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Real Estate Broker License DefenseThe current pandemic has noticeably altered the way most industries function. Prior to covid-19, Licensed Real Estate Brokers heavily relied on the ability to meet with possibly buyers/renters in person. Home tours were always in person, and open houses relied on the ability to invite many people into a small space to view the prospective house/condo/apartment prior to applying for it. The ability to meet in person has been heavily altered, and for a time especially toward the beginning of the pandemic, all in person meetings were effectively non-existent. Despite this, the show must go on, and Real Estate Brokers must make clever adjustments in order to reach their clientele and to navigate the housing market underneath these unprecedented terms.

One of the main differences and changes to the industry is the utilization of virtual tours. It was uncommon to organize a virtual tour for a possible buyer prior to covid-19, simply because it’s difficult for the person to gauge the space and to see the details as one would in-person. This type of tour might only occur for possible out-of-state individuals looking to move to this location. With the inability to avoid virtual tours, Real Estate Brokers have had to become adept at using technology to adequately and desirably show the space they are seeking to sell/rent out. There is also a different personal experience with virtual interaction rather than in person interaction, and the onus is certainly on the licensed professional to make the experience comfortable and easy for the interested party. This requires a distinct set of skills that the professional would have to quickly adapt to in order to continue to make money and generate happy clients.

The types of houses and amenities people are seeking out has also changed. With many individuals working from home for the foreseeable future, and some possibly permanently, having a space for a home office is absolutely vital. Because of the prevalence of working from home, individuals who would not normally seek quieter spaces are doing so, which can be a challenge for Real Estate Brokers who practice in places like Chicago. This certainly has encouraged and effectively required the professional to adapt to these particularities and to attempt to anticipate these particular needs from a prospective buyer/renter in the particular circumstances generated by the pandemic.

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Illinois real estate broker license defense attorneyAn ever-present war has been raging between Zillow and real estate brokers. Zillow believes it filled a gap where NAR failed to provide valuable services for online consumers. Real estate brokers believe Zillow steals listing information from MLS agreements, repackages the information, and then sells the information back to real estate agents who owned it in the first place.

In 2015, upon the merger of Zillow and Trulia into one big company, Zillow Group, the war between brokers and Zillow escalated. And now, the war seems to be entering an escalated phase once again. For several years, Zillow has worked to transition into a buying-and-selling entity, offering iBuying services through Zillow Offers, and mortgage, title, and escrow services through Zillow Home Loans. Taking things a step further, Zillow has now started its own licensed brokerage: Zillow Homes.

Starting in January 2021, Zillow Offers customers in Atlanta, Tucson, and Phoenix will be able to work directly with licensed employees of Zillow Homes. Zillow Homes plans to expand into additional markets later in 2021. Zillow Homes will be licensing existing Zillow employees under the entity, rather than recruiting agents from any other companies. With this move, Zillow will be free to pull directly from the MLS Internet Data Exchange, which it believes will allow Zillow to more efficiently serve mutual customers with MLS partners. Zillow has also announced plans to join local real estate associations, including NAR.

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Chicago Realtor License Defense LawyerOn Thursday, November 19, 2020, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced that it planned to file a lawsuit against NAR, along with a proposed settlement that targeted NAR’s rules, policies, and practices, which the DOJ says are anticompetitive. The DOJ’s proposed settlement attempts to bring a level a transparency and competition to the real estate industry.

The proposed settlement posed by the DOJ would require NAR to change rules regarding broker commissions and service charges. NAR would have to change rules that currently enable MLS participants to not display or distribute MLS listings based on the compensation offered to the brokerage or agent, and rules that permit MLS participants to represent/suggest that their services are free to a client with no cost. The proposed settlement also calls for an end to limiting access to lock boxes to real estate brokers with respect to those properties listed on the MLS.

NAR agreed to comply with the proposed DOJ settlement agreement and will modify some of its rules and repeal others in order to resolve the antitrust lawsuit. NAR must comply with the settlement agreement within 45 days.

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