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Essential Information for Buyers and Sellers on New Rules for Offers of Compensation

The real estate landscape is evolving, and the National Association of Realtors (NAR) has introduced significant changes affecting compensation offers. These new rules, set to take effect on August 17, 2024, will alter how compensation is communicated and agreed upon in real estate transactions. Here’s what buyers and sellers need to know to navigate these changes effectively.


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Understanding the Key Changes


Offers of Compensation Off-MLS:

  • Starting August 17, 2024, offers of compensation can no longer be communicated through MLS platforms.

  • Consumers can still pursue offers of compensation off-MLS through direct consultations and negotiations with real estate professionals.


New Communication Channels:

  • Once a seller approves an offer, it can be shared using various marketing tools such as flyers, signs, emails, and other communication methods outside the MLS.

  • Brokers can display compensation offers for their own listings on their websites. However, they cannot display offers for other brokers’ listings if these rely on MLS data or data feeds.


Seller Concessions:

  • Sellers can offer buyer concessions, which agents can still communicate on the MLS following local MLS rules. These concessions should be independent of using or paying a buyer broker.


Buyer Negotiations:

  • Buyers can ask their buyer broker to include a term in the purchase offer requesting the seller pay a specific compensation to the buyer broker.

  • REALTORS® are prohibited from trying to alter the terms of a listing agreement, as this is a contractual matter between the listing broker and the seller. They must serve their client’s best interests. They cannot delay or withhold delivery of a buyer’s offer to negotiate compensation.


Written Agreements:

  • Buyers and buyer brokers must enter into a written agreement before the buyer tours a home.

  • Any agreement for compensation for the buyer broker’s services must be documented in writing.


Practical Implications for Sellers

  • Communicate Offers Appropriately: Ensure that any offer of compensation is shared through allowable marketing channels such as flyers, signs, or emails.

  • Provide Buyer Concessions: Continue to offer buyer concessions via MLS, adhering to local MLS rules and ensuring these concessions are not tied to using or paying a buyer broker.


Practical Implications for Buyers

  • Establish Written Agreements: Discuss and formalize compensation terms with your buyer broker in writing before viewing properties.

  • Trust Your REALTOR®: Understand that your buyer broker must act in your best interest and cannot independently negotiate their compensation with the seller.


Conclusion

The upcoming changes in compensation offer rules are designed to enhance transparency and fairness in real estate transactions. Both buyers and sellers should collaborate closely with their real estate professionals to ensure they understand and adapt to these new regulations. By staying informed and proactive, all parties can navigate these changes smoothly and continue to achieve successful real estate outcomes.

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