COVID-19 got into our household during the holidays. We had a small gathering on Christmas of only immediate family, and within a few days we all had the virus. We still don’t know how we got infected. While most of us were lucky enough to have only mild symptoms, it was still very scary. Six months ago, I didn’t know anyone personally who had contracted the virus – today I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been touched by a COVID-related death. I’m afraid we have a long way to go with this pandemic. The vaccine rollout has been slow, especially in California, and with the virus mutating, there is a lot more uncertainty.
I still think 2021 will be far better than 2020, but concerts, live sporting events, large conferences and busy restaurants might be further away than we had hoped. Having the virus and surviving it only intensified my conviction that our health and safety must come first. Everything else can be replaced when we get to the other side of this. From a risk versus reward standpoint, I am glad schools will be open in the Fall. There are only so much our kids can take, but we all need to do our part to be safe and responsible. Please wear a mask!
This week, in a brief to the judge of a major antitrust lawsuit known as Nosalek, the U.S. Department of Justice called for decoupling buyer and seller agent representation. If the DOJ gets what it wants, it would mean that listing agents would no longer be permitted to share their commissions with agents representing buyers, and buyers would have to pay out of pocket to have an agent represent them.
I was in D.C. on Friday for the celebration of life for my friend, Dave Stevens. Dave was a former FHA Commissioner under Barack Obama and an icon in the mortgage banking industry. I was lucky to know Dave as a good friend.
If you’re not familiar with the Sitzer class action lawsuit against the National Association of Realtors and several of the largest real estate brands, it centers on how real estate agents are compensated. The lawsuit claims that the practice of seller and buyer agent cooperation or sharing of commissions is an anti-trust violation and has resulted in inflated commissions paid by consumers. While a jury in Missouri has already sided with the plaintiffs, the judge has not rendered a final verdict.