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To Our Brokers

Maryland REALTORS®’ 2024 President

Without a doubt, NAR’s proposed settlement and the deadline of August 17, when the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) implements new practice changes, has created a countdown of sorts. All of us are standing in front of a closed door, which will open later in August, wondering what will happen when the deadline arrives.

The door may feel big. It may seem imposing, and not knowing what’s on the other side fills us with a bit of trepidation. At the same time, it’s just a door.

What makes it easier to open that door? Preparedness.

There are things your state association is doing now to get ahead of the August 17 deadline. As I write this column, our Legal team and the Statewide Forms Committee have been hard at work updating our forms to embrace our new realities. We’re producing videos to help your agents understand these changes and how these changes can empower REALTORS® when working with Buyers.

Maryland REALTORS® is with you 100 percent on this journey. We’re getting our house in order now, but it can’t be just us. As Brokers, you must do your part, as well. How are you going to help your agents open that door?

Talk Compensation and Professional Worth. Let’s face it: much of the language that has been used as Buyer Agents has led us down a path where we’re questioning how we talk about compensation with clients. Lawyers, caterers, accountants—I cannot think of any other professional occupation where their professional worth is obfuscated as much as has been done in real estate. To some extent, we’ve done this to ourselves in how we’ve chosen to talk—or not talk—about compensation.

These new practice changes provide an opportunity where agents can talk about value, about their professional worth. Your agents are not pro bono. They are not volunteers. Your agents are experts in their communities, professional negotiators on the side of the Buyer, and knowledgeable about a plethora of aspects crucial to buying a home. It doesn’t matter if the seller is or is not bringing compensation to the table. Starting now, with every Buyer, your agents should be sharing their value and declaring their worth. As their Broker, lead this charge. Have the conversation with your agents. Have it again. Look at the processes in your office to determine how your agents can discuss compensation as an opportunity. They are about to provide a valuable service to the Buyer, and it is worth every penny.

Get the Buyer Representation Agreement Signed Up Front. As Brokers you already know that Buyer Agency has been enshrined as Maryland Law since 2016. Follow the law. Make sure your agents follow the law. When you have the compensation conversation discussed above, presenting the Buyer Agreement should be second nature. How does your brokerage support getting the agreement signed up front?

Roleplay. As you talk compensation and the Buyer Agreement with your agents, have them practice various scenarios, repeatedly. Have them discuss situations where they have brought up these important issues to Buyers. Roleplay easy scenarios and the difficult ones, using your new brokerage policies on compensation and the Buyer Representation Agreement. Do it again and again until these conversations become automatic within your company.

When we all work together—the brokerage and your state and local associations—we will find that the best way to open the door begins with the simple act of preparedness.

We’re in this together. Let us know how we can help.

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