NAR Corrects Media Mis-Information

NAR Corrects Media Mis-Information   cover picture shows a street lined with brick homes.

NAR Corrects Media Mis-Information:  The Truth About Real Estate Commissions: Debunking CNN’s False Narrative


Recently, CNN has been spreading inaccurate information about real estate commissions. Furthermore, they have falsely represented or suggested that the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) requires a standard 6% commission rate. However, this could not be further from the truth. In fact, NAR has issued a statement clarifying the situation.

NAR Corrects Media Mis-Information:    NAR’s Statement on Commission Rules

According to NAR’s statement, they do not set commissions whatsoever. On the contrary, commissions are completely negotiable between parties. Moreover, the rule in question only requires listing brokers to communicate an offer of compensation, which can be any amount, including zero. Additionally, NAR policies explicitly prohibit MLSs, associations, and brokers from setting or suggesting any specific amount for that compensation field.

NAR Corrects Media Mis-Information:   Details of the Rule

Specifically, the rule states: “In filing property with the multiple listing service, participants make blanket unilateral offers of compensation to the other MLS participants and shall therefore specify on each listing filed with the service the compensation being offered by the listing broker to the other MLS participants.” However, it also clearly states that “The listing broker retains the right to determine the amount of compensation offered…”

NAR Corrects Media Mis-Information:   NAR Antitrust Compliance Policy

Moreover, NAR’s MLS Antitrust Compliance Policy prohibits boards, associations and MLSs from: “Fix, control, recommend, or suggest the commissions or fees charged for real estate brokerage services” and “Fix, control, recommend, or suggest the cooperative compensation offered by listing brokers to potential cooperating brokers.” Consequently, any implication that NAR requires standard commission rates is blatantly false.

NAR CorrectsMedia Mis-Information:   Notice to Members

In addition, NAR’s Handbook includes a notice clearly stating that broker compensation “is solely a matter of negotiation between the broker and his or her client, and is not fixed, controlled, recommended, or maintained by any persons not a party to the listing agreement.” Furthermore, it specifies that compensation paid to cooperating brokers “is established by the listing broker and is not fixed, controlled, recommended, or maintained by any persons other than the lister broker.”

NAR Corrects Media Mis-Information:   CNN’s Misinformation Campaign

Despite these clear policies, CNN has been disseminating misinformation. Regrettably, they have inaccurately portrayed NAR’s rules as requiring standard 6% commissions. However, this could not be more wrong and misleading. Conversely, as NAR has reiterated, commissions are fully negotiable per their rules.

NAR Corrects Media Mis-Information:   Impact of False Reporting

Unfortunately, CNN’s false narrative has caused significant confusion among consumers. Additionally, it has unfairly disparaged the reputation of NAR and real estate professionals. Consequently, many homebuyers and sellers now mistakenly believe they have no ability to negotiate commission rates. However, this misunderstanding only benefits CNN’s apparent agenda against the real estate industry.

NAR Corrects Media Mis-Information:   The Importance of Accurate Reporting

Ultimately, reputable news outlets have a responsibility to report facts accurately. On the other hand, promoting false or misleading narratives is unethical and damaging. Moreover, it undermines public trust in journalism as a whole. Therefore, CNN should immediately retract and correct its inaccurate reporting on this issue.

NAR Corrects Media Mis-Information:   Advice for Consumers

For homebuyers and sellers, the key takeaway is this: Real estate commissions are fully negotiable. Conversely, do not let anyone claim otherwise based on CNN’s misinformation. Instead, have an open discussion with your real estate professional about their commission structure and negotiate terms that you’re comfortable with.

NAR Corrects Media Mis-Information:   The Role of REALTORS®

As for REALTORS® themselves, it’s crucial to educate clients. Specifically, clearly explain that you determine and negotiate your own commission rates based on the value you provide – not dictated amounts. Furthermore, direct any misinformed consumers to NAR’s official policies debunking false narratives.

NAR Corrects Media Mis-Information:   A Matter of Ethics

At its core, this issue underscores the importance of ethics in real estate. On the one hand, REALTORS® are bound to uphold NAR’s strict Code of Ethics, promoting transparency and protecting the interests of clients. However, unethical journalism that publishes false information only breeds mistrust and works against these principles.

NAR Corrects Media Mis-Information:   The Value of Professional Representation

Ultimately, professional real estate representation provides immense value to clients. Conversely, skilled negotiation of commission rates is just one aspect. Additionally, REALTORS® leverage expertise in pricing, marketing, contracts and more to ensure a smooth, successful transaction. Unfortunately, by spreading misinformation, CNN undermines the credibility and merits of this professional service.

NAR Corrects Media Mis-Information:   Combating Misinformation

In closing, it’s crucial that industry leaders, real estate professionals and conscientious consumers unite against the spread of misinformation like CNN’s false narrative. Conversely, we must champion factual reporting and ethical business practices that elevate the standards of our respective fields. After all, an informed public makes the wisest decisions for their real estate needs.

The Consequences of Misinformation

Regrettably, CNN’s inaccurate portrayal of NAR’s commission policies has far-reaching consequences. First, it directly harms the reputation and credibility of the entire real estate industry. Furthermore, it erodes the public’s trust in the expertise and ethics of real estate professionals. Conversely, by falsely claiming NAR mandates standard 6% commissions, CNN fuels the misperception that agents prioritize profits over client interests.

However, this misinformed narrative could not be further from reality. In truth, through NAR’s Code of Ethics, REALTORS® are bound to uphold the highest standards of integrity and client service. Moreover, negotiating fair compensation directly aligns with practicing transparency and fiduciary responsibility to the client’s best interests.

Sowing Public Confusion

Additionally, CNN’s false reporting has generated significant confusion among homebuyers and sellers. Specifically, many now mistakenly believe they cannot negotiate commission rates at all due to an across-the-board 6% “requirement.” Consequently, this perceived lack of negotiating power dissuades some consumers from even hiring an agent, wrongly viewing their services as an unnecessary expense.

However, by not enlisting professional representation, these individuals place themselves at a distinct disadvantage in the increasingly complex real estate market. Conversely, trying to navigate the legal, financial and marketing nuances alone opens the door to costly mistakes or missed opportunities during a transaction. Additionally, they also forfeit the skilled negotiating expertise that top agents leverage to maximize their clients’ interests.

Perpetuating a Harmful Stigma

Perhaps most troubling, CNN’s misinformation perpetuates the negative stigma that real estate agents are commission-obsessed salespeople only looking to line their own pockets. On the contrary, this harmful stereotype could not stray further from the ethical obligations instilled by NAR. Nevertheless, the inaccurate “standard 6% commission” claim fans the flames of this unfair prejudice.

Realistically, the commission structure allows agents to be compensated based on their results and the value they deliver – not an arbitrary threshold. Specifically, elite agents earn higher commissions by achieving optimal prices, skilled negotiations, flawless service and successful closings for their clients. Conversely, underperforming agents who fail to meet client needs do not remain in business long.

The Ethics of Journalism

Ultimately, CNN’s spread of blatant misinformation represents a dereliction of journalistic ethics and responsibilities. Moreover, as a major media outlet, CNN holds a public trust to verify facts and report objective truth – not perpetuate false narratives that sow confusion and undermine respected industries like real estate.

In an era of rampant misinformation and disinformation, CNN had an opportunity to model ethical journalism by thoroughly investigating NAR’s commission policies before publishing inaccurate claims. Instead, they have now contributed to the erosion of public trust in media sources by disseminating the very disinformation they should be combating.

NAR Corrects Media Mis-Information:   The Path Forward

Moving forward, CNN must take full accountability, issue an official retraction and correction regarding their inaccurate reporting on NAR commission policies. Moreover, they should make a concerted effort to redress the reputational harm and public confusion they have caused through prominent follow-up reporting that dispels the misinformation.

Furthermore, all media outlets and news sources should re-dedicate themselves to rigorous fact-checking and ethical journalism that prioritizes truth over narratives. Only through a recommitment to these core principles can credibility and public trust be restored in an era of existential misinformation.

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About the Author
Rob Johnson
Realtor, St. Petersburg FL