Discount brokerage REX sues Zillow, Trulia and NAR

With Zillow Group’s switch to displaying listings via IDX as a brokerage participant in MLSs across the country earlier this year, it began displaying IDX listings on Zillow and Trulia more prominently than those from other sources, such as FSBOs and other extra-MLS locations. And startup brokerage REX – which does not list its homes for sale in MLSs – has sued Zillow Group and NAR, alleging that the change on Zillow and Trulia disproportionately benefits MLS participants and that NAR rules that govern IDX policy create an anticompetitive environment. REX has been aggressive in advocating for changes that would benefit its business model, which centers on buying and selling homes outside of the MLS. It played a role in the U.S. Department of Justice’s lawsuit against NAR that led to a settlement in which NAR agreed to allow MLSs to publicly display buyer-broker commissions. The company also sued Oregon in December, alleging that a law that blocks homebuyer-rebate violates antitrust statutes. The increased scrutiny around the industry’s commission practices, and aggressive action from companies like REX, will drive increased conversation around long-time industry norms, as finance and technology continue to evolve the industry.