with Your Sphere: Make calls to your sphere, use social media, newsletters and your website to share accurate information and insights about the settlement. Make your communications engaging and easy to understand.

  • Educate Through Content: Create content that addresses the misleading headlines directly, offering clear, factual counterpoints. Blog posts, videos, and infographics can be effective formats for breaking down complex issues.

  • Media Relations: Build relationships with local and industry media outlets. Offer yourself as a knowledgeable source to ensure more accurate representations in the future.

  • Leverage Industry Experts: Collaborate with experts within our trade organization and the wider real estate community to amplify our message. Joint statements or interviews can add credibility.

  • Transparency: Be open about the situation, acknowledging the concerns the headlines may have caused without amplifying the negative message. Focus on the positives and how we are addressing the issue.

  • Monitor and Respond: Keep an eye on social media and online forums to quickly correct misinformation. Polite, fact-based responses can help sway public opinion.

  • Encourage Member Advocacy: Empower our members to share their positive experiences and the truth about the situation. Personal stories can be powerful in changing the narrative.

  • Lastly, the best way…Host Q&A Sessions: Organize live Q&A sessions on platforms like Facebook Live, Instagram, or ActiveRain Zoom Calls!! Direct interaction allows us to address concerns, debunk myths and clarify any misunderstandings in real time. We have SUCH an incredibly brilliant group of AR Zoomers at our disposal each and every Tuesday. Why not leverage our collective intelligence to its fullest potential?

By taking these steps, we can help shift the narrative from sensationalism to substance, ensuring our audience receives the accurate information they need. 

We're excited to invite you to come together and delve into the five key issues related to the settlement. It's a great opportunity to exchange ideas on how we can communicate these points to the general public. Looking forward to seeing you on Tuesday!

Here’s the link to our Zoom call, which is 2PM Eastern Standard Time

Hope to see you there!

© Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | Savvy + Company | SavvyBroker@me.com | Uncovering The Truth Behind NAR’s Settlement: What the Media Got Wrong


Alan May
Jameson Sotheby's International Realty - Evanston, IL
Home is where the hearth is.

What the media got wrong?  Everything!  I was so distressed when I saw all of those horrific headlines.  Your common-sense solutions are very well thought out and grounding.  Thank you.

Mar 29, 2024 06:17 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS

SAME here, Alan May! And, my hope is to address individual questions that our sphere is having on our ZOOM call on Tuesday. I believe the common-sense approach is the only one. There are absolutely diplomatic ways we can answer our sphere's concerns. I hope you'll join us and share your wisdom on Tuesday!

Mar 29, 2024 08:26 PM
Bo Zivak
Zivak Realty Group - Nashville, TN
Nashville Real Estate Broker

Insightful read! "Uncovering The Truth Behind NAR’s Settlement" offers clarity amidst misinformation. Thanks for setting the record straight.

Mar 29, 2024 06:28 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS

Thanks, Bo Zivak! This is the tip of the iceberg - a warm-up for our call on Tuesday. I do hope you'll join us and share your thoughts with the group on Tuesday!

Mar 29, 2024 08:27 PM
Dorte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Debe,

Let's fix this with Realtors being overpaid: how about charging $500 per hour, like the lawyers, who brought these lawsuits. I'd be ok with that. As far as all the harm to clients, I have heard about it anecdotally, but who would screw their clients, if you depend on them for referrals? Plus, these people might be your neighbors.

Mar 29, 2024 06:46 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS

You are SO right, Dörte! Why on EARTH would we screw them - they ARE our lifeblood! And, yes, I would take the fee these attorneys make - we work FAR harder and longer hours than they do and we are paid a FRACTION of their fees. Thanks for your insight Dorte Engel. Would love it if you would share it with us on Tuesday's ZOOM call.

Mar 29, 2024 08:46 PM
Leanne Smith
Dirt Road Real Estate - Golden Valley, AZ
The Grit and Gratitude Agent

As I previously posted, the sky is not falling. Negative news especially to the uninformed.

Mar 29, 2024 07:25 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS

No Chicken Littles here either, Leanne Smith! We have missed you on our ZOOM calls - I do hope you'll join us again soon. You have so much to contribute, for sure!

Mar 29, 2024 08:48 PM
Leanne Smith

When activity settles down and I am not out walking a piece of dirt Tuesday's mornings, I hope to be back. The Zoom calls are great.

Mar 30, 2024 05:28 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS

Thank you and we do love having you, Leanne Smith!

Mar 30, 2024 04:14 PM
Matt Kombrink
One Source Realty - Geneva, IL
Your #1 Source For Real Estate

Thanks for putting all this together, Debe. There's so much out there regarding this topic it's so easy to misinformed.

Mar 29, 2024 09:12 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS

Thank you, Matt Kombrink! We will get through this - after we address the misinformation the media has used to scare John Q Public to death!

Mar 29, 2024 08:49 PM
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Realty ONE Group Advocates 484-237-2055 - Downingtown, PA
Selling the Main Line & Chester County

It does make you realize how many other headlines and stories may not be accurate as well. We all used to believe that media organizations used to report facts and not just sensationalize a story for clicks and readers. Not so anymore. Where do people turn to for truth when the organizations they have trusted do not do their job.


I have noticed that the stories are now on how buyers are going to suffer without representation due to their inability to afford a buyers agent.

Mar 29, 2024 09:41 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS

Oh, Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543, I JUST had this conversation with a good friend. If this story is SOOOO falsely reported, what are we seeing on the news that is actually truthful? Journalism has become opinionism and an unbelievable effort to sway the public opinion to meet their agenda. It's truly frustrating - and disappointing as well.

And, yes, buyers are now calling listing agents, asking for showings because they can't afford to pay their agents out-of-pocket. NOW, we have to be sure that all 50 states prohibit dual agency. And, all of this, thanks to the media's twisted reporting. Not a SINGLE reporter that I have heard - on every single news network - has reported a SINGLE fact about the settlement. It's truly astonishing!

See you on Tuesday!

Mar 29, 2024 08:58 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Debe Maxwell, CRS   Yes you are right they are opinionated, and their message is opinions not facts, loved your reply, Endre

Mar 29, 2024 09:11 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS

Thank you and sadly, it's true, Endre Barath, Jr. Gone are the days of ethical journalists like Walter Cronkite.

Mar 30, 2024 04:16 PM
Joyce Marsh
Joyce Marsh Real Estate LLC - Daytona Beach, FL
Joyce Marsh Homes

The damage is done and unfortunately it will take years to recover if ever. I’m sick to my stomach at what I’m reading and how betrayed I feel personally as well as professionally. To say we were thrown under the bus is an understatement.  You spend years building your reputation and trying to overcome the stigma that real estate agents were already dealing with and now this. I’m not hearing too many good things about the profession from the media and they’re just having a field day with misunderstood misinformation and falsifying the facts.  As most of us I’m trying to look at the positive aspects of this. I’m hoping to be able to join the call on Tuesday. Thanks for putting all of this together in an organized fashion and I appreciate your ideas.

Mar 30, 2024 08:13 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS

I feel the same way, Joyce Marsh. It's taken 20 years to build my brand and business to 100% repeat and referral business and I feel like I've been gut-punched. I've had sellers who are 100% confident in the media and how they have spun this settlement. To each of them, I have sent the ACTUAL terms of the settlement, which say absolutely NOTHING that the media is reporting. Believe it or not, a couple have asked if MY document provided by NAR is the false information!! 

And, yes, I'm putting a positive spin on it and holding my head high. I am SO proud of my profession and the business that I have built. I was a nurse in my 'previous life' and I'm just as proud of the level of service I provide my real estate clients as the care my patients received from me. No trade organization or media misinformation is going to change that!

I hope to see you Tuesday! Have a lovely weekend...

Mar 30, 2024 04:24 PM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Debe Maxwell, CRS, I have listened to and read everything I can find, and there is no better information than what you have written!

I am looking forward to Tuesday's Zoom meeting, but we may need more than an hour!

Mar 30, 2024 10:06 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS

Me too, Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400!!! I have people in my area that I've spoken with about this situation, sending me everything they can get their hands on too! Had we not been moving this week, I would have been able watch them all! 

See you Tuesday and I'm looking forward to hearing your favorite talking points!

Mar 30, 2024 04:25 PM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400

Good luck with your move, Debe Maxwell, CRS.  I don't know how you do it all, even without a move!

I took a new listing yesterday, and the explanation was a breeze. It was well received and understood. I'm sure I'll have more questions on the show tomorrow.  And look forward to our Tuesday Zoom.

Mar 30, 2024 04:50 PM
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Prop. Mgr, Wenatchee, WA

The total inaccuracies being included in the coverage of this issue have me very annoyed, and I'm retired. I can't even imagine how you all are feeling.

Mar 30, 2024 10:48 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS

It has to be one of THE most frustrating times in my career, Carol Williams. Having to learn how to manage short sales during The Great Recession was a challenge but, it was one I took on to help my clients...AND fellow agents who didn't have any desire to educate themselves on the topic! 

ANYWAY, this has been a gut-punch that we never saw coming because we were not forewarned by OUR OWN TRADE ORGANIZATION! It's completely unacceptable and it left us scrambling to get the truth out - and even with 1.5 million of us, we don't hold a candle to the reach that the media has. 

BUT, we can certainly share the accurate news with our sphere and John Q...and we will most definitely win in the end!

Mar 30, 2024 04:34 PM
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

Check the recent commission. No change on sellers part.  People here understand the confusion. After July need different forms 20 pages from 16 to purchase a property.  Sellers know the discounted brokerages will not be able to get the right people who can represent buyers.

Mar 30, 2024 11:35 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS

That's great that your folks aren't believing the falsehoods the media continues to spew with regards to this situation, Sam Shueh. Buyers and sellers in every agent's sphere that I know here (and in most states) are believing the media's sensationalism (and falsely so) on the settlement.

None of our forms in NC or SC have to change - we have had buyers agency for decades and our listing agreements include blanks for the sellers to declare how much they would like to offer the buyers' agents/brokers. We have been doing the right thing all along and sadly, we have been brought down by the media because of the 32 states who haven't been doing the right thing, causing this debacle!!

Mar 30, 2024 04:38 PM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good evening Debe Maxwell, CRS ,

I do believe it is one of the most frustrating times in my real estate career..so much false information and the spin the media is giving just proves once again they have a narrative to push and don't care about researching the facts.

Mar 30, 2024 07:10 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS

Agreed, Dorie Dillard Austin TX - it is SUCH a shame! We'll get through this though - I am confident about that!

Apr 02, 2024 06:26 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Mar 30, 2024 07:19 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS

Oh, you are so sweet, Kathy Streib! As always, I'm honored. This topic is one we all need to be able to discuss and do so without hesitation.

Apr 02, 2024 06:27 AM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
CEO of Vision Drive Realty - Coastal San Diego

Exceptional writing and points! Your expertise truly elevates the discourse in our industry. Thank You Debe Maxwell, CRS 

Mar 31, 2024 08:18 AM
Hannah Williams

Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets Our  Debe Maxwell, CRS is one smart cookie

Apr 01, 2024 01:49 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS

Oh my goodness, I don't know what I said to deserve that but, thank you so very much Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets & Hannah Williams! We will get through this, without a doubt.

Apr 02, 2024 06:28 AM
Elyse Berman, PA
LoKation Real Estate - Boca Raton, FL
Boca Raton FL (561) 716-7824

Excellent post Debe Maxwell, CRS .  Looking forward to seeing you on Tuesday.

Mar 31, 2024 05:48 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS

And, you as well, Elyse Berman, PA! It's going to be a lively conversation, I feel certain!

Apr 02, 2024 06:28 AM
Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

Debe Maxwell, CRS, I would not miss it for the world. Well, maybe for a listing. The funny thing is that my sellers and buyers seem oblivious to this information. Other agents have received complaints but I have not. Our local MLS has held Zoom meetings with their attorney and us . See you Tuesday 

Apr 01, 2024 01:48 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS

You are so fortunate, Hannah Williams! I say that but, honestly, it's keeping us on our toes - we should 100% be able to articulate our value to clients/potential clients! See you soon!

Apr 02, 2024 06:30 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much, Debe, for sharing your observations and advice.

Your leadership is much appreciated.

Apr 02, 2024 04:41 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS

And, thank YOU, Roy Kelley! Would love to see you on the call again today! 2PM our time!

Apr 02, 2024 06:30 AM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

I am glad that Kathy Streib featured your post.   I think we all need to hear as many responses as possible from responsible people so that we can have well reasoned and targeted conversations when we encounter this foolish misinformation 

Apr 02, 2024 06:29 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS

We loved seeing you today, Lise Howe! Hope you can join us next week as well.

Apr 02, 2024 08:22 PM
Elyse Berman, PA
LoKation Real Estate - Boca Raton, FL
Boca Raton FL (561) 716-7824

Debe Maxwell, CRS I am so sorry I missed this meeting.  I had what went from a simple closing to the closing from ****.  They actually wanted to give me a picture of a key, not a key.   Hard to believe, I know.  So this simple closing took all day and into tonight.  I'll bet it was a great meeting.

Apr 02, 2024 05:10 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS

Oh my!! That sounds crazy, Elyse Berman, PA! I've found that things have become just a little bit crazier than ever before these days. I'm ready for some 'normalcy,' for sure!

Apr 02, 2024 08:22 PM
Eileen Burns 954.483.3912
Trans State Commercial Realty Inc. - Fort Lauderdale, FL
FLorida Real Estate Connector

Fake News and members caught short sighted

Apr 03, 2024 05:42 AM