NAR / Keller Williams / Berkshire Hathaway Found Guilty

Anthony hosted a live stream following the announcement in the Sitzer Burnett vs NAR realtor commission lawsuit of the guilty verdict. His live video includes a detailed recap of the events of the case and concluded with an interactive question and answer session.

Industry Professionals Who Appear in This Video

Anthony Lamacchia biopic

Anthony Lamacchia is the Founder and CEO of Lamacchia Realty, a multi-state real estate company.

Learn more about Anthony Lamacchia

Summary of 'NAR / Keller Williams / Berkshire Hathaway Found Guilty':

In this video, Anthony Lamacchia discusses the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) recent filing in the MLS Pin case, which he believes will lead to significant changes in the real estate industry. He meticulously analyzes the 33-page document, highlighting key points and expressing his concerns and disagreements with the DOJ’s stance.

Anthony points out the DOJ’s desire to eliminate the offering of cooperating brokerage compensation entirely, not just within MLS listings but in all transactions. He challenges the DOJ’s assertions about steering and commission rates, arguing that real estate commissions are subject to negotiation and market pressures, contrary to the DOJ’s implication that commissions are fixed and artificially inflated.

He also criticizes the DOJ’s comparison of U.S. real estate commissions with those in other countries, providing counterexamples to dispute the claim that U.S. commissions are significantly higher. Anthony is particularly concerned about the potential impact of the DOJ’s proposals on buyers, especially veterans, and the practicality of alternative compensation models, such as hourly rates for buyer agents, which he believes could end up costing buyers more.

Anthony appreciates the DOJ’s acknowledgment of the possibility for buyers to request sellers to pay buyer broker commissions through the sale proceeds, a practice common in commercial real estate. He predicts this could become the norm in residential real estate, though he questions the benefit for both buyers and sellers.

Throughout the video, Anthony emphasizes the importance of training and preparation for real estate professionals to adapt to the impending changes. He invites dialogue with the DOJ to better understand the nuances of the real estate industry and offers his insights to help shape a fair and practical regulatory environment.

Anthony concludes by promising to provide further updates and encourages real estate professionals to stay informed and engaged with the ongoing legal developments.

You may also like:
DOJ’s “Statement of Interest” Filed – MLS Pin Case
If DOJ Get’s Their Way, How Will Realtors Get Paid?
Ketchmark vs. Lamacchia, Debate Reflections, and More Updates

Read the Full Transcript For 'NAR / Keller Williams / Berkshire Hathaway Found Guilty':

Anthony Lamacchia: Real estate history was unfortunately just made in a small town in Missouri. I can’t believe it. I will admit I am surprised, but I just spent the last 45 minutes reading things and thinking about it and discussing it with our general counsel, and it is what it is, folks. These things happen. When you think about it, this is a jury of however many people that is not that educated on our business. In my opinion, they absolutely made the wrong decision. They ruled in favor of the plaintiffs who were going after the National Association of Realtors, Keller Williams and Berkshire Hathaway.

I still applaud all three groups for fighting it, not backing down, and going to trial on this. Unfortunately, the jury pool in this small place in Kansas City just had an impact on our entire real estate system across America. Actually, I think it will affect Canada as well because many places in Canada operate in a similar fashion. I will still say that I feel we have the most well-organized, most transparent, and best real estate system in the world. That is very clear to me. It’s very clear to experts who are aware.

It’s unfortunately not very clear to a jury who is not educated on our business and who sat in a courtroom for two weeks and listened to a lot of theatrics from Michael Ketchmark, who is obviously a skilled trial attorney who did all kinds of things, threw everything, all kinds of mud at the wall, made realtors, made the real estate industry sound bad just so that he could get the verdict that he wanted, making everybody sound like monsters, making it sound like realtors all collude together, we’re violating the Sherman Act and all these other things through all his theatrics.

The media sure played along. This guy is on the evening news, morning news, all over the place grandstanding, and in my opinion, making up lies about our industry and talking about all kinds of things, throwing shots at us, calling us the real estate cartel, and all kinds of things like that, but it clearly had an impact on this jury. Where do we go from here? Number one, folks, this is what I want you to hear more than anything else and that’s why I’m elevating my voice, number one, as of today, as of tomorrow, next week, next month, two months from now, it is business as usual. This doesn’t have some immediate impact on the way that we conduct business.

This case that we essentially as an industry just lost on is going to be appealed. They’re going to go to the appellate court at some point here, probably take a year or two, and they’re going to fight it. The thing that gives me comfort in that is then the discussions and the trial, the presentations from Ketchmark and his whole crew will be to judges. I’ve heard it’s three judges, I’ve heard it’s five judges. I don’t know. I’m not a law major, I don’t know these details, but I have confirmed that it will be– I’m told it will be appealed and I’ve confirmed that if it’s appealed, it will be going to the appellate court and it will be heard by judges, which makes me happy.

It’s no offense to those jurors. I’m not looking to offend them. They are obviously unaware of many facts about our business and they just heard both sides of the story for a week and a half. The one side that they heard from Ketchmark was filled with theatrics and all kinds of things about money and, oh, the real estate industry is just ripping everyone off and making billions and charging more than any other country.

If you hear that for a week and a half and you have no understanding of how it all works, I guess you can get fooled because that’s what happened to these people here. I’m sure that they didn’t come in with the intent of impacting our entire country and potentially having a negative impact on the entire industry, but that is what happened. I don’t want to repeat, then I’m going into other points.

Business as usual today, tomorrow, next week, the week after, a month, two months from now. However, this is what I expect, and this may change by Friday when I see you again. As of now, what I’m surmising and with people I’m talking to, what I’m expecting, and one of them is our great vice president of sales, Dave Karoly, who him and I have been talking about this and debating about it since the summer and we do feel that if enough media gets attention on this, it would be somewhat impossible to not have more home sellers question realtors on listing appointments. That’s one of the things that we expect to happen. We’ve been talking about that.

Myself and Dave, myself and our COO, Jackie, we’ve been discussing, okay, how will we train our agents to overcome that? That’s why we just spent an entire month, the last four weeks, going over one of our courses. It’s our most known course, our most famous course that we sell through Crush It in Real Estate across North America, which is our Buyer Lead Playbook course, and it talks about how to properly show your value to a buyer. We even talk about showing your value to sellers in there, being more explanatory about how things work, making sure that people are totally clear.

Those are the kinds of things that we’ve been training on and now we’re going to take that training and we’re going to triple it. All of you realtors that are out there watching at other companies, other broker-owners that are watching, I strongly recommend that you put a lot of time, energy, and effort into really, really learning these things inside out. Now, we serve six states. Two of the states that I can think of off the top of my head, New Hampshire and Connecticut, they call for a buyer agency agreement. It’s part of the law. It’s part of the requirements. Massachusetts does not.

Realtors and for all of you that have been in the business a long time who get some odd sense of pride out of saying, “I don’t use buyer agency agreements. I’ve never used them. I don’t need them,” I have news for you, it’s looking like you’re going to be needing them. It’s looking like you are going to need to really sharpen up on those skills and articulating your value and making sure your clients are clear. It’s looking like those will be necessary to get paid at somewhere here along the line. You’ve got some time. This decision doesn’t change things this moment.

Let me shift back to listing agents and listing appointments for a few minutes. I expect that sellers are going to start to ask more questions than they have been. Now, I want to remind everyone of something. I’ve been doing this for 19 years. That’s not what I want to remind you. 2004 to 2011 I did a tremendous amount of listing appointments. I had several instances where home sellers said to me, “Wait, how’s that work? How does that commission work? You’re charging me X and I’m paying Y to who?” That happened to me, folks. It wasn’t the end of the world. When I got that question, I answered that question.

I explained it to them so that they understood that we are in a cooperating business and sharing part of the proceeds of the sale and the commission with the buyer’s agent who’s working with the seller, there’s nothing wrong with that. Folks, 99.999% of the time sellers went, “Oh, okay. That makes sense. I remember when we bought the house 10 years ago and we had an agent and I remember not coming out of my pocket to pay that agent. I always wondered. This reminds me. That agreement makes sense,” and they sign away and they agree. Expect more of that. Don’t be naive into thinking that you’re not going to get these questions. You are going to get more of these questions and you need to be prepared.

If you think your level of preparation needs to be here, I don’t agree with you. You should be preparing for here. What do they say? Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. That’s what we do. That’s what we do in our training. I’ve had a few companies across the country that are on our Crush It in Real Estate training ask me in the last couple of months, hey, this verdict goes back, and then there are substantial changes to our industry. If this happens, if that, if, if, if, we can if ourselves to death, what should I do with my agents?

I’ve told them, sharpen up on our Buyer Lead Playbook, sharpen up on another course we have that teaches agents how to get the commission that they want when representing a buyer. We’ve got a whole course on it and we teach that here at our company. If you’re someone who’s watching who’s at another company and you’re thinking, “How do I do this? What do I do? Seek out some training.

I’m not the only trainer out there. We don’t offer training in the markets that we sell homes in and the markets that we serve. That’s only offered to our realtors in our company. If you’re outside of those markets and you want to look at our training, fine. This is not meant to be a training advertisement, but I know that people are looking at me and saying you want answers, you want an understanding of what to do. There’s a couple more points that I want to make. We have some other upcoming changes coming up in potentially in the MLS with that settlement in the MLS PIN settlement.

Some of those changes, not allowing any less than $1 in the MLS for cooperating broker compensation and switching it to allow $0 to allow a seller or a listing broker to offer $0 to a buyer’s agent. It’s been $1 for years as far as I can remember. It sounds like it’s going to change to $0. What the hell’s the difference? $1? That’s not going to change the behavior of the clients. I also want to point out, and Michael McDonagh pointed this out, our general counsel, some of these changes were made in other areas of the country and it’s been business as usual, so don’t completely freak out.

I’ve gotten a whole bunch of texts. My phone was going off so bad that our vice president of marketing, Lindsay, was sitting there with me with Mike, and she goes, “Oh my God, your phone is non-stop bing, bing, bing.” One of the texts that I looked at from a dear friend, a realtor friend of mine, was I’m throwing up in my mouth. Don’t throw up in your mouth. Nothing putrid has happened, nothing horrible has happened, but something has happened that causes us to need to sharpen up, need to get better, need to raise the bar, need to have a better understanding.

I want to just point out that some of these things that we’re discussing already happened in other markets like with MLS. The need to articulate your value, explain things, folks, we should be doing that anyway. We should be doing a good job at that anyway. Part of the problem here– Then I’m going to take questions. I’m going to take questions in about three minutes. If you have questions, start posting them in the comments. If you’re watching me on Instagram, jump over to Facebook or YouTube if you want to post a question because that’s where I’m going to take the questions from. Lindsay’s going to put them on the screen.

One of the things that’s happened to our industry that is somewhat hurtful in the last four years, three years, is things went so fast. The speed at which you had to show a home went so incredibly fast that realtors were just running around as fast as they could, and whoever could run the fastest could sell the most homes. You didn’t have to spend a lot of time dealing with a buyer and explaining to a buyer the benefits of home ownership, the value of working with a buyer’s agent because that buyer was just looking at you saying, “I don’t want to lose another home. Write my offer for me. Meet me tonight at 6 o’clock. Oh, you can’t meet me? Okay, I’ll call another one.”

Then we had sellers who were also buyers. “Just list my home. I want to go. I want to list it. I want to buy a bigger home.” Things went so quick. I think some people, their skills aren’t as sharp. Some of the things that people did to grind and to learn when they started in the business, perhaps 5, 10, 15, 20, 30 years ago, some people lost that. It’s time that we buckle up, folks, and get back to that. It’s time that we get back to those things. Just because three major massive institutions, National Association of Realtors, Keller Williams, Berkshire Hathaway, have to pay this large sum doesn’t mean that all the business that we’re doing is just going to go away. It doesn’t.

What it does mean is that is now going to go to appeal. We as realtors are going to have to do more explaining and be better about articulating our value. It probably also means that Michael Ketchmark, this money-grabbing lawyer, is going to go out and sue many other companies. I already saw a list. Someone on Twitter put a list of the next level of companies that he’s going to sue. If he keeps it up, he might be down to suing our company as well. This could happen. This is part of business. These things occur, but somewhere along the lines here, this is going to get worked out. We as an industry will prevail.

The real estate business is not going to stop. Homeownership is necessary. Homeownership is sacred. Homeownership, the dream of it is the American dream. It’s something that people want. That desire doesn’t go away because of one verdict. People wanting to sell their home and buy something bigger, that desire doesn’t go away because of a verdict. People aren’t suddenly going to be able to do all of this through technology because of a verdict.

Zillow has been trying for nearly 20 years to disrupt our industry with their technology. They’ve had no luck. They’ve done a good job getting in between us, buyers, agents, and realtors, but let’s be real, people still need realtors. Buying a home, selling a home is a massive financial transaction for most people. It’s the largest one of their lives. Not only do they need financial and real estate guidance, but they need some personal guidance.

This is a relationship business. The fact that it’s a relationship business doesn’t just go away because of some verdict in Western Missouri. Doesn’t just go away. Realtors are necessary. Realtors are here to stay. Our industry is here to stay. I can say that with 100% confidence. Just because some jurors in Western Missouri got somewhat fooled by this attorney and some others doesn’t mean that our whole industry stops.

Lindsay, if you’d like to start putting questions on the screen, go ahead. If not, I will wrap it up. Brandon LaValle, “How does this affect agents? Feel like it doesn’t change anything.” I wouldn’t say it doesn’t change anything. I wouldn’t say that. As I mentioned, realtors are going to have to get real good at explaining to sellers. That’s what I expect first. I expect that realtors are going to–

This is going to be in the news cycle, there’s no question. Within days, we’re going to have sellers that are going to be pushing back. I also want to point out we’re headed into slow season. There’s less sellers anyway. By the time we get to next spring, it’ll be not just yesterday’s news, six months ago news. I don’t expect it to be some huge problem, but realtors are going to have to really sharpen up.

Lindsay, put the next question up. Jack Attridge, one of the best realtors I know and a good friend, “I’m concerned about the future of NAR. I know you are a very staunch advocate, but this is a double whammy.” Jack, I agree. It’s a concern. I’m concerned for NAR as well as an organization, but I will tell you I have all the confidence that NAR is not going anywhere. NAR has been around over 100 years. NAR has been preparing for these types of things for many years.

We have all different types of funds and private property funds and things that we have been working on to prepare to defend the rights of private property, the rights of homeownership, and the rights of realtors for years. I strongly believe that NAR will prevail. I believe that when this goes to the appeals court and it’s in front of judges who make decisions solely on black-and-white law and they look at the Sherman Act and they look at the way we do things, they’re not going to feel that this is some type of collusion going on here, but this is business.

All industries get attacked sometimes, and our industry is sure under fire right now. This is when we’re going to find out who’s up for the fight, who has the skills, what groups have it, what companies can handle the pressure, what owners, what broker-owners can handle the pressure, and as a whole, who’s going to rise up. I’ll tell you one thing, I’m going nowhere. The more they throw at us, the higher I’ll rise up, folks.

Next question. Tim Callahan, “I’ve been on juries in the past and it absolutely amazed me how differently people interpreted the facts presented. It’s crazy. Understanding the problem before deciding on it is imperative.” Tim, I agree with you. I completely agree. Surprised we don’t have more comments. Someone here is saying, “Do you think Mass will make it a law to require buyer contracts?” That’s a good question. I don’t know the answer to that. I would say there’s nothing that I’ve heard of that is submitted at this point for that, so I’m unsure if that will happen. It’s a possibility.

Tobias Rimkus, “Anthony, we actually had a Sotheby’s agent here in Colorado who sold her home not offering a buyer agent commission saying that is the direction of the industry moving forward.” Let me point something out, and truthfully, I should have said this in my initial words and I forgot, but I remembered two minutes ago and you just reminded me. I want to remind all realtors, we are currently in a low inventory market where homes have been flying off the shelves. It is impossible to stay in this market.

One thing that they pointed out that Gary Keller had said at some point along the line, and Gary was right, Gary had stated how the only time he saw the average commission go to a high point, I’m not getting into numbers but a higher point was during the Great Recession when there was a ton of inventory. Historically, that’s what happens. When the market slows down, average commissions go up. Why? Because sellers start to really interview the right realtors. Realtors do a better job articulating their value. Realtors also have to put a ton more work into selling homes, takes more time, and sellers often want to provide more of an incentive to at least attempt to get realtors to come to their home.

Keep in mind, that’s not really the case so much anymore because buyers are driving that process. Buyers are the ones in the driver’s seat that are making those decisions based on the homes that they see. There’s no such thing as hiding properties from buyers. I think that as the market slows down, which it will, inventory is going to go back up at some point. As inventory goes back up, I think that there’ll be less downward pressure on commissions.

Frankly, that’s part of what pisses me off with this Ketchmark character. There’s no doubt in my mind that Michael Ketchmark is more interested, first, in getting himself a ton of money, getting his firm a ton of money, which, hey, that’s business. I’m in business to make money, so I understand that. There’s no doubt in my mind he’s more interested in that and in hurting the real estate industry as a whole than he is in helping homebuyers.

This is someone who’s basically saying– It’s not just him, there’s other cases, but him and a small group of people are basically saying, “Hey, we want to help homebuyers. We want to make it so that they have to come out of pocket at the time of sale when they have enough other expenses to pay their buyer’s agent. That doesn’t help homebuyers at all. I don’t agree with that.

Lindsay, any other questions? Sherry Clark, “How did we get here? Is this from agents not explaining, hey, we cooperate with other brokers? Is black and white in the listing agreement?” You raise a good question, Sherry. It is black and white in the listing agreement, but listen, trial attorneys and plaintiffs’ firms and class action lawsuits on large industries, Michael Ketchmark didn’t invent this. This has been going on for a long, long time, longer than I’ve been around. They obviously managed to get their hands on a number of sellers and teach those sellers that we’re bad.

Some of the things the sellers said in court, they were so obviously coached on what to say it was mind-blowing. They didn’t just dream it up. Mind you, this was past sellers who signed listing agreements that I don’t know, but I’m sure had the cooperating brokerage commission in it, went through with the sale, signed all the closing documents, sold their home, and then, “Oh, I’m mad and I want my money back.”

Ketchmark gets involved, teaches them all what to say. They go into court, they make real estate people sound bad, and then what? They now get $1.7 billion and each homeowner in the state of Missouri is going to get what? $22 Ketchmark’s going to get millions upon millions. The guy who’s standing there saying, “Real estate people are bad. They’re making too much money. They’re ripping people off,” he’s going to walk away with I don’t even know how much money.

If it’s a $1.7 billion settlement, the guy could be walking away with $50 million for all I know. I don’t know, but it’s a massive sum. I can guarantee you that. I also heard his parents were in the audience the whole time, and I’m sure his parents were sitting there saying, “Son, make us proud and set up the next 10 generations.” That’s how it goes, parents rooting for their kids.

Rich Rossi, “This will be tied up in appeals court for a few years. This is a time for agents, buyers, and sellers agents to really work together and explain to sellers the value of both seller and buyer representation.” Rich is 100% right. Rich is a veteran realtor and a friend. Rich, right on, buddy. You know I agree. We have to make sure we’re doing a good job at that. “Will we need to consider a buyer retention? Seriously considered it in the past year. I don’t know what she means by retention, but I know ISA is a great agent. I know that, just a little unclear on that question.

Michelle, one of our best, “Commission is usually questioned in the absence of value. Don’t be good, be the best.” That’s coming from one of the best listing agents I’ve ever seen, Michelle Wesson. Put her back in the screen. She deserves a shout-out. Michelle’s been in our company since 2012. Came to our company and substantially grew her business. One of the best I’ve ever seen at going through our training program and absolutely nailing the process. She’s helped so many sellers. She has droves of past seller clients that love her, and I can tell you none of her past seller clients would be jumping on to catch Mark’s case. That’s for sure.

Other questions? Rhonda Stone, “Will NAR and others file an appeal?” Yes. I mentioned that. No question they will. No question about that. It’ll be tied up in appellate court for a long time, and that’s what I’m trying to emphasize. Don’t think that things are changing this minute. Robert Johnson, “It seems to me that it may be around Robin. I hope to see buyers realize that they don’t want to be represented by a listing agent. Concessions to pay for seller’s agents. Thoughts.” Robert, I don’t know if you saw some of my past videos that I did. I did four in the last two weeks and I touched on this.

What I talked about is the thing that amazes me. 25 years ago, consumer advocates were out there screaming that buyers needed representation, buyers shouldn’t have to work with someone who is doing everything in the best interest of the seller. Remember, listing agents have a contractual obligation and a fiduciary duty to do everything in the best interest of the seller, and that’s in most states, states that operate with agency concepts. The consumer advocates were out screaming. It ended up coming around and NAR took a leadership role in that. They got together, and that’s how buyer agency was born, folks. That’s been our system for 23, 25, 27 years, and, oh, now all of a sudden it’s bad.

Think about that. Folks, an average of five million homes sell a year really since the year 2000. Let’s think about the math. 23 years, 23 times 5 is 115 million sales. Most sales have two sides. They have a buyer side and a seller side, as I’m saying. Call it 220 million real estate sides in the last 23 years. There’s droves of people that are happy. 223 million, there’s probably 222 million that are perfectly happy, but Ketchmark managed to find I don’t know how many, few hundred, I don’t know the number, people, trained them on how to be unhappy, and here we are today because of a small courtroom in Western Missouri. Interesting times, folks. Interesting times.

Karen Handy, “What about sellers offering a bonus to buyer’s agents? Here’s the thing. Karen, thank you for asking that question because you just tripped my memory into something I meant to say earlier. One thing the courts know and the lawyers know, they can’t stop or prevent a home seller from saying, “I’m willing to share a finder’s fee,” whatever you want to call it in the eyes of a consumer. “I’m willing to share compensation with whoever brings me a buyer.” They can’t stop that.

Look at the state of New York. The state of New York said, “Listing agents are no longer allowed to share their compensation and to pay buyer’s agents.” Now it will be done from sellers. Wow. Groundbreaking. Huge deal. Now the closing disclosure, instead of saying something like buyer’s brokerage compensation of 27 apples is going to go from listing brokerage to buyer brokerage, now it’s going to say from home seller to buyer brokerage. Yippee. Congratulations. Doesn’t everybody feel more safe now? Come on. Crazy.

Any other questions, Linds? Juan, “Do you think that it’s a good idea to start preparing the buyers to pay the buyer agency commission? Good question, Juan. Juan’s a good realtor in the North Shore. I would be cautious not to go out and scare the life out of your buyers, but does everyone need to sharpen up? Does everyone need to get more accustomed to using buyer agency agreements in case they are necessary to get paid? Yes. Would I get on the phone and call 50 buyers and completely freak them out right now? No, I wouldn’t. I would just get better in the weeks and months to come.

I think I’m going to wrap it up, folks. Last question. “Will we have a new script that talks about how buyers ultimately pay for the commission?” I’m sure lots of companies will create lots of scripts to train their realtors on how to answer these questions. This is the way that business has been done for the last– What did I just figure out? 220-ish million transaction sites for 23 to 25 years, and all of a sudden, it’s a problem. All of a sudden. I’m sure there’ll be lots of training.

What’s disgusting is look at Allen Dalton, one of the best real estate minds and trainers in the country, they found a video. By the way, they never even submitted it to evidence and said they were going to show it. They just showed it and then they told the jury, “Hey, pretend you didn’t see that.” Us human beings, we’re not wired to unsee things. When our human eyes see things, they stay in our brains. They do that.

They show the jury this video of Allen Dalton who was in a training setting. He’s in a podcast. He’s being funny. He’s telling an anecdotal story and they make him out to be a bad guy. Allen’s a great guy and an honest man. He’s a good realtor. He’s a good leader with Berkshire Hathaway. They picked on Gino for some training thing he did. Ridiculous. Gary Keller, same thing, ridiculous. It’s insane what they’re doing here. Obviously, the mud that they threw around that courtroom had an impact.

That’s all, folks. As I said, I’ll wrap with this, the real estate industry is going nowhere, realtors are going nowhere, the business is here to stay. but it’s one of those times that we’re going to have to pivot, adjust, improve, and deal with what’s to come. We’re here to do that, folks. I know one thing, I’m going nowhere. This type of stuff, whenever I face resistance, it only fires me up more, folks. I have more energy than I did three hours ago. If another bad verdict comes, I’ll have even more. Stay focused, make yourself better, let’s work together, and let’s get through this. I’ll see you again probably on Friday. Thank you, everyone.

Learn more about Anthony Lamacchia