Real Estate industry Heavyweights Embroiled in a Significant Commission Antitrust Lawsuit have Petitioned a Judge this Week for a Pre-jury Trial Ruling in their Favor.
This request materialized through a series of motions for summary judgment in the Moehrl case, well-known among ongoing commission disputes. On Tuesday, defendants including Keller Williams, HomeServices of America and its affiliates, and the National Association of Realtors, individually lodged motions urging the judge to favor their stance over the homeseller-plaintiffs who initiated the case.
Despite each defendant presenting distinct motions, their content converges on similar assertions. Central among these is the claim that there was no collaborative effort to inflate costs. Notably, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) motion contends that the plaintiffs lack standing since they aren't direct purchasers of cooperating brokers’ services. Moreover, it argues that NAR's rules do not impose unreasonable trade restraints and did not adversely affect the plaintiffs or sellers.
In tandem, Keller Williams’ motion stipulates the franchisor’s lack of involvement in formulating or enforcing NAR rules. The motion underscores the absence of evidence—no emails, meeting records, or testimonies—indicating any engagement by individuals associated with Keller Williams in activities related to the alleged NAR rule conspiracy.
The defendants supplemented their arguments for summary judgment with additional legal documents, referencing prior cases among other aspects.
Similar to numerous commission-related lawsuits, the Moehrl case orbits around a NAR regulation dubbed the Cooperative Compensation Rule or Participation Rule. This rule mandates listing agents to offer compensation to buyers’ agents for submitting a listing in a Realtor-affiliated MLS.
The homeseller-plaintiffs contest this rule, asserting its violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act.
Commenced in 2019 in Illinois, the Moehrl case is unlikely to reach trial until the following year. Granting the motions for summary judgment would avert a trial altogether.
However, the probability of such an outcome remains uncertain. The defendants in the Moehrl case mirror those in Sitzer | Burnett, previously presenting motions for summary judgment in a comparable antitrust suit. Nevertheless, the judge in that case dismissed those motions, leading to the trial in October.
The Sitzer | Burnett trial concluded on Halloween with a ruling favoring the homeseller-plaintiffs.
Initially, both Moehrl and Sitzer | Burnett involved Anywhere and RE/MAX as defendants. Yet, these companies have negotiated settlements in the cases, anticipated to finalize the following year.
Various parties involved in the Moehrl case were contacted for comment on the motions for summary judgment. Statements were provided by NAR and Keller Williams, reiterating their positions and emphasizing their lack of involvement in any alleged conspiracies related to the Cooperative Compensation Rule.
2 Reasons Why Today's Mortgage Rate Trend is Good for Sellers.
January 18, 2024
If you’ve been holding off on selling your house to make a move because you felt mortgage rates were too high, their recent downward trend is exciting news for you. Mortgage rates have descended since last October when they hit 7.79%. In fact, they’ve been below 7% for over a month now (see graph below):
You May Not Feel as Locked-In to Your Current Mortgage Rate
With mortgage rates already significantly lower than they were just a few months ago, you may feel less locked-in to the current mortgage rate you have on your house. When mortgage rates were higher, moving to a new home meant possibly trading in a low rate for one up near 8%.
However, with rates dropping, the difference between your current mortgage rate and the new rate you’d be taking on isn’t as big as it was. That makes moving more affordable than it was just a few months ago.
More Buyers Will Be Coming to the Market
According to data from Bright MLS, the top reason buyers have been waiting to take the plunge into homeownership is high mortgage rates (see graph below):