This document is available in three formats: this web page (for browsing content), PDF (comparable to original document formatting), and WordPerfect. To view the PDF you will need Acrobat Reader, which may be downloaded from the Adobe site. For an official signed copy, please contact the Antitrust Documents Group.

U.S. Federal Trade Commission Seal

Federal Trade Commission
Washington, DC 20580

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

U.S. Department of Justice Seal

Department Of Justice
Washington, DC 20530




Via Facsimile & First Class Mail

Lt. Governor John D. Cherry Jr.
P.O. Box 30013
Lansing, MI 48909

June 2, 2006



Senator Patricia Birkholz
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909

Re: Michigan House Bill 4849

Dear Lt. Governor Cherry and Senator Birkholz:

We understand that the Michigan Senate is scheduled to consider Michigan House Bill 4849 ("HB 4849" or "the Bill"),(1) which would change current law to require Michigan real estate professionals to provide an array of services to their clients. In a letter to Senator Alan Sanborn and David Hollister, Director of the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth, dated October 18, 2005, we provided our analysis of this Bill's likely effects on Michigan consumers.

Our analysis showed that the requirements in HB 4849 would make it more difficult for real estate professionals to provide Michigan consumers with customized real estate brokerage services, and likely would decrease competition among real estate professionals. We concluded that with less competition, Michigan consumers will have fewer options for real estate services, likely causing some home sellers and home buyers to pay thousands of dollars more in commissions to real estate brokers. In our letter, we also noted that we were not aware of any evidence of consumer harm from allowing fee-for-service brokers to operate in Michigan. For these reasons, we urged the Michigan Senate to reject HB 4849 in its current form.

For your convenience, we have attached a copy of our October 18, 2005 letter. We appreciate this opportunity to present our views and would be pleased to address any questions or comments regarding competition policies.




    Respectfully submitted,





_______________/s/________________
Maureen K. Ohlhausen
Director, Office of Policy Planning
Federal Trade Commission

_______________/s/________________
John R. Read
Chief, Litigation III
Antitrust Division

cc: Tom Martin
Director, Office of Policy & Legislative Affairs
Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth

Michelle Rick, Esq.
Office of Attorney General Mike Cox


FOOTNOTES

1. We also note that Michigan House Bill 4850 would amend current Michigan law to require listing agents to disclose the requirements in HB 4849 to their clients. See HB 4850 § 2517(2). Neither bill will take effect unless both are enacted into law.