You may have recently received correspondence from a member of the Berkshire County Board of REALTORS® expressing the opinion that certain offers of cooperative commissions made to buyers brokers through the MLS are unfair and unacceptable, and also suggesting or encouraging that members agree on a specified amount of cooperative commission in all cooperative transactions. As you probably recognize, discussions among competitors about fees, including the amount offered as cooperative commissions to MLS participants, are inappropriate and raise serious implications under state and federal antitrust laws.
The Association strongly encourages you to not participate in any such discussions or proposed agreements regarding fees, including cooperative commissions. The Association and its Directors and Offices will not participate in any such discussions or agreements, nor will the Association permit any such discussions to occur in connection with Association activities or held on Association properties.
Cooperative commission offered to other MLS participants must be established unilaterally by listing brokers.
Cooperative commission offered in the MLS is made by and to the broker appointed Designated REALTOR / MLS Participant of member firms, not to an individual agents. To the extent that cooperative commission is to be negotiated in connection with an individual transaction, such negotiations should occur only directly between the listing Broker (Designated REALTOR) and buyer broker (Designated REALTOR) involved in such transactions.
Fro further questions, please see the following is a video “Window to the Law” from the National Association of REALTORS about antitrust: http://www.realtor.org/videos/window-to-the-law-antitrust-for-real-estate-professionals
Brokers / Designated REALTORS: It is very important that you discuss with your agents your office policy, so they will clearly know how to handle in-the-field situations to ensure their complete compliance with antitrust laws and regulations. Should you seek training materials or guidance, please feel free to contact the Board Office Staff. Thank you.