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.