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Northwest MLS alters compensation rules for brokers

by Patrick Regan

Northwest MLS has updated its rules regarding compensation and transparency, the agency announced in a news release Thursday. 

The changes, which take effect Oct. 3, include the following, as outlined in the news release:

— The compensation the seller offers to the buyer broker will be determined by the seller, rather than commission sharing between the two brokerage firms;

— The compensation the seller offers to the buyer broker will be prominently stated on the first page of the NWMLS purchase and sale agreement, with an opportunity for the compensation to be accepted by the buyer and the buyer’s broker or modified by the parties in an addendum;

— The NWMLS listing agreement will provide new options for broker compensation to address the role of the listing broker and buyer broker in the transaction;

— The NWMLS buyer representation agreements will offer alternatives for buyers and their broker for compensation that depend on the terms of the listing;

— Brokers will more easily be able to fashion their own form of representation agreements with sellers and buyers to differentiate their services and fees and compete in the market.

“Buyers should be fully aware about how and how much their broker is compensated,” said Stuart Heath, owner of Bellmark Real Estate and chairperson of the NWMLS Board of Directors. “And buyers should be given the opportunity to freely negotiate that compensation with their broker. These changes are a positive step to help the industry evolve.”

The Northwest Multiple Listing Service is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest, serving 32,000 brokers in 26 counties across Washington.

“NWMLS is committed to facilitating an open, transparent, and competitive marketplace for real estate brokers and consumers,” NWMLS CEO Tom Hurdelbrink said in the news release. “NWMLS transaction forms are used in nearly every residential home sale in Washington state. We believe these changes are a significant step in the evolution of the real estate brokerage industry and will help brokers in the Northwest continue to lead the nation in better serving consumers.”

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