UNITED STATES NEWS

Keller Williams agrees to pay $70 million to settle real estate agent commission lawsuits nationwide

Feb 1, 2024, 5:03 PM

LOS ANGELES (AP) — One of the nation’s largest real estate brokerages has agreed to pay $70 million as part of a proposed settlement to resolve more than a dozen lawsuits across the country over agent commissions.

The agreement, filed Thursday with federal courts overseeing lawsuits in Illinois and Missouri, also calls on Keller Williams Realty Inc. to take several steps aimed at providing homebuyers and sellers with more transparency over the commissions paid to real estate agents.

“We think it’s a tremendous victory for homeowners and homebuyers across the country,” said Michael Ketchmark, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs in the lawsuits.

The central claim put forth in the lawsuits is that the country’s biggest real estate brokerages engage in practices that unfairly force homeowners to pay artificially inflated agent commissions when they sell their home.

In October, a federal jury in Missouri found that the National Association of Realtors and several large real estate brokerages, including Keller Williams, conspired to require that home sellers pay homebuyers’ agent commission in violation of federal antitrust law.

The jury ordered the defendants to pay almost $1.8 billion in damages. If treble damages — which allows plaintiffs to potentially receive up to three times actual or compensatory damages — are awarded, then the defendants may have to pay more than $5 billion.

More than a dozen similar lawsuits are pending against the real estate brokerage industry.

Moving Keller Williams out from under that cloud of litigation and uncertainty motivated the company to pursue the proposed settlement, which would release the company, its franchisees and agents from similar agent commission lawsuits nationwide. The company based in Austin, Texas, operates more than 1,100 offices with some 180,000 agents.

“We came to the decision to settle with careful consideration for the immediate and long-term well-being of our agents, our franchisees and the business models they depend on,” Gary Keller, the company’s executive chairman, wrote in a companywide email Thursday. “It was a decision to bring stability, relief and the freedom for us all to focus on our mission without distractions.”

Among the terms of its proposed settlement, Keller Williams agreed to make clear that its agents let clients know that commissions are negotiable, and that there isn’t a set minimum that clients are required to pay, nor one set by law.

The company also agreed to make certain that agents who work with prospective homebuyers disclose their compensation structure, including any “cooperative compensation,” which is when a seller’s agent offers to compensate the agent that represents a buyer for their services.

As part of the settlement, which must be approved by the court, Keller Williams agents will no longer be required to be members of the National Association of Realtors or follow the trade association’s guidelines.

Two other large real estate brokerages agreed to similar settlement terms last year. In their respective pacts, Anywhere Real Estate Inc. agreed to pay $83.5 million, while Re/Max agreed to pay $55 million.

United States News

Associated Press

University of Maryland suspends fraternities and sororities pending investigation

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — The University of Maryland has ordered fraternities and sororities on campus to suspend social and recruitment activities after the school received multiple reports of unsafe activities. A letter sent Friday from university officials to fraternity and sorority presidents informing them of the suspension did not describe the alleged misconduct as […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Medical incident likely led to SUV crashing into Walmart store, authorities say

CANTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A driver who crashed her sport-utility vehicle into a Walmart store in suburban Detroit was likely having a health incident at the time, authorities said Saturday. The woman and four other people who were taken to hospitals Friday did not have life-threatening injuries, the Canton Township Public Safety Department said. […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

A bridge where a dramatic open-air rescue occurred remains closed over the Ohio River

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A bridge connecting Kentucky and Indiana remained closed Saturday following a harrowing crash and rescue of a tractor-trailer driver left hanging over the bridge’s edge. Dramatic photos and video captured the rescue Friday of the driver in her cab over the side of the George Rogers Clark Memorial Bridge connecting Louisville, […]

5 hours ago

Associated Press

Body parts of 2 people found in Long Island park and police are trying to identify them

BABYLON, N.Y. (AP) — Police on New York’s Long Island were trying to identify human remains found in a popular suburban park that appear to be from a man and a woman. A girl walking to school Thursday morning found a severed arm on the side of the road at Southards Pond Park, about 25 […]

8 hours ago

Associated Press

Train derailment leaves cars on riverbank or in water; no injuries, hazardous materials reported

BETHLEHEM, Pa. (AP) — Authorities say a train derailment in eastern Pennsylvania has left some railroad cars along a riverbank Saturday morning and at least one partially in the river itself. Dispatchers in Northampton County said the derailment was reported at 7:14 a.m. in Lower Saucon Township. Authorities said it was unclear how many cars […]

8 hours ago

Associated Press

An arrest has been made and charges filed in Pennsylvania slaying of pregnant Amish woman

SPARTANSBURG, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania man was arrested Saturday and charged with the slaying of a pregnant Amish woman whose body was found last week. Shawn C. Cranston, 52, of Corry, has been charged with criminal homicide, criminal homicide of an unborn child, burglary and criminal trespass, Pennsylvania State Police said. He was denied […]

9 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

...

Canvas Annuity

Interest rates may have peaked. Should you buy a CD, high-yield savings account, or a fixed annuity?

Interest rates are the highest they’ve been in decades, and it looks like the Fed has paused hikes. This may be the best time to lock in rates for long-term, low-risk financial products like fixed annuities.

Keller Williams agrees to pay $70 million to settle real estate agent commission lawsuits nationwide