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Statement from Washington REALTORS® President Alisha Harrison on the Burnett v. NAR et al Jury Verdict

The recent jury verdict in the case of Burnett v. NAR et al creates a resounding impact throughout the real estate industry. As your Washington REALTORS® President, I share in the profound disappointment many of you feel in the outcome. For a comprehensive understanding of the situation, including NAR’s plan to appeal the verdict, please refer to NAR's FAQ.

Washington on the Leading Edge of the Evolutionary Tide:

Our state has long been at the forefront of evolutionary changes within the real estate industry. In recent years, we’ve chosen to lead rather than be left with no choice but to react to shifting landscapes. Washington REALTORS® recognized the necessity to establish processes that prioritize both the broker and consumer. In lieu of waiting for courts or regulatory agencies to impose change, we took it upon ourselves to be the pioneers of change for the benefit of consumers and industry members alike.

Our commitment to this mission led to the formation of the Agency Law Presidential Advisory Group in 2022. Our focus was clear: enhance the consumer’s and a broker’s comprehension of agency relationships and bolster transparency in real estate brokerage compensation. This proactive approach paved the way for REALTOR®-backed legislation during the last legislative session, leading to the revised Agency Law taking effect January 1, 2024.

The Legislation:

In a nutshell, the Agency Law revisions fortify the industry in Washington by ushering in an era of greater transparency for consumers and positioning our members to favorably navigate these evolving times. Beginning January 1, brokers and consumers will enter a services agreement at the outset of their relationship, ensuring that as the broker and consumer work together, each knows what to expect from the other. We're proud to assert that our combined efforts have cultivated one of the most consumer-centric real estate environments in the nation.

Resources to Empower You:

One of our goals at Washington REALTORS® is to serve as a resource of knowledge and support for our brokers. As the industry adapts to the requirements of the revised law, it is critical that you be well informed. Dive deep into the history and the path leading up to these changes by visiting our Agency Law resources page here. It houses invaluable insights, including our Industry Evolution series, Conversations Around Buyer Broker Compensation series, and various Legal Hotline articles.

We’ve also created resources for our Designated and Managing Brokers to help mitigate questions from brokers in your office, including a brand-new video/podcast/blog series called DBrief! With this new series and the“What’s Your ‘R’ Value?” resource page, we’re here to ensure that you stay well-informed, receive continuous support from the association and are able to effectively communicate the value of membership.

Moreover, I urge everyone to register for Operation Evolve, a course taught by the Legal Hotline Lawyer Annie Fitzsimmons. This class addresses the changes in law, forms and practices that brokers will experience beginning January 1. We’re offering a DB only version of this class as well, with the goal of preparing designated brokers and others responsible for training brokers with teaching tools and answers to lots of questions. Sign up by visiting our class calendar here.

You are a part of an organization that has prepared for changes here in Washington State. Together, we'll continue to foster an environment that honors our commitment to excellence, integrity, and service. Thank you for being a Washington REALTORS® member.

Alisha Harrison
President, Washington REALTORS®