Is the real estate industry about to fundamentally shift?

The internet changed nearly everything about real estate.

Buyers can now see all the listings everywhere, learn the price histories and estimated values of houses they look at, and see the minute details of those houses before ever visiting them or retaining an agent.

But one thing never did change: they still can’t easily see an agent’s commission. A settled lawsuit in the United States and two more in the courts in Canada could change that.

Murtaza Haider is a professor of real estate management at Toronto Metropolitan University.

“I see commissions as the incentive for people to work hard and sell a house for you, or help you buy a house, but that commission should be transparent, it should be negotiable and people should know they can negotiate it,” says Haider.

So just how much influence does this simple but incredibly opaque part of the real estate industry have and what happens if these lawsuits put an end to it?

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