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Old 02-27-2006, 07:53 PM
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Post Real Estate Commission approves minimum-service measure despite DOJ opposition

The New Mexico Real Estate Commission has voted to approve a measure, opposed by the U.S. Department of Justice, that requires all licensed real estate professionals in the state to perform a specific set of services for their clients even if a consumer does not want the agent to perform those services.

The rule change, which will reportedly take effect within about a month after the commission formally files the rule change, effectively bans certain types of real estate business models such as fee-for-service companies that place properties in a multiple listing service for a flat fee while providing few other services for clients. Some discount real estate brokers opposed the changes.

Controversy has surrounded the establishment of so-called minimum-service requirements for real estate professionals in other states, too.

Opponents have claimed the laws are anticompetitive, restrict consumer choice and potentially drive up the cost of real estate services. Proponents claim the measures can protect consumers by ensuring sufficient levels of representation, and that the measures can guard against situations in which an agent serving a consumer on one side of a transaction may feel obligated to provide service to a consumer on the other side of the transaction who is not fully represented by a real estate professional.

Proponents have also said that some minimum-service companies do not meet basic standards under some real estate agency laws.

Wayne Ciddio, executive secretary for the New Mexico Real Estate Commission, did not respond to Inman News requests for comment.

The commission met in the Las Cruces, N.M., brokerage office of commission chairman David Steinborn for two days last week. The commission held a hearing on Wednesday and voted Thursday to approve the rule change.

Previously adopted state rules required real estate professionals to provide certain services to consumers, though consumers could choose to waive those requirements.

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