@properties, Christie’s Real Estate settle antitrust commission lawsuits

Brokerages join firms striking deals over legal action

@properties, Christie’s Settle Antitrust Commission Lawsuits
@properties CEO Thad Wong (@properties, Getty)

The parent company of @properties and Christie’s International Real Estate brands agreed to settle a slew of lawsuits over broker commission rules. 

The deal, which is pending court approval, covers company-owned and affiliate brokerages and agents under both brands, parent company At World Properties LLC announced in a press release Wednesday afternoon. 

The brokerage is joining other major names in residential real estate that have struck deals to settle the litigation. Anywhere, RE/MAX and Keller Williams — all named as defendants in the landmark Sitzer/Burnett suit and another lawsuit known as Moehrl — agreed to settle for a combined $209 million. 

Under the settlement, the firms will no longer require agents to belong to the National Association of Realtors, follow the national trade group’s Code of Ethics or the MLS Handbook.

The other changes include the firms requiring or encourage agents to communicate to clients that commissions are negotiable and that agents will not be required to make offers of compensation or accept offers of compensation from cooperating brokers.

The firm, which did not disclose the monetary terms of the deal, said in its release it did not admit any wrongdoing as alleged by the plaintiffs.

@properties and Christie’s International Real Estate’s Mike Golden

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“Settling these claims today allows us to move beyond a very costly litigation process and focus our full time, energy and resources on what matters most: our agents, affiliate brokerages, staff and clients,” said Mike Golden, co-CEO of @properties and Christie’s International Real Estate.

The National Association of Realtors proposed a landmark $418 million agreement that also included a rule change eliminating the field specifying broker commissions from Realtor-owned multiple listing services.

The agreement released the national trade group, its MLSes and brokerages with transaction volumes under $2 billion from claims brought by home sellers nationwide. 

More than 90 firms facing similar antitrust claims — including Redfin, @properties, Real Brokerage and the Agency — weren’t cleared by the settlement and faced costly sums under the algorithm proposed by NAR. 

Following NAR’s settlement proposal, Compass was the first brokerage not named in the Sitzer/Burnett suit to submit its own settlement. The New York-based brokerage agreed to pay $58 million to settle lawsuits, including those filed in Illinois, Missouri and New York, just a week after NAR announced its agreement.  

Sheridan Wall contributed reporting.

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