Zillow Busted In Arizona For Not Having An Appraiser License

from the safe-for-now dept

Earlier this year, an insurance agent was found guilty of the unauthorized practice of law for helping a client draw up a will using Quicken software. A couple of months later, the proprietors of a website that offered to help people file for bankruptcy were dinged for basically the same thing. Both of these cases were disturbing because they were examples of a profession (lawyers) receiving protection against new technologies that could help automate their services and over the long run force them to lower their fees. Since its inception, the popular real estate appraisal website Zillow has been attacked by those in the realty profession, since it has the potential to break up the monopoly that brokers and agents have on real estate information. Now the state of Arizona has issued a cease & deist against the site, because it delivers home price estimates without having appraiser license in the state of Arizona. This is nothing more than a baldfaced attempt to protect members of a certain profession against a new service that might undercut their profits. In fact, it was the Arizona Board of Appraisal that delivered the C&D to Zillow. You can see on the board’s website that nearly half of its members are professional appraisers that would naturally have an interest in keeping out the competition. While this decision obviously helps appraisers, it’s really hard to see how this arrangement benefits the people of Arizona.

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Comments on “Zillow Busted In Arizona For Not Having An Appraiser License”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Licensing is NOT protectionist

Everything cited in the article would be perfectly legal IF THOSE DOING THE WORK HAD THE PROPER LICENSE. I suppose the next thing we’ll see is Techdirt griping about somebody getting in trouble for doing simple medical procedures without a medical license.

The question is this – do you really want “buyer beware” or do you want some (and I admit its not the greatest) oversight to insure the service you buy is provided by someone who has at least some qualifications? Hell, I could slap up a website for appraisals, let people give me their credit cards for the appraisal and let my dog pick numbers out of a trash bin as my main basis. Licensing holds those providing the service to a minimum standard of competency. The benefit is the people of Arizona know its not Rover deciding the value of their property, but someone who actually passed a test and knows something of which they opine upon.

Licensing can sometimes be obtrusive but is also sometimes necessary. Besides, no lending institution is going to take an appraisal from that site seriously anyway, so my opinion is that it is the people of Arizona who get ripped off.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Licensing is NOT protectionist

I’m not aware that Zillow actually sells anything, but I have bought a house in Arizona. In order to get a loan, the property MUST be appraised for at least the value of the loan or you don’t get a loan. I am pretty sure that the lender is not going to accept a printout from Zillow as an appraisal. Based on the lender’s requirement to have an appraisal, I don’t see how having this ESTIMATED information available to the public can harm the industry that provides a CERTIFIED appraisal to the lenders.

Howard Bouchard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Licensing is NOT protectionist

You are mistaken. Wall Street is accepting most mortgage originations today for securitization that are being packaged by banks were the only valuation done was by a computer model similar to Zillow and or individuals with no training in or license in appraisal.
We are creating the next bubble. Some loans files still include an appraisal by a licensed and train appraiser, but they are fewer by the day.
The investors buying these must be morons.

Jamie says:

Re: Licensing is NOT protectionist

You are making a bunch of accusations and statements about the Zillow system that just aren’t true.
1. Zillow does not provide a definitive appraisal. It provides an estimate only. When you go to get a loan for purchasing the house, you are still going to have to get an appraisal from a licensed appraiser.
2. Zillow doesn’t cost you anything. So they aren’t getting paid by you. You aren’t buying anything from them. You aren’t getting ripped off, it’s just an estimate.

The only real use for the Zillow system, is to give the user an idea of what a house is worth, without having to pay an appraiser. Again, it’s nothing but an estimate. So the appraiser will still get paid if the house ever sells. The only payment the licensed appraiser is missing out on is the casual owner who gets their house appraised every year just to see how much its worth. Even if he has no intention of selling.

Plain and simple, this is a blatant attack on competition where no loan is involved. Because the need for licensed appraisers isn’t going to go away. But the monopoly on the information they provide is going away.

Oh, and licensing is protectionist when the goal isn’t to protect the user, but to protect the business models and revenue streams of the industry.

Just as an aside, do you work for the real estate industry?

Jason says:

Re: Licensing is NOT protectionist

I loved zillow, it worked great and was very close to my my selling house and buying house. Great ballpark to make a quick representation of. Personally these certified people in the real estate are useless most of the time. At times I was so pissed off at the whole process that I could have done it better myself. Lawyer’s, realtors, appraisers… Your comment is stupid.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Licensing is NOT protectionist

Why should a license be required? The license doesn’t benefit anyone other then the group it is actually protecting (realtors). By your logic, a license would be required by a store to sell you a gallon of milk, for the private sale of a car, or to even hold a garage sale!

The entire concept of a license is to protect a special interest group.

Apparently you’re in that category.

Rapture This says:

Re: Re: Licensing is NOT protectionist

Right on! The other purpose of licensing is to ELIMINATE COMPETITION. As a former RE agent, I thought the whole industry was corrupt to the core. Most RE licensing courses were total BS that taught next to nothing about real world practice. [The real education happens after you get your license and start working in the field] They just wanted to be PC and make sure you were scared stupid about Fair Housing, Agency Law (who do you represent?) and could regurgitate worthless crap like the names of the AZ Dept of Real Estate big shots and the definitions of “fee simple”, “easement” and “mortage”.
The start-up fees are another form of eliminating competition.
My daughter has a cosmetology license (another laughable joke & huge waste of money) to CUT FREAKIN’ HAIR! Gimme a break! If an African-American woman wants nice ethnic braids, there are virtually NO licensed cosmetologists who can do the work–only the neighborhood free-enterprisers (who get busted frequently by the Cosmetology Nazis).
Oh . . . and don’t even get me started about appraisers. What a cozy little monopoly they enjoy.

ChrisH (profile) says:

Re: Re: Licensing is NOT protectionist

I’m pretty sure there are several licenses involved in selling you that gallon of milk 🙂

So you’d be totally cool with people opening their own medical practice without having attended med school?

Licensing is another form of regulation (think drivers license). Whether or not it’s fair depends on the licensing requirements. If the license is based on a state exam, the costs are small, and they are issued to anyone, then I think it’s fair. If the license is restricted to members of a private organization or guild, then I think that’s unfair and it becomes protectionist. I think we can all agree that offering free advise should not require a license. However, at least with the Ziinet, they were charging a fee, and the advise was customized for each client. This was not a blog site, and it only came up because the paying client was unhappy with the advise they were given (it was wrong).

Same_Old_SHxT_Different_Day says:

Re: Licensing is NOT protectionist

PLEASE SAVE IT FOR SOMEONE WHO CARES ! – Just because some is “licensed” does not mean they know damn thing, just how to pass a test. Nor does it mean, or entitle them to a corner on the valuation market.

How many totally USELESS “Microsoft/Oracle/HP/Project management Certified MORONS” have for the “paid certification” programs cranked out? How many totally LAME Realtors have you run into ? Let’s not even TALK about Contractors.

Secondly – Estimates are just that. Estimates. Learn how to f_cking read. I think this gets me more than anything else.

I live in AZ – the real estate market refuses to get with the program that the boom years are over – they desprerately cling to the hope and claim that it is still hot, trying to sell homes at ridiculously overinflated prices, and are attacking anything that is contrary to their claims.

I know from experience, as I just spent 9 months looking and arguing with realtors, and finally bought something for over 7 figures (call ME an idot), that was fairly close to what it should have been priced at. Hopefully – I will not lose my shirt down the road.
Yes – it is buyer beware. That means “Don’t be a lazy shit – Do your homework”

Zillow, if anything, provides you with a consolidated look at some of the relevant data you need to make an intelligent buying decision. You have to exercise just as much censorship judgement with Zillow, as you do with Realtors who will spin nearly anything, (let’s give them some credit) and just want you to buy over the shortest buying cycle possible.

The concept is simple, and nothing new – information = power.
Control the information, and you control the market.
Zillow, at is roots – is free speech.

ChrisH (profile) says:

Re: Re: Licensing is NOT protectionist

Certifications are different because you can choose to ignore them. Yeah, there are some cases where the licenses are so easy to obtain, they are nearly worthless, for example I’d be all for the elimination of driver licensing requirements. Although the fact that it can be revoked if you end up sucking at driving can be handy.

A business license is a vehicle for enforcing regulations. Is everyone here in favor or eliminating regulations on businesses?

ScaredOfTheMan says:

Free Speech?

I wonder if Zillow could argue that they are simple voicing their opinion on a property, its simple that, its not certified, its not official, its fictional. Heck they even tell you its a Zestimate, not an Estimate.

This is the same as telling anyone who sells on ebay they need an auction license.

Its silly. Welcome to 2007.

apprizer says:

Re: Free Speech?

An opinion of value is an appraisal. Here’s the definition shown in the dictionary:

“Real estate appraisal, property valuation or land valuation is the practice of developing an opinion of the value of real property, usually its Market Value.”

Zillow can never know what condition a property is in, what kind of view it has, what the landscaping looks like, what kind of functionality it has, and a myriad of other factors. All it analyzes is comparable sales and their prices based on what the tax rolls say. For instance, my home says 5 BR on the tax rolls but it’s really a 4 BR. Zillow thinks I’m in a 5 BR and overvalues my home. It can work the other way too. Never say never, but it’s highly unlikely that Zillow will ever be able to reach the technological ability to replace an actual live human being walking into the home.

AZ Resident says:


Why can’t the morons live in another state. I like checking prices on Zillow and I’m smart enough to know they aren’t totally accurate though it was awefully darned close when it came to my neighbor’s house.

Witty Nickname, I’ve supported enough Access DBs to feel your pain. Try supporting a VB6 app that was outsourced to India, there’s a reason they only get paid $5 an hour to write code.

Does this mean someone can send a C&D letter to Google Earth or do they have licensed cartographers working on staff?

Scott says:

Similar things have been ongoing for years now. It doesn’t really affect appraisers as much as people think because anyone can give an opinion of value (including you) but unless they have a license it carries no weight for those necessary transactions that call for licensed individuals in the first place. For example, a real estate agent can give an opinion of value based on comparables but no lending institution is going to grant a loan based on that opinion. Personally, I don’t know why Zillow just doesn’t attain individuals that have a license already. The other side of the coin is that unprofessional people can often end up hurting individuals because of their inexperience and lack of knowledge. Furthermore, if there is no governing board, I can see these types of institutions doing things that are unethical or misleading but there would be no recourse because there is no ethical board governing their activities. It’s like being able to open a bank without anyone overseeing it. In the short term it looks great for the individual but over the long term it would lead right back to the old days of the S&L scandals – the reason for licensing in the first place.

j.h says:

Appraiser License

Similar things have been ongoing for years now. It doesn’t really affect appraisers as much as people think because anyone can give an opinion of value (including my 5 year old cousin) but unless they have a license it carries no weight for those necessary transactions that call for licensed individuals in the first place. For example, a real estate agent can give an opinion of value based on comparables but no lending institution is going to grant a loan based on that opinion. Personally, I don’t know why Zillow just doesn’t attain individuals that have a license already. The other side of the coin is that unprofessional people can often end up hurting individuals because of their inexperience and lack of knowledge. Furthermore, if there is no governing board, I can see (if legitimized) these types of institutions doing things that are unethical or misleading but there would be no recourse because there is no ethical board governing their activities. It’s like being able to open a bank without anyone overseeing it. In the short term it looks great for the individual but over the long term it would lead right back to the old days of the S&L scandals – the reason for licensing in the first place.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Are Appraisers That Great?

I have a beef against the entire Real Estate industry. It always seems like an overly complicated process to buy and sell a house, with multiple “licensed” professionals sticking their hands in my pocket at every turn.

These people are often less qualified than their licenses would suggest. For example, I was having a chat with my last real estate agent (who did a good job, BTW) about interest rates in 2005, and I said it looked like the fed would be driving them up soon. He said “the fed has nothing to do with mortgage rates”. This guy had been in the biz for 20+ years! If you don’t know how wrong he was, take an econ or finance course. And I paid this guy $30,000 to know less than me about his industry. But I had to, because he knew the secret handshake (ie had a license).

On to Appraisers. In my experience, they are sent from the lending institution to verify that the house is worth at least as much as the offer that was made on it. Why is it that, in my experience, the house somehow mysteriously always is worth exactly what the offer was, and exactly what the bank needs it to be worth to clear the mortgage? One bank told me my house had been appraised at the loan value, which was good, so I asked when the appraiser had been inside the house, since I didn’t let him in. Apparently it was a “drive-by” appraisal. What a load of BS! I put $60k into improving the inside of that house, and this guy appraised it from the curb!

Remember when people used to celebrate the idea of machines that could “do human’s work” and liberate us from the tyranny of jobs. (Disney, the Jetsons, Asimov…sorta) Guess that’s not going to happen.

Technology (and trade, and the times) will displace many people, over and over again. Change is the only constant. People will need to re-train and find other things to do — and most do because they have no protection. Yet Guilds, Licensed bodies, quotas, and other artificial barriers to change will provide some friction before those protected are eventually forced to change with the times.

There is no fairness that an engineer will lose her work the day it becomes an economically good decision to ship the work to India, yet when that engineer is forced by unemployment to sell her home, she must overpay non-competitive agents and appraisers in the process.

Jeff Blum says:

Re: Are Appraisers That Great?

YES THEY ARE First of all, the mysteriously allways hitting the number is rediculous. If all of the licensed individuals involved in the sale of a property do their homework, of course the appraised value is not going to kill their deal. They would all be out of buisness pretty fast. This does not mean the appraiser just punches in the number needed. Second of all, allowing a bank to order a drive by appraisal on your property that you invested 60K in upgrades, that are not visible from the street, well that is your own fault (if getting the highest appraised value was important), which obviously it wasnt for the loan YOU were getting. And why are you saying “this guy” appraised it from the curb, that is what the bank ordered from him, a drive by. Once again ignorance insulting an individual who has spent time and money educating himself to be a LICENSED APPRAISER. You are the exact reason we need licensed professionals in the real estate buisness, to save people like you who are ill informed. Leave the estimating to the professionals. On to Zillow, Zillow has about a 5% accuracy rate in my experience, especially in the rapidly changing market in AZ. Its worthless and buyers should beware if they are going to rely on this misleading website. Rid of all AVM’s.

That Guy says:

Similar concepts

If you were to take the same DRM argument used for file sharing, it actually works BETTER for Zillow.

As stated by someone before While Zillow may provide you with Ballpark pricing, financial institutions still require certified appraisals.

So if all Zillow does then is provide baseline ballpark information that speeds up the sales process then it actually should in theory expedite the amount of time before the official appraisal is called.

So unless the average consumer pays an appraiser for multiple speculative appraisals of multiple properties while trying to narrow down to a single purchase, I simply don’t see how Zillow is causing harm. From my experience most people only pay for the appraisal as the final step of the purchase.

If appraisals are down for appraisers in AZ I would have to think it would have more to do with a sluggish real estate market then with Zillow. One would assume the real estate industry in Arizona keeps stats on appraisals vs sales. There should be some sort of industry trend in the market that keeps tabs on the conversion ratio of appraisals to sales. If such a stat existed that would be the real tell-tale sign of what if any impact Zillow may have had.

Anonymous Crackhead says:

“A license is a barrier to entry and that qualifies it as protectionist. I got a good chuckle from your “licensing holds those providing the service to a minimum standard of competency” comment. Yes, that’s exactly what I want in a doctor or appraiser, the bare minimum.”

Damn right you want at least the bare minimum for a licensed doctor – that would certainly be better than the bare minimum for an unlicensed doctor. That might not work so well for you.

That said, appraising is hardly a life-or-death sort of endeavor, and it’s really hard to justify some BS licensing for something so straightforward.

Vincent Clement says:

Re: Re:

Damn right you want at least the bare minimum for a licensed doctor – that would certainly be better than the bare minimum for an unlicensed doctor. That might not work so well for you.

If both the licensed and unlicensed doctors went to similar medical schools and both doctors completed their respective medical programs, what additional value is their in licensing? If health and safety is such an important issue, then why not have doctors write exams every five or ten years?

Arizona Appraiser says:

As an appraiser in Arizona, I don’t understand why the board is making a fuss. Zillow isn’t an issue to me as it is simply a site for estimating values and, as someone said, could not be used for a loan. As a homeowner, I think it’s great that if I want to estimate what my home is worth for listing, here is a site that fullfills that need. Besides, you can get all the sales info you want online at the various county assessor websites. Sales are also published in some newspapers.

Also, to reply to the comment about the “drive-by” appraisal. If a drive-by appraisal was done, it was because that was how your lender ordered the appraisal. Typically, if a borrower is borrowing an amount that is much less than the value of the home – say, a $50,000 loan on a property that was purchased at some point in the recent past for $300,000, the lender feels that they do not have as much risk, therefore they can do just a driveby appraisal. This can bite them in the butt, though, when the home is trashed on the interior. We do very few drive-by appraisals as there is very little price difference between a drive-by and a full appraisal.

billybob_jcv says:

The RE industry is so full of corruption and unethical behavior that it is laughable for ANY group involved to claim some sort of superiority over a completely automated process. Kickbacks and under-the-table deals are the norm, not the exception.

Don’t believe me? Try disputing the appraisal you receive as part of a loan application. I did – my appraisal on a re-fi came in low by at least $30K. Houses don’t sell all that often in my neighborhood. One of the comps that was used was a foreclosure sale for the same model home one street over. The property had been trashed by the previous owner – yards dead, concrete poured down the drains, light fixtures and toilets stolen – the works. When I complained about the low appraisal, the loan company sent out a second appraiser. The second appraiser gave an identical value. When I questioned the second appraiser, she said that the loan company had sent the first appraisal to her, and that the first appraiser was the president of the local appraiser’s association and “a close personal friend”. The first appraiser told me that I could appeal to the state board, but “good luck, you still won’t get the loan because there are only two appraisers approved by your loan company for this area”. No way he was going to admit his mistake – he wouldn’t even admit that using a trashed foreclosure sale as a comp without any correction factors was unreasonable. Dickhead cost me about $15K that I had to put into the deal to get the loan closed. In the long run it was still worth it to get the lower rate on the re-fi, but it was still very wrong.

Arizona Appraiser says:

Sorry to hear about that, billybob. IMHO, a forclosure sale is not a market transaction and typically should not be used as a comparable. As for the second appraiser, I don’t like to be given copies of other appraisals for a home because it has a tendency to predispose someone towards a value. I truthfully don’t like knowing even a sales price. Unfortunately, we have to review the contract for a sale to see what concessions are given.

As with any field, there are good appraisers and bad appraisers and, yes, corruption does exist in the field, though I have never witnessed any personally.

billy says:

Reader's Digest Article

There was a RD article in one of the recent issues (I think it was march 07?) that talked about the monopoly of real estate.
It was a lady’s testimonial of striving to list her house herself.
She was then Blacklisted, as one of the agents at a local place later admitted to her. All of the real estates never told anyone about her house even if they were looking specifically for that type of house. They would not list it even where there were open forums and they were technically required to.
She was blacklisted by all the companies.
Main reason: She did it herself and used an online site.
Go ahead and look up the article, it is all there.
I am sorry I do not recall which state she lived in.
However, the article also mentioned that the state of Utah has passed laws against people using online sites to list their house or help them out, and go figure, most of the people passing the laws there were old lawyers from the real estate business.
B — S
Gawd I hate how corruption and money runs what seems like everything.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

To Vincent Clement, RE Feds setting rates

Vincent, above, I said:

My agent “said ‘The fed has nothing to do with mortgage rates’. This guy had been in the biz for 20+ years! If you don’t know how wrong he was, take an econ or finance course.”

You responded:

“Since you appear to be more knowledgeable than the real estate agent, why don’t you tell us exactly what the fed has to do with mortgage rates? He is more right than wrong.”

Look at the chart here:
I think you’ll agree that my agent was not “more right than wrong.”

In brief, the fed does not respond to the price of money as set by anyone else – yet it does not have the privilege of setting rates in a vacuum. It responds to factors such as the price of competing financial instruments, the pace of the economy, availability of money, and job markets. The other lines on the chart follow the fed rate, with a surcharge for margin and risk, and some variance based on market competition.

If you still don’t understand how the chart works, and which lines are causal and which lines are responsive, I repeat my suggestion of courses (or books). It’s simply not my job to educate my agent, nor this blog about finance. This is a tech blog, after all.

Chris says:

The above

First, with the real estate “professionals”, you really can’t trust them. First, becuase they get paid by commission, (which is outrageous money for what they actually do), they are in it to get a high price. Both for the seller and the buyer ends, the higher the price, the more the agents get. Also, never let the agent pick either your appraiser, title company, or anyone else. If you don’t know what you need or is required, ask them what you need, and find it yourself, with maybe some references. The parties involved in all of the purchasing phases combined … will rape your pocket with fees if you don’t protect yourself.

As for zillow, it is a fantastic tool. The amount of data they give you all in one place alone… is priceless. Think about it… they process the same information that the public and the licensed “professionals” have access to. Zillow is an advantage for the simple fact that they know they would not succeed if their data was way off. Second, they cannot be biased or influenced as to property estimate. It’s all based on data and is automated by using methods, calculations, and formulas, not some “licensed professional” thinking about how much to set the price for… thinking 3-6% of: ???,???,???.

Zillow is not far off. And I wouldn’t be suprised if most people came up with numbers close to zillows by using listing info, comps, and all of the other info calculated.

Zillow is not busted. Zillow is Free.
Real estate pro’s can be dangerous to your finances.

AZ Realtor (user link) says:


What everyone seems to have forgotten here is that ALL the data that Zillow uses for AZ is free online at the recorders office. Zillow just re-packages free data and gives it away hoping you’ll buy something else. Nothing wrong with that – except….

Public data is usually 3 months sometimes as much as 9 months old…

Do you really want to price your home on old data in a moving market? If so I’ll sell you some Enron stock for $50 per share!

az guy says:

I’m sure Zillow has disclaimers, especially concerning issues where:

1. the data is >3 months old.
2. the home is a custom, spec or otherwise specialized home where neighborhood equivalents might not apply.

*Of course everyone thinks there home is ‘special’.

I also live in AZ. Unlike the previous poster, I think our market was due for it’s upward correction. Prior to the upswing, we were below national averages and yet hosting many of the nations fastest growing areas.

Cease and desist on Zillows free speech should never have been allowed by the state court. Clearly a frivolous lawsuit, an effort at business disruption and they should pay for it. Literally, they should be charged back for losses.

I’m going through the home sell process myself. It’s amazing how many shady people come at you from all sides trying to get a little piece of the action. They are very aggressive. Even realtors who want to hook you up all sorts of bed buddy professional services.

This business model is responsible for the overall inflated housing market. A business model, I might add, which keeps young people from ever being able to afford a home.

Anti competitive legal activity just makes me want to fuzbo (by owner). Savvy buyers are going to start looking for non-agency homes as a way to get more home for their dollar.

As for black listing, well that doesn’t scare everyone. Nor does false statistics published to blogs on web sites.

Agents, brokers, you want our business, honest up, be competitive and get real.

Mike Bacher says:

Go Get A License

Just like NexTag, LendingTree, and LowerMyBlls.com, who are allegedly just “matchmaking” sites but who were ultimately forced to get “lenders” or “brokers” licenses in all states in which they advertise, the folks at Zillow should just go get an appraisers license (or have an officer who has a license qualify their corporation). Welcome to the real world. Life sucks and then you die. Learn to play the game.

Terri says:

Zillow C&D

Don’t you think if Zillow can provide the equivalent of an appraisal to consumers they should be held to the same standards as real appraisers? otherwise, appraisers should not be required to be licensed or to comply with USPAP. A random computer search cannot accurately provide an appraisal for an 8000 sf house in PV in a state of disrepair on 5 acres & determine highest & best use. The consumer relying on something like this is at a significant disadvantage…

Terri says:


The way it benefits the people of AZ is that there is the HUMAN factor. How do you propose that Zillow would find comparable properties to a home with virtually no value in Paradise Valley that sits on land that is worth far more than the house itself? Zillow can only be given minimal credence when providing “values” for newer tract homes that are still exactly as they were the day they were built. This service is not only NOT beneficial to homeowners anywhere, but insults their intelligence!

Ed says:

This is Why Licensing is Important

Those of you who don’t think a license is important are the very ones licensing agencies are there to protect: Those who don’t know enough to protect themselves.

You’re right that a license doesn’t guarantee competence or ethical behavior. Then again, locking your car door at the mall doesn’t guarantee no one will break in. But each improves the odds in your favor. Most licensing agencies require licensees to pass a test of basic competence. Most licensing agencies also require a certain amount of continuing education. And most will investigate complaints against their licensees. Again, these improve the odds of competent performance.

Do you really want the guy who graduated law school with a bare passing standard, and who would never pass the bar, to be able to go out and represent people? Or the woman who can’t add and can’t remember what documents are involved to be able to hold herself out as a real estate agent?

I don’t have a problem with Zillow — it’s more of an educated guess than anything else and, as other commenters have noted, it operates in a field where the report of a certified appraiser will be required before anything really important is done. But helping someone write a will? Or helping someone file bankruptcy? Those are huge life-changing (or, in the case of a will, life wrapping up) events. There should be a way to at least cull some of those who have no idea of what they’re doing out of the herd, and licensing is the best way we’ve got at the moment.

Pacenkp (user link) says:


I highly doubt that the Arizona Board of Appraisal went after Zillow on the mere fact that they are “under cutting” our appraisal business. It simply is not true.

The board of appraisal is simply protecting the Public’s interest. As a licensed professional in two states, I find that valuation sites such as Zillow give homeowners unrealistic “valuation (s)” of their property (s).

Zillow does not take into account many different factors involved with the valuation process. Zillow simply provides a average of sales, which , 9 out of 10 times is way off.

How am I going to explain to Joe Blow homeowner that Zillow does not take into consideration Functional or External Obsolescence, or highest and best use, grandfathered use, dirt roads vs. paved, school districts, historical districts, lot size, overall condition, amenities and appeal, gated communites, age restrictions, ….the list goes on and on. Give me a break!

I believe the board has had enough of bogus claims against appraisers “under valuing” a property , because Joe Blow homeowner visited Zillow whom said that his property was worth a Trillion dollars.

It is truly disturbing that the author would even think that Zillow would “under cut” our business. Do you really think we are a bunch of computer generated idiots?

Plain and simple, there are laws that have to be followed in the valuation process. Ponder this, does Zillow comply with USPAP in regards to keeping a work file for each valuation given? There are standards and laws that apply to the valuation processes, whether its appraisal , appraisal consulting , etc… I would love to see their work files.

Also, what are the repercussions that Zillow has for miss valuating a property? Do they carry E&O insurance? Are they liable for misleading the public? No, I don’t think so.

I applaud the Arizona Board of Appraisal for not only protecting the public, but protecting the Appraiser as well.

I must say, countless times, my work and experience in Appraisal has been questioned because of these valuation sites. Simply, the homeowner or interested party just gets a number from Zillow. There is no analysis explaining the result. Sites like Zillow demote the public trust in the appraiser and valuation process.

Zillow does not follow, FNMA Guidelines, USPAP , the list goes on and on…. and yes, that matters in the world of appraisal.

Zillow is not just doing math, not at all. Zillow is giving a estimate based on their interpretation of market data, which is …guess what…. considered a appraisal, appraisal practice and appraisal consulting.

Oh , and by the way, licensing is very important. Lets take a look at the H&L crisis , hummmm!

Payday Loan Advocate (user link) says:

The Arizona Credit Union System (ACUS) would be extremely pleased if the payday advance companies in the Grand Canyon State were eliminated, but its opinion is certainly fueled by the success of its own commerce. The credit union is stepping up its lobbying efforts to overthrow the competition and acquire all the former cash advance customers. Part of the campaign includes a mass e-mailing effort that is projected to reach up to 1.6 million credit union customers. The ACUS will persuade voters to vote against Proposition 200. Proposition 200 supports organizations like the Arizona Community Financial Services Association that declares Proposition 200 will actually lower state loan fees, eliminate extensions by presenting accommodating payment plans, regulate Internet lending and reduce the amount of walk-in stores in Arizona. These impending reforms will further help payday loan customers, and the reforms will also allow industry employees to keep their jobs. No one can afford to lose his or her job in this turbulent economy.

Post Courtesy of Personal Money Store
Professional Blogging Team
Feed Back: 1-866-641-3406
Home: http://personalmoneystore.com/NoFaxPaydayLoans.html
Blog: http://personalmoneystore.com/moneyblog/

bedroom furniture (user link) says:

He has a laundry list of things that require his attention with the economy. The financial system has to be stabilized, but to his credit, he already has two excellent ideas, sure to win him some points. Some ideas for stimulus that he has are temporarily exempting seniors from having to withdraw from their IRA’s and 401(k) plans after age 70 ½, and temporarily exempting tax payments for those on unemployment benefits.

Aruve (user link) says:

Compensation would seem to be logical in this consideration of the issue but I am guessing that the Arizona Board of Appraisals is in the right under USPAP because USPAP states that the issue of value in an opinion or range is an appraisal regardless of who pays for an appraisal and that the appraisal is for the benefit of who request it.

Most states see bartering as a form of compensation. By Zillow offering an estimated value or range of value to draw traffic to the site this is their contribution to the parties that is in fact compensating them and that is the advertisers. In all factuality USPAP does not consider compensation as an element of an appraisal.

What Zillow and the others like them will have to do is argue the harm the law does to the consumer. By calling for a cease and desist order the Arizona Board of Appraisal is following the law as it is currently written. I wish Zillow the best of luck and I think that it could be very expensive in legal cost unless they can tackle this on a national level.

One last bit, Arizona also issued warnings to appraisers, real estate brokers/agents and mortgages in reference to fraud so this issue may be part of a bigger across the board action.

taxattorney25 (profile) says:


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Arizona (profile) says:

Zillow, Zilo.com, CONGRATULATIONS "Arizona Making-Leight"

Excellent comments regarding Zillow. My partners and I simply go down to the Pima County Courthouse, access the data base of all those with delinquent tax liens, and look them up on Zillow. I mean if you could handily save about 2000 USD in legal fees simply by putting the parcel number of a property in a search engine, wouldn’t you… On one of the very first days I attempted this, one of the two tax lien computers with the delinquent tax data base was completely wiped out. I then proceeded to cross the street a block away and garnered a 250 USD jay walking ticket from another new female officianado; and then made it to the Main Public Library to find yet the third Real Estate witch in a nice bright angel being the patronizing center of attention. I mean I never really knew how I think and what type of person I was before I met her in the library. When I look back at one of my fellow high school students who became an appraiser, and the type of ethics with witch she discussed her employees – who are paid a few hundred dollars commission for each appraisal…I came to the tragic conclusion that the Men’s Tax Lien Foreclosure Team SHOULD WIN. Ladies, human women and angels – I couldn’t be more illegal faster in a dream. EXCEPTIONAL WORK. We will win.

Arizona Making Leight (profile) says:


Now you see how variously planned illegal activity by the wholely female-organized Real Estate data-removal-and-assault-team benefits the average Pima County citizen. Jim Hogan runs the city of Tucson’s best Realty-U School, Hogan’s School of Real Estate. Gentlemen, it has sincerely been my experience that the instructors of this exceptional Real Estate School will not, in their higher minds and ethics, even allow such behavior.

Thank you Arizona Making-Leight. Thank you so much, Arizona Making Leight. Can you also use that violin to write dirges? Write one for your father…too illegal for me!

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