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Big Win for Home Sellers: Landmark Case Shakes Up Real Estate Industry

Victoria Pham  November 01, 2023

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In a courtroom in Kansas City, something big just happened. After only a few hours of thinking, the jury made a decision in a case that could change the way people buy and sell homes. The jury ruled in favor of the people who were selling their homes, and they will receive nearly $1.8 billion in damages.


The trial went on for more than two weeks, and it was a fight between regular folks trying to sell their homes in Missouri and some really big players in the real estate industry, like the National Association of Realtors, Keller Williams, and HomeServices of America.


The lead lawyer for the people selling their homes, Michael Ketchmark, was very happy about the jury's decision. He said it's been a long fight, almost five years, and now it's time for these big companies to give the homes back to the people.


But that's not all. Ketchmark is not stopping with Missouri. He's going to court against the National Association of Realtors and seven other big real estate companies. He wants to make sure that the way homes are bought and sold is fair for everyone all across the country.


The big companies, like Keller Williams and the National Association of Realtors, aren't so happy with the jury's decision. They say they followed the law and that the way they do things has been around for a long time. They think the jury didn't get to hear all the important facts, and they might even try to appeal the decision.


This whole case is about how much money people have to pay when they sell their homes. The people who were selling their homes said they had to pay too much, and it made it harder for them to get a good deal. They wanted almost $1.8 billion in damages because of this.


The judge who was in charge of the case said the jury agreed with the people selling their homes on most of the important questions. The first question was whether there was a plan to make things unfair, and the jury said yes. They also said that this plan affected the fees people had to pay and that the big companies knew about it. So, the people selling their homes got what they asked for.


The trial had a lot of excitement, with the lawyer for the people selling their homes, Michael Ketchmark, trying to prove his point by using different strategies. But the other side was more careful and said there was no secret plan to make things unfair. They also said there was no clear proof of this plan.


Some really famous people from the real estate world had to talk in court, like Gino Blefari from HomeServices of America and Gary Keller from Keller Williams. They all said there was no plan to make things unfair.


The people selling their homes also talked about how real estate agents were trained and how this training made it seem like a 6% fee was the standard. The big companies said that the fee is not set in stone and can be negotiated.


The trial also talked about the idea of steering, which means real estate agents would guide people away from homes with lower fees. The people selling their homes said this was a problem, but the other side said there was no proof of this happening a lot.


Surprisingly, technology became a big topic in the trial. Some said the internet and websites like Zillow made finding a home harder because they don't always have the right information. But others said this was not true.


Both sides used lots of data to try to prove their point. The people selling their homes brought in experts who used numbers to show there was a plan to keep fees high. The other side had their own experts who said this was not true. It was a big battle of ideas and information in the courtroom.



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