Saying those words out loud is pretty surreal, but last week, my wife Kathy and I became grandparents for the first time. Amelia Claire Smeraski was born on October 15th to our daughter Jaimie and her husband A.J. I can already tell that Amelia is a beauty, like her mom and grandma, with a calm and curious disposition. Auntie Marisa and uncle Aaron are mildly obsessed with their new family member and say they can’t stop staring at her pictures. Amelia was born at the tail end of a once-in-a-century pandemic. I think a lot about babies born in the last two years, and how different their lives have been as compared to other babies born in recent years. A lot has been written about the negatives, but maybe something good will come of it as well. I guess only time will tell. All I can say at this point is that everything people say about how it feels to be a grandparent for the first time is absolutely true. It is a life-changing experience and we are going to enjoy every minute of it.
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.