Brokerages eye antitrust settlement timelines 

Quarterly losses compounded by lawsuit payouts dominated earnings calls

Brokerages Spell Out Antitrust Settlement Timelines In Q1

From left: Anywhere CEO Ryan Schneider, Douglas Elliman CEO Howard Lorber, Compass CEO Robert Reffkin and Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman (Getty, Anywhere, Douglas Elliman, Compass, Redfin)

Antitrust settlements took center stage during another lackluster earnings season for residential brokerages. 

Firms reported another round of losses, as mortgage rates and low inventory continued to hinder the market. Several companies’ quarterly results were impacted by multi-million dollar deals to resolve class-action claims over broker commissions. 

Despite the financial hits, executives still projected confidence, with many touting advantages ahead of looming changes to agent commissions. 

“The bigger scale players are going to have a lot of advantage here,” Anywhere Real Estate CEO Ryan Schneider said during the company’s earnings call last week. “I like our assets relative to others to go through [these changes].”

Redfin announced the latest settlement just a day before its earnings call last week. The discount brokerage and listing platform agreed to pay $9.25 million to settle several lawsuits brought by home sellers, including the Missouri-based case known as Gibson. 

On the company’s earnings call, CEO Glenn Kelman said the settlement was “worthwhile” and “small relative to what other brokerages paid, consistent with our having been a consumer advocate.”

Under the terms, the firm — which lost nearly $67 million last quarter — will deposit the balance into the court-controlled settlement fund within 30 business days following the judge’s preliminary approval of the agreement, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Redfin is still facing two lawsuits brought by home buyers, which Kelman said are still in the early stages. 

Brokerages with deals already on the table also spelled out timelines for upcoming payments. Anywhere, REMAX and Keller Williams — the first of the firms to settle — are now approaching final deadlines following the judge’s approval of their proposals last week. 

Anywhere — which lost $101 million last quarter — has already paid $10 million of its total $83.5 million settlement. The company must pay its next installment, $20 million, in less than two weeks and the remaining balance in less than 21 days. 

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REMAX already paid half of its $55 million settlement balance last year, with the final installment due in less than 10 days. The firm lost $3.4 million in the first quarter, which was more than the $671,000 it lost in the same period last year. 

Douglas Elliman more than doubled its losses last quarter compared to 2023, which the company, in part, chalked up to the $17.75 million it set aside under the terms of its settlement agreement

The firm, which lost $42 million, will pay the initial $7.75 million settlement charge by June 12, with two contingency payments of $5 million each between December 2025 and December 2027, depending on the firm’s cash on hand. 

Elliman’s settlement has not yet received final approval from the judge, the hearing for which is slated for no later than Nov. 26. 

Compass in March agreed to pay $57.5 million to settle the lawsuits, but the proposal is still waiting for approval. The company expects the judge to preliminarily approve the deal in the second quarter and to deposit the first half of the sum within 30 days of the order, according to SEC filings. Compass will pay the remaining half within a year of preliminary approval. 

Compass reported a $133 million loss in the first quarter, which was about $18 million more than it lost in the same period last year. Despite the dip, CEO Robert Reffkin touted the company’s cash flow positivity, which he said he expects to continue for the rest of the year. 

Among the brokerages that have yet to pull out of the antitrust spotlight is eXp Realty, which is named in several lawsuits across the nation including Gibson.

Company executives only briefly addressed the litigation during its earnings call, with CEO Leo Pareja pointing to online tools and regional rallies hosted by the firm and geared toward answering agents’ questions about the lawsuits. 

But the brokerage — which lost $13.8 million last quarter — is also facing allegations that two of its employees sexually assaulted women and violated sex trafficking laws. Pareja replaced Glenn Sanford as CEO in April, about a month after sexual misconduct lawsuits expanded to include the former chief executive as a defendant. 

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