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

Philadelphia police officer shot by fleeing suspect is in critical condition

A Philadelphia police officer was shot in the neck and was in critical condition Saturday night, officials said. The 31-year-old officer was in critical condition and undergoing surgery at Temple University Hospital, Police Commissioner Kevin Bethel said during a news conference outside the hospital. The officer, a veteran of more than six years on the […]

8 hours ago

Associated Press

A fourth victim has died a day after a shooting at an Arkansas grocery store, police say

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Police say a fourth victim has died a day after a shooting at an Arkansas grocery store. The person died Saturday evening, Arkansas state police said in a statement. A total of 14 people were wounded in Friday’s shooting, according to police: “11 civilians, two law enforcement officers and the […]

9 hours ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally, Saturda...

Associated Press

Trump endorses Ten Commandments in schools, implores evangelical Christians to vote in November

Trump endorsed displaying the Ten Commandments in schools while speaking to a group of politically influential evangelical Christians.

10 hours ago

Associated Press

2 people were taken to a hospital after lightning struck a tree near a PGA Tour event in Connecticut

CROMWELL, Conn. (AP) — Two people were taken to the hospital Saturday after lightning struck a tree near a home along a golf course that is hosting the PGA Tour’s Travelers Championship. The home is just north of the fifth green at TPC River Highlands, which is hosting the tournament one week after the U.S. […]

11 hours ago

Associated Press

Jury awards more than $13 million to ultramarathon athlete injured in fall on a Seattle sidewalk

SEATTLE (AP) — A jury awarded $13.1 million to an ultramarathon athlete who was severely injured when she fell on a Seattle sidewalk in 2021. The award by a King County jury found that the city of Seattle and the owners of an apartment building are responsible for the amount, the Seattle Times reported. Lesley […]

11 hours ago

Associated Press

Rains, cooler weather help firefighters gain ground on large wildfires in southern New Mexico

RUIDOSO, N.M. (AP) — Recent rains and cooler weather are helping more than 1,000 firefighters gain ground on two wildfires in southern New Mexico on Saturday that have killed two people, destroyed hundreds of homes and forced thousands to flee. Fire crews took advantage of temperatures in the 70s, scattered showers and light winds to […]

16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinic visits boost student training & community health

Going to a Midwestern University Clinic can help make you feel good in more ways than one.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s how to be worry-free when your A/C goes out in the middle of summer

PHOENIX -- As Arizona approaches another hot summer, Phoenix residents are likely to spend more time indoors.

...

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.

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