A confident Northwest MLS chooses its own path

In the face of much-publicized lawsuits against the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and larger national real estate brokerages, Western Washington’s local multiple listing service – the Northwest MLS (NWMLS) – had a decision to make. Should they join the NAR settlement that would require them to pay millions of dollars in order to be protected against future lawsuits having to do with buyer agent compensation? Or should they choose not to join the settlement and its inherent legal protections?

Our local MLS chose the latter. NWMLS’ reasoning for this decision is based on their confidence that legally and ethically they are on solid ground during a time when class action lawsuits have been springing up elsewhere in the country.

Over the past five years plus, NWMLS has made significant process updates that have enhanced transparency for Western Washington’s real estate consumers. They’ve made thoughtful, intentional changes in the name of advancing fairness, access, equity and transparency for home buyers and sellers working with NWMLS-affiliated brokers. They’ve also worked with the state to create new laws that buyers, sellers and their brokers must follow during a transaction.

Because of these efforts, the NWMLS feels strongly that they do not need to join the protections afforded by the NAR settlements. You can read the NWMLS statement about their decision here. 

The MLS’ decision shows them taking a principled position based on values that (1) put buyer and seller interests first, and (2) aim for the greatest fairness throughout the real estate transaction. In lockstep with their multiple listing service, Western Washington brokers will continue to prioritize these values in all client interactions. 

If you have any questions after reading the NWMLS statement above, please contact your Windermere broker who will be happy to share more details about the NWMLS decision and about your legal protections during a real estate transaction.

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