The American realtor franchise and portal operator Redfin has announced that it will now display the commission that agents stand to make on a property sale on all of the listings on its portal site. The news comes after a November settlement between the National Association of Realtors and the US Department of Justice which saw the former agree that it could no longer prevent Redfin and other sites from displaying information around realtor commissions on both sides of the transaction.
Typically a vendor in The USA pays 5%-6% to agents with the buyer’s agent and the vendor’s agent splitting the commission and the buyer themselves often in the dark about how much their agent is getting.
The American property marketing system allows any company to use all of the property listings from any of the MLSs it is affiliated to. As a member of many MLSs around the country and a user of the IDX system, much like Zillow, although Redfin is primarily a brokerage, it also operates a country-wide property portal which displays listings from many other agents.
Redfin already displays the commissions on all of the properties on its portal site for which it is the listing agent and has argued for transparency in the industry but until now had not been able to display those of other agencies. November’s ruling and Redfin’s decision to display commissions of both buying and selling agents may open the door for other sites to do likewise.
Zillow has long pointed to the user-experience as its ‘north star’ and undoubtedly increased transparency around the commissions its users would have to pay on a transaction is in line with that goal. Displaying its agent customers’ commissions on all listings on Zillow would represent a major change and ruffle more than a few feathers though.