NAR Settlement News — Time to Hear From The ‘Boots On The Ground’

Enough already!

Everywhere we look, there’s massive coverage of the proposed NAR Settlement — from podcasts, private and public  videos (Youtube), webinars, conferences, the press, and publishers — often led by lawyers, thought leaders, coaches, and the real estate commentariats on social media.

Some real estate agents are worried (scared ?) — some  have not developed their skills of negotiation, but rather relied too much on the MLS Crutch of guaranteed compensation.  Others look forward to the opportunity  the proposed changes present to demonstrate professionalism in face-to-face negotiations with buyers and sellers.

Just how is the real estate professional handling the news? Now is the time to hear from the “Boots On The Ground” as they make their case to consumers. What’s the plan to listen to and provide  consumers with what they want and need? There are lots of nuances that need to be defined — what about the timing of “Virtual Tours” and the handling of “concessions.”

I wanted to share with you an online discusion from Albert Perry,  a 28-year practicing Pennsylvania broker that gave me hope things will be fine in the aftermath of the proposed settlement. It’s a long post, so I elected to provide you with Highlights below, and encourage you to read the attached full version of his inspiring story.

He gets it!

Al Perry post in its entirety — download word doc

  • I posted this note to Al Perry: thank you for your timely and positive message that “incentivizing buyers to work with good buyer agents is in a seller’s best interest.” I wish more agents would take the time to read your lengthy post. Very well-stated. It reminded me of a Mark Twain quote: “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”


  • Every transaction I have ever been a part of in my 28 years in real estate has included three ingredients. A seller, a buyer, and a parcel of property. Sellers and buyers deserve representation, should they choose to have it.
  • Adorna’s Buyer Agency class was awesome. She is a charismatic real estate broker and trainer who cut her teeth in the Connecticut real estate market. Connecticut adopted buyer agency in 1990. Adorna was, and remains, an expert on buyer agency.
  • I wondered how the real estate industry survived without true buyer agency for so long.
  • Both parties in a transaction are equal in my eyes. No seller is more important than a buyer. And no buyer is more important than a seller. We need both parties to have success.
  • Seller agency had a significant head start in the agency race, so it’s understandable that we’ve grown accustomed to how compensation has been handled in a majority of real estate transactions. Many of these customs existed long before buyer agency came on the scene.
  • Setting a business meeting and reaching a mutual understanding with buyers hasn’t been as high of a priority in our industry as it has been with sellers. It just simply hasn’t. Admit it. It’s okay. That’s how we grow here. But that changes now and frankly, it’s time that it does.
  • I’ve been the recipient of many buyer bear hugs at settlement. It’s not just me either. I’ve watched many of my fine colleagues in this industry receive similar hugs. Those hugs are raw and in the moment. Each one demonstrates the tremendous value in our offers on the buyer side of a transaction. So why are so many of us afraid of this change?
  • I’ve become better in communicating this value to my buyers upfront. As a result, I’ve had increasing numbers of buyer agency agreements signed at the beginning of my relationship with buyers. The same way I do with sellers. Do they all sign? No. But neither do all the sellers I meet with.
  • But most buyers do sign. Because most see value in what I offer, and they can feel how much I care about their success. It comes through in our business meeting.
  • The sun rises today as it does every day. The value we bring to our clients won’t change. We simply need to do a better job conveying it.
  • Compensation will be out there on the buyer side. You will see various strategies evolve to secure our fee in an affordable manner to any buyer who chooses to hire us.
  • Many sellers, who were once willing to pay a fee to their broker, which included sharing of that fee with a buyer agent through a unilateral offer of compensation in the Multiple Listing Service, will also be open providing seller concessions to a buyer to afford them the resources to pay their fees under this new structure.
  • These changes do not suggest that allowing for buyer agent compensation as a strategy of the seller has to go away. I’ve been a seller. I believe incentivizing buyers to work with good buyer agents is in a seller’s best interest. Listing agents will adapt as well as they want to secure their client the best deal possible. (Ed. note: there are ways to handle the offer of compensation, just not via the MLS).

What to do now?

  • Create your Great Story to showcase your High Value.
  • Many agents who provide High Value, create a Weak Story that must be rewritten to match the changes.
  • Many agents who provide Low Value, use a Strong Story but will be unable to skillfully handle the negotiations.
  • The danger out there today is that others are telling your story in ways that question your value.

Have a short consumer story to share? Use the Reply below, but please remember the other thing Mark Twain failed to mention: “I didn’t have time to write a long letter, so I wrote a short one instead.”


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3 Responses

  1. Spot on! Al Perry is a good friend from PAR and he writes great posts all the time! I have had buyers unwilling to recognize my value and sign a contract. We parted on good terms, but we parted, because I understand the concept of opportunity cost. “Best of luck in your search, but my business model doesn’t include working without a contract.” Some of them never bought a house (not surprising!) but I always went on and found another buyer who did.

  2. Message of the day, from Brian Boero of
    ” The endless media comparisons between home buying and plane tickets or stocks drive me nuts too. It’s like comparing surgery to clipping your fingernails.

    But it’s the industry’s fault. When you put at least half a million UNSERIOUS people into the world to help people buy homes, then set things up so they never need to talk about their compensation, or what their actual value is beyond opening doors and filling out forms, you create ignorance.
    Put the media outrage energy into sharpening your pitch. “

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