Did you sell a home in the last few years? You may be able to claim a hefty check soon.

Keller Williams Realty, headquartered in Austin, Texas, will pay out a massive 70 million dollar settlement to certain eligible folks who sold their home through a multiple listing service, also known as an MLS.  Anywhere Real Estate Inc. and Re/Max also agreed to large settlement payouts last year.

Keller Williams has agreed to the settlement to resolve lawsuits that claim that the real estate brokerage firm, "engage[d] in practices that unfairly force homeowners to pay artificially inflated agent commissions when they sell their home," and that Keller Williams, "conspired to require that home sellers pay homebuyers’ agent commission in violation of federal antitrust law."

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Real Estate agents in the U.S. get commission fees much higher than the global average, with some getting as high as 6%. For perspective, the average UK real estate agent gets less than 3% commission.

How will the settlement be paid out?

Keller Williams will add the money to a settlement fund. Courts will distribute the funds.

Who is eligible?

Home sellers who sold a property from a Multiple Listing Service (MLS) between 2015 and 2019 may be eligible for a slice of the fund.

 

Why does the MLS part matter?

MLS may have been used to unfairly direct buyers to houses for which the realtor would receive a higher commission.

What else is Keller Williams doing to make this right?

Keller Williams has agreed to, "take several steps aimed at providing homebuyers and sellers with more transparency over the commissions paid to real estate agents." Additionally, the agent's compensation structure will be disclosed to clients, who will also be informed that the compensation percentage is negotiable.

If you didn't sell a house during this timeframe, this is still an important "win" if you ever plan to sell a home, as it gives you, the consumer, a more transparent experience with your potential future realtor. On the other hand, this may make some realtors decide to give up their hustle, as less commission is obviously less lucrative. Time will tell if these lawsuits will cull the number of realtors and if these new practices will make selling a home less of a headache for homeowners.

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