A recent court decision by a federal jury in Missouri, "ruled that the National Association of Realtors and several real estate brokerages had conspired to fix prices by setting a standard where sellers pay the listing agent a commission —almost invariably 5 to 6 percent of the sale price — that is split with the buyer’s agent," according to the New York Times. The early speculation is that, even though the National Association of Realtors will appeal the decision, there may well be changes in the future in the way real estate brokers and salespeople do business.
I hold licenses in two states as a real estate broker and, as a function of age if nothing else, I have amassed decades of experience. Real estate sales and purchases are not simple, and, for many consumers, they represent the most expensive investment they will make. So, as this issue unfolds, by legal appeal or otherwise, I hope the public is thorough in understanding the intricacies of the business. A great way to begin for Floridians is to understand the definition of agency. Florida is clear
about the difference between transaction agency and either buyer or seller single agency.
There was a time early in my career when it was not unusual for a sole agent to be engaged in a transaction. (Yes, I am that old.) Multiple listing services were created to better expose properties for sale; consumer protection laws were strengthened to protect buyers and sellers. State regulations were expanded to define the different brokerage roles and there was also a swelling of the greater body of real estate law. Technology and the internet have brought buyers and sellers and their properties across the country or world as close as keystrokes on a computer or mobile phone.
In short, the business has significantly evolved during my life in it and the complications are many. So, as we approach the road ahead, let us begin by understanding where we are starting from now. It may not be exciting reading but Chapter 475 of the 2023 Florida Statutes is a beginning.
The author of this post is Tom Aposporos, a licensed real estate broker in both Florida and New York. In a business career of more than four decades, he also served as mayor of his home city, a commissioner in his adopted island city, and chaired a publicly-owned bank through a period of financial recovery. These experiences have enhanced his knowledge and have brought additional dimension to his real estate career.