Agents storm TikTok with flood of complaints after NAR settlement



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Since Friday, real estate agents have been arguing on the video sharing platform that the recent commission suit settlement is likely to hurt both homebuyers and the agents who represent them.

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TikTok’s days in America may be numbered thanks to hawkish members of Congress, but that didn’t stop multitudes of real estate agents from taking to the platform over the past three days to weigh in on the big commission lawsuit settlement from the National Association of Realtors.

The proposed settlement includes both a $418 million payment and various policy changes, and — like the settlements involving Anywhere, RE/MAX and Keller Williams — it requires court approval before it becomes official. The issue is also likely to drag on because, among other reasons, there are cases such as those filed by homebuyers that are not covered by the settlement.

Still, despite pending litigation and unanswered questions, agents flooded TikTok with commentary, analysis and complaints about the situation. And while it’s hard to say what’s trending online across multiple different media bubbles, this reporter’s “For You Page” — TikTok’s main feed — suddenly shifted after the settlement from a focus on interior design and political news to an overwhelming number of posts about NAR’s settlement.

Complaints varied. Some agents felt the settlement itself was unlikely to be a boon to either agents or consumers. Others felt the media was missing nuances of the settlement, or didn’t understand the way the industry has historically functioned. But the overall takeaway is that NAR’s settlement has created a surge of anxiety and disappointment in the U.S. agent community.

What follows is a (very) small sampling of TikTok posts from real estate professionals who have commented in recent days on the settlement.

Buying will get more expensive

One of the most common takes from the agent community online was that the settlement will, in the end, cost buyers more money. That’s because, many agents argued, buyers will have to foot the bill for their own representation, and agents aren’t going to work for free.

Matt Wheatley, Clermont, Florida: “Sellers sued so they didn’t have to pay the buyers agent so they could keep more money. They aren’t passing that savings on to you, they’re telling you hire your own agent. So you now as the buyer will be paying the same list price so the seller can net more equity while you as the buyer are paying 1 percent for that door opener that’s just filling in the contract. So if you understand the changes it’s actually going to cost you 1 percent more.”

@mjwhomes

@Taylor Sohns #stitch #realestate #change #greenscreen @Taylor Sohns

♬ original sound – Mjwhomes

Maceon Mitchell, Charlotte, North Carolina: “If you believe that the NAR settlement is going to lead to a decrease in home prices, you are an idiot.”

@maceon.mccracken

This settlement is only in favor of the seller and completely throws home buyers under the bus in an already overpriced, inflated, and competetive market. #NARsettlement #NAR #realtor #ncrealtor #charlotterealtor #realestate

♬ original sound – Maceon Mitchell | Realtor

Jennifer Green, Beaumont, Texas: “Buyers are not going to pay Realtors directly, and Realtors are not going to represent buyers for pennies. We’re not going to open a door for $100. I am not going to do it.”

@jenngstyle

Replying to @timsewellrealtor #realtorcommission #NARlawsuit #realtortok #realtoroftiktok

♬ original sound – JennGStyle

Buyer’s agents are in trouble

Though the most common argument online seemed to be that the settlement would hurt homebuyers, a number of agents also argued that buyers’ agents themselves will take a hit. The arguments ranged from claims that many agents won’t be able to make ends meet, to the thesis that consumers will gradually begin to opt out of using agents to buy homes altogether.

Iain Phillips, Orange County, California: “I would expect buyers agents to likely drop out of the business more frequently than they are doing right now.”

@iainrphillips

You are dreaming if you think the buyer is going to pay their agent 2 or 3% of the purchase price #realestate #lawsuit #buyersagent #realtor #yikes #daydream #dreaming

♬ original sound – Iain Phillips | OC Realtor

Mainstream coverage missed the point

A number of agents went online to slam media coverage of the settlement, with many specifically singling out a CNN article that proclaimed “the 6 percent commission” “is gone.” The article captured a particular celebratory tone in much of the mainstream coverage of the settlement. But agents on social media took issue with a number of points in such coverage, arguing — like NAR and others have done in court — that 6 percent commissions weren’t universal and that commission splitting will still exist in some form or another.

Emily McAllister, Greenville, North Carolina: “It removes the ability for sellers to advertise a buyer-agent commission in the MLS, not the ability for sellers to offer a buyer-agent commission. Which is a pretty large swing of the pendulum considering a couple of years ago NAR’s main objective was to be more transparent when it came to commissions. […] If anything this has created a scenario where Realtors have more opportunity to be shady than they did a week ago.”

@realtoremilymcallister

Sellers should have never been required to offer a buyer agent commission. That said… they could have offered $1

♬ original sound – Emily

Joshua Ma, Atlanta, Georgia: “In fairness to CNN, they’re far from the only people who used the term the ‘standard 6 percent.’ You’re probably going to see that in a lot of news articles covering this settlement. […] The main idea is that 6 percent commission, long before the settlement, long long before the settlement, the whole 6 percent commission was not a thing in quite a few markets.”

@joshuamarealtor

News of the NAR Settlement has broken, and predictably, there’s a fair amount of misinformation. I will look to discuss my thoughts on the settlement and the future of real estate, but first, I want to clear up some misinformation. I’m not full of it. The idea of a “6% standard” didn’t materialize out of thin air. There maybe once was a time where realtors held too much power. That is definitely not true today. Years before the NAR settlement, there were many markets, like NorCal and Vegas, where 6% was unheard of. Few, if any sellers, paid a 6% commission. In my market, Metro Atlanta, some sellers certainly do pay 6% to this day. Others pay 7%, while others pay 2.75% or lower. The fact is that commissions are negotiable. The market dictates the commission, not NAR or the real estate agent. While I don’t love the settlement by any means, I think it’ll ultimately be beneficial to the consumer. #realestate #housingmarket #narsettlement #atl #atlanta

♬ original sound – Joshua Ma

The changes won’t be that significant. Maybe they’ll be good

Though there was a fair amount of gnashing of proverbial teeth, not everyone was entirely bummed out by the settlement. Instead, some agents actually argued that despite alarmist headlines, when the dust settles not much will actually have changed. Others, meanwhile, argued that at the end of the day, change may actually be positive because, among other reasons, it may prompt agents to better articulate their value.

Crystal Bachmann, Wellington, Florida: “It’s going to be the same structure, it’s going to be exactly the same but feathers are going to be ruffled.”

@business.and.boujee

#nar #narlawsuit #realtor

♬ original sound – Crystal Bachmann

Chloe Powell, Loudoun County, Virginia: “The MLS will no longer have broker compensation on there. So what does that mean? Well, sellers get ready because buyers are going to be asking for it in the form a seller concession or a seller subsidy because buyers’ agents still exist. And also, there’s going to be another way that we’re going to be sharing broker compensation, it’s just not going to be the MLS.”

@thechloepowell

Be calm. Be poised. Change is good #nar #realtors #realestate

♬ original sound – Chloe Powell

Anne Stewart, Portland, Oregon: “Change sucks, I get it. But one thing about real estate is, there is constant change. Constant change. And it will be for the best. I promise.”

@realestatewithanne

Replying to @Katherine Mancino I know that the news that broke today is very troubling for many realtors. But change is inevitable and this was coming for a while and we need to adapt and move forward so we can help our clients. #NAR #NARlawsuit #RealEstateAgentsOfTikTok #RealestateAgentTips

♬ original sound – Anne Stewart

Email Jim Dalrymple II





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