LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – A settlement in a federal lawsuit will change the way real estate agents are paid and could make it more expensive to buy a home.

Currently, every time a house is sold, the commission is paid to the seller’s agent, who decides how much to give to the buyer’s agent.

That system led to federal lawsuits, with critics saying the commissions were excessive and that the seller’s agent unfairly benefited the buyer’s agent.

So the National Association of Realtors agreed to a settlement. If approved, the seller’s agent will not have to pay a commission to the buyer’s agent.

“This will actually allow for a lot more transparency about who gets paid what,” said Matt Mick, a broker at Lincoln Select Real Estate.

The purpose of the settlement is to make buying and selling a home cheaper and to give the customer more control in the negotiations.

But Mick thinks this could have the opposite effect on first-time homebuyers.

“Buyers’ agents are going to have a conversation with their client and say, ‘Hey, you’re going to have to pay for my service now,’” he said. “And that service will cost home buyers significant costs. Some home buyers simply don’t have the money for that. Many have just enough to buy a house, which means they have to save longer.”

And Mick said he wouldn’t be surprised if some agents quit the business as a result.

The settlement must still be approved by a federal judge.

If so, the change will take effect in July.

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