Annual report pursuant to Section 13 and 15(d)

Commitments and Contingencies

Commitments and Contingencies
12 Months Ended
Dec. 31, 2023
Commitments and Contingencies Disclosure [Abstract]  
Commitments and Contingencies Commitments and Contingencies
Legal Proceedings
From time to time the Company is involved in litigation, claims, and other proceedings arising in the ordinary course of business. Such litigation and other proceedings may include, but are not limited to, actions relating to employment law and misclassification of employees verse independent contractors, intellectual property, commercial or contractual claims, brokerage or real estate disputes, or other consumer protection statutes, ordinary-course brokerage disputes like the failure to disclose property defects, commission disputes, and various liabilities based upon conduct of individuals or entities outside of the Company’s control, including agents and third-party contractor agents. Litigation and other disputes are inherently unpredictable and subject to substantial uncertainties and unfavorable resolutions could occur.
As previously reported by us in a Current Report on Form 8-K filed on November 28, 2023, we have been named as a defendant in a purported class action complaint in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas Sherman Division, filed on November 13, 2023, by plaintiffs QJ Team, LLC and Five Points Holdings, LLC, individually and on behalf of all other persons similarly situated. A second purported class action complaint was filed on December 14, 2023, by plaintiffs Julie Martin, Mark Adams and Adelaida Matta in the same court, naming us as a defendant along with others, many of whom are also named in the first lawsuit. These lawsuits are purportedly brought on behalf of a class consisting of all persons who listed properties on a Multiple Listing Service in Texas (the “MLS) using a listing agent or broker affiliated with one of the defendants named in the lawsuits and paid a buyer broker commission beginning on November 13, 2019. The lawsuits allege unlawful conspiracy in violation of federal antitrust law and, against certain defendants (but not us) deceptive trade practices under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Given the breadth of the residential real estate industry and the volume of participants in the residential real estate industry in Texas and the rest of the United States, we expect additional lawsuits to be filed, although no additional cases filed to date have named us as a defendant.

Though we intend to vigorously defend ourselves as we believe the lawsuits are particularly without merit with respect to us because of our flat fee business model, we cannot predict with certainty the cost of our defense, the cost of prosecution, insurance coverage, or the ultimate outcome of the lawsuits and any others that might be filed in the future, including remedies or damage awards. Adverse results in such litigation might harm our business and financial condition. Moreover, defending these lawsuits, regardless of their merits, could entail substantial expense and require the time and attention of our key management personnel.

Assets in Escrow

In conducting our operations, we routinely hold customers’ assets in escrow, pending completion of real estate transactions, and are responsible for the proper disposition of these balances for our customers. Certain of these amounts are maintained in segregated bank accounts and have not been included in the accompanying consolidated balance sheet at December 31, 2023, consistent with GAAP and industry practice. The balances amounted to $1.4 million and $1.8 million at December 31, 2023 and 2022, respectively.
Encompass Net Worth Requirements
In order to maintain approval from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to operate as a Title II non-supervised mortgagee, our indirect subsidiary Encompass Lending Group is required to maintain adjusted net worth of $1,000,000 and must maintain liquid assets (cash, cash equivalents, or readily convertible instruments) of 20% of the required net worth. As of December 31, 2023, Encompass had adjusted net worth of approximately $2.4 million and liquid assets of $2.6 million.
Commitments to Extend Credit
Encompass enters into IRLCs with borrowers who have applied for residential mortgage loans and have met certain credit and underwriting criteria. These commitments expose the Encompass to market risk if interest rates change and the underlying loan is not economically hedged or committed to a purchaser. Encompass is also exposed to credit loss if the loan is originated and not sold to a purchaser and the mortgagor does not perform. The collateral upon extension of credit is typically a first deed of trust in the mortgagor’s residential property. Commitments to originate loans do not necessarily reflect future cash requirements as commitments are expected to expire without being drawn upon.
Regulatory Commitments
Encompass is subject to periodic audits and examinations, both formal and informal in nature, from various federal and state agencies, including those made as part of the regulatory oversight of mortgage origination, servicing and financing activities. Such audits and examinations could result in additional actions, penalties or fines by state or federal government bodies, regulators or the courts.