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2008-05-28 14:07:05

NAR and DOJ Reach Historic Agreement on MLS Policy

CHICAGO, May 27, 2008 - The National Assn. of REALTORS® has reached a favorable settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice, resolving litigation between them regarding how listings from multiple listing services are displayed on brokers’ virtual office Web sites. The proposed final order, to be filed with the federal district court in Chicago today, validates NAR’s longstanding Internet Data Exchange (IDX) policy and strengthens the rule governing participation in multiple listing services.

Richard Gaylod, President of the National Assn. of REALTORS“This is clearly a win-win for the real estate industry and the consumers we serve,” said NAR President Richard F. Gaylord (shown at right). “Today I can say with the clear knowledge, reinforced and underscored by DOJ’s settlement compromise, that the real estate industry is dynamic, entrepreneurial and fiercely competitive. Thanks to REALTORS®, consumers can access detailed information about millions of properties for sale across the country.”

The final order expressly provides that NAR does not admit any liability or wrongdoing and NAR will make no payments in connection with the settlement.

The terms of the agreement preserve and strengthen the MLS as a means for broker-to-broker cooperation intended to serve real estate professionals who are actively engaged in listing or selling property in that MLS, said Laurie Janik, NAR chief counsel. “This will ensure that MLSs are used for what they were originally intended to do — to help real estate professionals find buyers for people who want to sell their homes.”

NAR will be reinstating an updated version of its Virtual Office Web site policy. That policy was rescinded in 2005 when DOJ challenged certain provisions. The revised policy continues to protect the rights of sellers who do not want their property or their property’s address displayed on the Internet. The new policy also protects sellers from having false or other unwanted information about their listings appear on the VOW of an MLS member.

“NAR’s efforts in today’s challenging real estate market are focused on what matters most to consumers — re-energizing the housing market,” said Gaylord. “Competition is alive and well in the real estate industry. In fact, the competitive nature of our industry is even more apparent in times of market turmoil like those we are currently experiencing.”

Working with regulators and lawmakers at all levels of government, NAR is pushing for actions that will get the nation through the housing and mortgage crisis and positively affect families and the U.S. economy. In the current housing market, the value of REALTORS® and the services and resources they provide, including the MLS, has never been greater.

“The DOJ implicitly acknowledges the value brought to the real estate market by the more than 800 MLSs across the country to make buying and selling a home easier. The MLSs are healthy, solid and sound, and will continue to deliver benefits to members and consumers. Consumers have long been able to access and view consolidated property information online, and thanks to REALTORS®, consumers in increasing numbers can successfully use the Internet in their home search process,” Gaylord said.

“Encouraging innovation and competition in real estate has been NAR’s hallmark for 100 years,” said Gaylord. “NAR members represent almost every conceivable business model, including full-service, limited-service, discount models, and others.”

“As we move into our second century, REALTORS® will continue to protect consumers in the real estate transaction, ensure the public’s continued access to real estate listings, and work tirelessly on issues related to private property rights, homeownership, and housing issues of importance to all Americans,” said Gaylord. “Now that this has been resolved, we can fully focus on finding ways to re-energize, stabilize and strengthen the housing market and look out for the best interests of homeowners and those who aspire to that American Dream.”

To learn more about the settlement and related issues, visit  www.realtor.org/DOJ.

The National Assn. of REALTORS®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members in more than 250,000 active office locations and branches across the country who are involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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