@properties and Christie’s International Real Estate opt to settle broker-commission lawsuits

by Emily Mack

At World Properties LLC, the Chicago-based company that owns @properties and Christie’s International Real Estate, has agreed to settle all claims brought by sellers relating to broker commissions.

This agreement comes one day after the company was added to the nationwide lawsuit, Gibson, which echoes the now-infamous Sitzer-Burnett suit and previously named Compass, eXp, Redfin, Douglas Elliman, and other real estate companies.

At World Properties’ settlement applies to that and all future lawsuits with the same cause of action. It also covers all company-owned brokerages. In addition to @properties and Christie’s International Real Estate, that includes the Ansley Real Estate and Sereno brands, plus independently owned brokerages under the @properties and Christie’s International Real Estate umbrella.

As part of the settlement, those brokerages will adopt policies and procedures outlined in previous settlement agreements related to the topic, including:

• Reminding company-owned and affiliate brokerages, and agents, that there is no requirement to make offers to, or accept offers of compensation from, buyer representatives;

• Requiring brokerages and agents to disclose to prospective homebuyers and sellers that brokerage commissions are not set by law and are fully negotiable;

• Prohibiting all brokerages and agents acting as buyer representatives from advertising or otherwise representing that their services are free;

• Requiring brokerages and agents to disclose at the earliest moment possible any offer of compensation made in connection with each home marketed to a prospective buyer;

• Prohibiting brokerages and agents from filtering out or restricting listings based on the level of compensation offered to a cooperating broker, unless directed to do so by the client;

• Advising and periodically reminding brokerages and agents of their obligation to show properties regardless of the compensation offered to buyer brokers;

• Developing training materials consistent with the above policies.

This news comes the same day that preliminary approval was granted to the Nation Association of REALTORS® (NAR), regarding its own settlement. In mid-March, to settle Sitzer-Burnett, NAR agreed to pay $418 million in damages and amend its compensation regulations, prohibiting offers of broker compensation on the MLS. That settlement covered all brokerages with an NAR member as principal that had a residential transaction volume in 2022 of $2 billion or below, leaving out bigger brokerages, like those within the At World Properties.

At World Properties’ settlement is now pending court approval.

“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 @properties and Christie’s International Real Estate co-CEO Mike Golden said in a press release.

The press release also noted that the settlement does not acknowledge that the company ever participated in the price-boosting business practices alleged by the plaintiffs.

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