While the mid-March settlement by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) may create opportunities for builders to deal more directly with buyers, D.R. Horton chairman Donald Horton said the nation’s largest home builder will continue to work closely with the brokerage community.

“We think this is going to take some time to play out. We work very closely to the brokerage community and will continue to do so regardless of what direction this takes,” Horton said on D.R. Horton’s second quarter earnings call. “I think you are going to see some restructuring in terms of commissions, and it will have some impact on the number of Realtors who stay active through the market.”

The class-action lawsuit was filed in Missouri by a group of home sellers who sold properties between April 29, 2015, and June 30, 2022, against NAR, Anywhere, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Keller Williams, and RE/MAX. The plaintiffs claimed real estate commission rates were too high and NAR’s cooperative compensation rule caused the sellers to pay too much in real estate commissions.

As part of the settlement, Anywhere and RE/MAX agreed to pay $138.5 million collectively, and Keller Williams agreed to pay $70 million into settlement funds to be distributed to qualifying settlement class members.

The industry is waiting to see how this will affect builders, who often paid commissions and could stand to gain millions of dollars in reparations. In a LinkedIn post shortly after the NAR settlement was announced, D.R. Horton said it paid out almost $1 billion in two years to agents.

Horton said the company will remain close to the Realtor community and “communicate with them” as the details unfold in the coming months. He said the home builder will focus on its digital presence to remain “ahead of the curve in terms of reaching customers through whatever form it takes over the next couple years.”

Earlier in the week, the nation’s third-largest builder, PulteGroup, filed a court document complaining that the process for builders to file claims is confusing.

“Pulte has not seen any information about class size, expected claim rate, or the claim administrator’s evaluations in dividing up settlement funds,” PulteGroup wrote in a new filing to the court. “Most of this information typically would be provided in a plan of allocation, a document routinely provided before the opt-out date.”