No Free Stuff For Our Consumers!

Arizona is taking another typical step to protect incumbent businesses against new competitors:

"Arizona regulators have ordered a Seattle-based online home price estimator to stop doing business in the state."
has won wide popularity by applying algorithms to publicly available
data to come with rough estimates of the value of existing homes, which
it makes available for free through its site. The Arizona Board of
Appraisal says that Zillow should not be dispensing such information
without an appraiser's license.

Gee, we'd hate to give people the impression that a whole profession could be replaced by a few computer algorithms and some data base lookups.   I am not sure why, historically, but state governments have an incredible propensity to protect everyone in the real estate field from competition.  For years they have enforced licensing on real estate agents to help support that cartel that the Internet is only just now starting to break up.

By the way, here is another way you could write the headline for this news:  "Arizona Bans Giveaways.  Consumers Must Pay for Everything."  Oh, and my neighbor just sold his house.  The final price he got was within 4% of the Zillow estimate.  I will say that from the houses I am familiar with, they do a pretty good job (though I am sure they make mistakes, for example in neighborhoods with a lot of gentrification and a mix of old and new homes). 


  1. Keith Casey:

    And licensing doesn't protect you from anything anyway. If a Realtor does something bad enough, they just let their license expire and then the state agencies have no authority and you have to go to court to make anything happen.

    18 months and counting since my "realtor" forged the signatures of both my wife and I to offer documents, waivers, and disclaimers about lead paint. Full details here:

  2. Mark Koerner:

    Does even have a physical presence in the state? How can Arizona possibly have the authority to say this?

  3. M. Hodak:

    If it's free and conducted from out of state, isn't it outside of any commercial regulation? I don't doubt the Realtor lobby will try to prevent neighbors from exchanging comments about homeselling.

  4. Craig:

    The realtors probably use that site to do their job for them.

  5. Ian Random:

    Zillow substantially inflates the price of my duplex, I think it sees it as two separate detached houses, but still it's nice to look. If it was worth that, I'd take the cash and move to the country like I want.