Redfin rebukes NAR, pulls back agent memberships

Move in applicable markets expected to cost industry group $1M annually: CEO Kelman

Redfin Rebukes NAR, Pulls Back Agent Membership
National Association of Realtors' Tracy Kasper, Redfin's Glenn Kelman (RedFin, National Association of Realtors, Getty)

The sexual harassment scandal rocking the National Association of Realtors triggered a major residential player to pull its brokers brack. 

Redfin is requiring its agents to cancel their membership in NAR where possible, according to an announcement. The move from the Seattle-based brokerage, first reported by the New York Times, says its expects its 1,800 members to immediately cancel memberships and stop paying dues to the organization.

That’s not going to be possible everywhere. In some markets, NAR’s control over the listing databases is so firmly entrenched that not being a member of the group would make it “impossible to be an agent,” Redfin said. In those markets, which include Houston, Las Vegas, Nashville and Phoenix, agents will likely remain due-paying NAR members to keep their access to the services.

“We’re asking NAR to decouple local access to these tools, including the listing databases known as Multiple Listing Services, from support for the national lobbying organization,” the announcement read.   

The company’s withdrawal from NAR would cost the association about $1 million annually, CEO Glenn Kelman told the Times. 

Redfin’s membership with the trade group started in 2017. Kelman said the brokerage quickly found issue with how NAR operated and it has spent months trying to extricate itself from the group before the sexual harassment scandal, including resigning its national board seat in June, before the allegations surfaced. 

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“When the harassment issues came to light, that’s when it came to another level,” Kelman told the Times.

A spokesperson for NAR told the outlet the organization respected Redfin’s decision.

NAR president Kenny Parcell resigned after a New York Times reported accounts from multiple women accusing the leader of harassment and discrimination. He has denied the accusations. But the allegations around Parcell’s behavior are seated within a larger push for reform at the trade group, which accounts from former employees, a lawsuit and internal memo reported by the Times detail a toxic culture and retaliation against complaints by leadership. 

Staffers at NAR have demanded the resignation of new president Tracy Kasper and top members of the organization, including CEO Bob Goldberg. The chief executive recently announced policy changes to address some of the concerns coming out of the scandal.

Holden Walter-Warner

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