After more than a century leading the industry, the National Association of Realtors may finally face a rival.
Two agents have launched a new trade association as an alternative to the nation’s largest trade group, which has been bogged down by mounting antitrust litigation, leadership turnover and other institutional accusations, The New York Times first reported.
New York-based Compass agent Jason Haber and Mauricio Umansky, star broker and co-founder of The Agency are helming the new group, called the American Real Estate Association.
Both Umansky and Haber have been vocal critics of NAR in recent years, and the two are adamant that their association will not serve as a copycat version of the long-standing residential giant.
“N.A.R. was too big to fail, until it failed,” Haber told the Times. “People want something different. We’re setting ourselves up for failure if we try to replicate the N.A.R. model.”
Under the new association, Umansky and Haber have built a nationwide listings database using the technology from Umansky’s private listings service. The duo is calling the platform the National Listing Service, which is now live with some listings at theNLS.com.
“A centralized database with access to the full scope of listings across the country is better for everyone in the industry, and someone just had to do it,” Umansky told the NYT.
The pair plan to announce additional details about their association at Inman’s Connect on Wednesday. Some of its other policies include allowing member agents to determine their own commission rates and will not mandate that listing brokers and buyer’s agents cooperate with each other.
In another departure from NAR, the new association will not have a president or vice president, but details around the leadership structure were not reported. Both agents acknowledged that they were still working on fine-tuning the details, including where the group will be headquartered.
Umansky and Haber are self-funding the association, but said they plan to fundraise between $50 million and $100 million. Members don’t have to pay to join for at least another six months, with dues expected to be between $400 and $500 — about half of what agents spend on their memberships to NAR and their state and local associations.
Haber started the NAR Accountability Project, a grassroots movement calling for change at the organization after the group’s former president, Kenny Parcell, was accused of sexually harassing employees. Its demands included the immediate removal of Parcell and former CEO Bob Goldberg, who have both since resigned from their posts.
Umansky has challenged NAR in the courts since 2020, when he sued the organization, claiming its listing database policies were anti-competitive and interfered with his own database of off-market listings in Los Angeles. The case is ongoing.
— Sheridan Wall