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Florida real estate professionals react to national Realtor lawsuit settlement

AP file image
AP file image

The National Association of Realtors last week reached a settlement agreement in a national lawsuit. Professionals involved in the real estate market have been processing how this change will affect the industry in Florida.

A federal court in Missouri still needs to approve the settlement, but NAR has agreed — among other items — to remove buyer’s agent commission rates from the Multiple Listing Service (or MLS), the property listing system realtors use.

Historically, the seller would pay for the buyer’s agent’s commission, according to Lisa Gurske, the CEO of the Gainesville/Alachua County Association of Realtors. Now, it will be up for negotiation who pays the agent’s fee, whether it’s financed through the buyer’s mortgage or paid by the seller. She said it will take realtors some time to get used to this change.

“The real estate industry has always been resilient. We've gone through recessions and technology changes,” she said. “We're approaching this no different. We just need to learn how to adapt and move forward.”

Adam Gurske, Lisa’s son, is the president of the Gainesville/Alachua County Association of Realtors. He said the association was not directly involved in the national lawsuit, so they didn’t know about the settlement until it was announced.

“I cannot mention enough that we ourselves are still digesting this,” he said . “We're trying to navigate through this as well as everyone else.”

But Adam Gurske isn’t worried about drastic changes to the housing market.

“As we keep saying to the public, to our members, buyers and sellers still need to sell homes and buy homes, and people still move and all the normal courses of action,” he said. “So does this in any way, shape or form halt the market or stop it? No.”

Andrew Wood is the owner of Titan Home Lending, a mortgage broker company in the Tampa Bay area. He said this change may not affect the mortgage process much, but the flexibility of the new system will allow for more room for negotiation of commission rates, which historically have been set at around 6%, split in half between the listing agent and the buyer’s agent.

“I think it'll be situational and allow that to be more flexible for both buyers and sellers,” Wood said, adding that he thinks some of the settlement will be positive for everyone.

Adam Gurske said the industry has been preparing for the potential results of this settlement since the lawsuit began in 2019.

“We were kind of joking within the industry that this is kind of like a spaghetti model,” he said. “You know that something's happening, but you don't know where the storm is going to land.”

But he said overall he feels neutral about the change.

“It's just a change, and change is not always bad just because it's not what we were used to,” he said. “So the sky is not falling.”

The effects of the settlement, if the court approves, will go into effect in July.

Kristin is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing