N.A.R.’s grip on the housing industry is such that not all Redfin agents can be asked to cut ties just yet. In many major U.S. cities, including Houston, Las Vegas, Nashville and Phoenix, N.A.R. so thoroughly controls access to listing databases that, without it, Redfin explained in an email, “it’s impossible to be agent.”
Still, Redfin operates in more than 100 housing markets in the United States, and more than 52 million people per month use it to search and view home listings, according to its most recent financial report. In many markets, including Seattle, Boston and New York City, Redfin agents will no longer pay dues to N.A.R. — a move that will amount to a loss of about $1 million annually for N.A.R., Mr. Kelman said in an interview.
When Redfin joined N.A.R. in 2017, Mr. Kelman said, he had hoped Redfin could help influence the group’s policies from within. “But we began to feel that we couldn’t,” he said. In interviews with The Times this summer, several former leaders at N.A.R. described the organization as a tight-knit circle of allies that closes ranks when faced with criticism.
Mr. Kelman said that culture was problematic.
“There are so many progressive forces within N.A.R. who are yearning to take a stronger pro-consumer stance,” he said. “For the life of us, we can’t understand why N.A.R. is so beholden to a few members.” Mr. Kelman told The Times that he was not willing to predict if others would follow his lead, noting that the real estate industry is cautious. But Redfin, he said, has been looking to untangle its relationship with N.A.R. for many months.
In August, The Times published an article in which multiple women accused the organization’s former president, Kenny Parcell, of harassment and sexually inappropriate conduct. Mr. Parcell resigned 48 hours later.