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Why Settle with DOJ? Posted by Dick

On Tuesday, NAR announced that we had reached an agreement with the Department of Justice to settle the lawsuit over NAR’s Virtual Office Web site (“VOW”) policy. The first question that springs to mind for many Realtors is,

“Why?”

There are several good reasons:

First, the proposed settlement preserves and strengthens the MLS as a means for broker-to-broker cooperation that serves real estate professionals who are actively engaged in listing or selling property in that MLS by increasing the threshold for brokers seeking to become participants in a multiple listing service.

Second, the settlement acknowledges the success of the IDX policy, allowing it to remain, unchallenged and unaltered.

Third, the settlement allows NAR to put in place a revised VOW policy to provide rules for those brokers wishing to deliver brokerage services using a VOW. For the past four and a half years, there have been no rules due to the investigation and litigation.

Finally, by settling the case, we can avoid costly litigation and focus all of our resources on helping our members strengthen the housing market, our communities and our businesses.

We have already seen a lot of media coverage about the settlement – and some of it departs from the facts. Thankfully, real estate bloggers are helping to spread the word about what this really means, quoting NAR’s General Counsel, Laurie Janik.

We also created a special web page, www.realtor.org/DOJ, which provides additional information on settlement and what it means for consumers, Realtors and the MLS. I encourage you to visit the page if you have questions about the settlement. As always, we will continue to provide updates on the page as we move through the comment phase and onto a final decision in the months ahead. – Dick Gaylord, 2008 NAR President

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