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Author: admin, 09.11.2015. Category: Positive Phrases About Life

We started this group for anyone that is just getting started in real estate and wants to start right. I had the honor to speak on “Antitrust and Real Estate” to the Legal Affairs Forum of the California Association of Realtors at their meeting in downtown San Diego shortly before posting this article.
Real-estate brokers typically—but not always—price their services based upon a percentage (known as a commission) of the sales price. That is not to say that they are fixed; there are many reasons they could end up at the same level—conscious parallelism (advanced antitrust concept), similar cost structures, etc.
Finally, it might be tempting for a broker to respond to a customer inquiry about a commission that the price is standard or is what some real-estate association suggests they charge. Brokers should not agree to divide territories (and this is not limited to written agreements). If you don’t believe me, you can read about the Department of Justice criminal investigation that has yielded over 40 guilty pleas in bid-rigging in Northern California foreclosure auctions. This sort of entry happens quite often in markets, and it is not uncommon for existing competitors—who are rather happy about the current or traditional state of the market—to react with anticompetitive conduct. When two or more market participants agree—and remember an oral agreement can violate the antitrust laws—to refuse to do business with a new entrant, it can be a per se antitrust violation (Note that not all group boycotts are per se violations, but the exact contours of the doctrine are beyond the scope of this article).
From active real estate and broker associations to collectively-run multiple-listing services, real-estate professionals, despite competing on a daily basis, work together all the time.

Indeed, the case reports—as well as government antitrust investigations and consent decrees—are full of disputes about antitrust challenges to MLS policies. If you found this article useful, please tell your friends and send it to your favorite real-estate agent.
If you have never closed a deal or have closed less than 5 deals - this is the right place for you.
At the same time, they usually offer a publicly-announced share of that commission to a broker that brings in a buyer. But real-estate brokers should understand that any agreement, express or implied, with a competing brokerage to charge a certain commission, or offer the same commission splits, is a per se violation of the antitrust laws, with both criminal and civil consequences. So if there are two major brokerage firms in a smaller town divided by a river, they should not decide between them that one will take properties north of the river, while the other stays to the south. This is how the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) found themselves in hot water with the FTC. Over the years, lower-cost brokers and unique business models have entered most real-estate brokerage markets to challenge the traditional full-service brokerage model. Instead of competing better for customers, the initial market players will instead compete against the new entrants.
A discount broker might put a house on the market for a client, but two existing brokers, who agreed not to do business with that discount broker, refuse to show the house to their buyer clients, even though the house might be suitable and appropriately priced.

A multiple listing service serves the procompetitive function of centralizing the homes in a market for sale, along with relevant information about the properties and their asking prices and terms. If their access policies discriminate against certain brokers or individuals, they might invite antitrust scrutiny. If you have a full time job and only have a few minutes each week to work on real estate you can do this.
From my own experience in various real-estate markets, it appears that these commissions and offered-commission-splits are surprisingly similar—almost standard—within certain markets. Real-estate associations with even a modicum of antitrust counseling would never suggest a commission, and a broker should not suggest that prices are set collectively in any way. The trials and tribulations of MLS policies and challenges are beyond the scope of this post, but anyone involved in running or organizing an MLS should seek antitrust counsel because it is very easy to cross the line into anticompetitive territory. Some of the most successful real estate investors are those who have a regular job and do real estate on the side.
Of course, brokers negotiating a particular transaction must discuss pricing (for that transaction).

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