Today, the Department of Justice announced a settlement with the National Association of Realtors which basically states that the NAR can no longer selectively prevent access to MLS listings. As real estate business models mature online, some brokerages commonly referred to discount brokers were barred from displaying MLS data on their website because the governing board felt the broker’s discounts were not in the best interest of the consumer. The Justice Department disagreed and accused the Realtor association and member MLS’s of preventing fair market competition.
This settlement has been a few years in the making, and the outcome was inevitable. Today, more and more people start their home search online. And with the real estate markets beinig so volatile in recent times, it was inconceivable that the DOJ would allow a self-appointed gate keeper to real estate data.
This is a big win for online real estate companies. But, ultimately this can be a big win for the consumer. People already look to the internet for ways to save money. This agreement should make shopping for a home with a discount broker just as easy as it is shopping with a traditional broker. Ultimately, the consumer shouldn’t notice the difference… except for the lower real estate fees.