DOJ suing NAR and the "opt out" clause

Galen: “As I understand it, the Justice Department is not challenging this sort of (NWMLS) setup.”

The reason NWMLS is not affected by the DOJ suit is because the DOJ is suing NAR. Most mls systems are owned by NAR and State Boards of Realtors. Ours is one of the few in the country that is not owned by the Board of Realtors. Our mls system is owned by the member brokers. So if the DOJ wins the suit against NAR, it would only affect mls systems owned by NAR and State Boards of Realtors.

Galen “I’ve heard that other MLS systems are a little different, where members can withold listings from selected brokers’ websites, which does little to keep nasty, mud tracking agents out …”

The “opt out” clause is a NAR policy. It could be the policy of broker owned mls systems in the country too. But the suit is against NAR, so even if broker owned mls systems had that rule the same as NAR, the suit would not appy unless the DOJ sued each mls separately. So when you hear that the suit does not involve NWMLS, that doesn’t necesarily mean they don’t have an “opt out” clause (I don’t know one way or the other). It means the suit does not involve them even if they do have the same clause, because they are not named in the suit and do not come under the NAR umbrella of the suit.

The two groups who are joining forces with the DOJ as potential targets of the “opt out” provision are the “discounters” and the EBAs. The reason these two groups fear being targeted has to do with the mud they track through, but not the kind of mud you are thinkiing of. It’s more like “mud-slinging” as opposed to dirty mud from rain soaked Seattle.

I will give an example in another post that should “shed some light” on this whole DOJ thing. I happen to have witnessed it first hand, and while I will not name names, I will explain how and why some brokers “opted out” on the “discount” broker.

I think it was a reasonable move and it worked. The discounter was not put out of business, nor was it the intention of the other brokers to put them out of business. It was to force them to clean up their act and stop mud slinging and it worked.

Read my next post and see if you feel differently about the “opt out” provision after seeing how it is used in real life examples.

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ARDELL is a Managing Broker with Better Properties METRO King County. ARDELL was named one of the Most Influential Real Estate Bloggers in the U.S. by Inman News and has 33+ years experience in Real Estate up and down both Coasts, representing both buyers and sellers of homes in Seattle and on The Eastside. email: cell: 206-910-1000

4 thoughts on “DOJ suing NAR and the "opt out" clause

  1. Jack,

    Here’s a video discussion of two friends of mine, Saul Klein and John Reilly, regarding the recent decision.

    I see a couple of conflicting points regarding “who can be a member of an mls” and will listen to the video of John and Saul discussing this before commenting further.

    The VOW/ILD/IDX is confusing and almost too confusing to put into lay terms.

    The “opt out” part is relatively simple and is basically what started the suit. Broker J says I won’t show “discounter’s” listings on my site and he can’t show mine. That was the beginning of the problem. But the issue of WHO can be a member of an MLS is more significant to me, as it appears that Saul and John are saying that sites like (Galen’s award winning site) where they do not actively list property for sale…could be engangered under the settlement.

    So I have to do a bit more research on this…but remember, our mls is not necessarily affected by this case, as we are not an mls that is actively controlled by the Board of Realtors and is a separate entity.

    I will listen to the discussion on the video and suggest you do the same.

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