Beverly Hills Brokerage Looks To Get Ahead Of NAR Settlement Rules

Beverly Hills Brokerage Looks To Get Ahead Of NAR Settlement Rules

  • The Real Deal | Kari Hamanaka
  • 06/11/24

Michael Nourmand isn’t tossing and turning over new rules stemming from the National Association of Realtors’ lawsuit settlement.

Still, the president of the family-owned Beverly Hills brokerage Nourmand & Associates made a big move last week in what he thinks will keep the business ahead of the August rules implementation: displaying buyer agent compensation for all listings on his firm’s website.

“I want to make it easy for buyers’ agents to see what they’re getting paid,” Nourmand said. “They don’t have to ask the question. It will save my agents time because they don’t have to answer that question.”

He also sees the website update as a potential traffic driver. He explained that “we’re in an attention economy” where more clicks can translate to web monetization for the nearly 50-year-old firm, which also counts offices in Brentwood and Hollywood.

As of Aug. 17, brokers will no longer be able to negotiate buyer agent commissions through the MLS. Buyers will also be required to sign agreements with their agents before they begin working together.

The new rules are the result of the $418 million settlement reached in a class action lawsuit against NAR that’s led to uncertainty for some. For Nourmand, he doesn’t see much changing. Instead, he thinks talk of an industry shakeup around commissions has been driven by a one-sided view.

He cited a recent hotsheet of single-family homes running from roughly Echo Park to Pacific Palisades as an example. Out of 112 listings, one did not offer buyer compensation. Nourmand sees this trend continuing post-Aug. 17.

“All of the [settlement headlines] were ‘This is the end of real estate agents,’ ‘They’re all going to be out of the business,’ ‘The compression is going to be unbearable,’ ‘The fee structure in all these other countries is so low,’” he said. “And my whole thing was like, wait, wait, wait, hold on. You’re telling me people in L.A. didn’t know that they could negotiate their fees?”

Negotiations have been part of the homebuying process in the past and will continue post-rule implementation in a market where Nourmand argued many buyers in the higher price segment  have long had access to financial advisors, business managers, lawyers and other resources to know their options about commission negotiations.

He went on to add the mushrooming of reality TV shows focused on residential real estate agents can be partly to blame for some of the negative perceptions or misconceptions placed on the profession.

“America sees four agents that are getting a lot of promotion on TV and eating at fancy restaurants, driving expensive cars and it’s truncating the process,” he said. “I’m trying to get a listing right now. I’ve been talking to this lady for over a year. They don’t show that on reality TV.”

Nourmand would agree the industry appearance of glamor on reality shows isn’t necessarily a bad effect. However, these shows offer the experiences of the 1 percent, he said.

“The flip side of it is that [viewers] think we’re a bunch of overcompensated [people], living the life, eating at expensive restaurants, flying on private jets with clients,” he said. “The truth is most agents are grinding it out in the U.S. making $50,000 or $60,000 a year trying to make ends meet.”

If anything, networks and streaming services will at least have a new villain to cast in future seasons, Nourmand suggested.

“This NAR settlement has primetime TV written all over it,” he said. The consumer is dying to hear all of the rough conversations that are going to happen over the NAR settlement. They’re already filming, I’m sure, sellers saying, ‘I’m not paying an agent,’ ‘I’m not doing this,’ ‘I’m not doing that.’ And I think Bravo is going to give exactly what the consumer wants on TV.” 

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