As mentioned here and elsewhere, the Arizona Board of Appraisal (AZBoA) has issued cease and desist letters to Zillow.com, claiming they can not offer online property valuation estimates without an appraisers license.
I questioned why all the other sites offering similar estimates weren't included in the AZBoAs lunacy. My calls and emails to the AZBoA went unanswered.
Apparently, print reporters can get a response from Deborah Pearson, director of the Arizona Board of Appraisal.
"The Board of Appraisals has not found any other online entities that are violating the state law, said Pearson, the board's director."
Huh. That just defies all logic.
Go to Zillow.com and you are presented with an area to enter an address. Click "Go", and you'll get a "Zestimate" — an approximate valuation of your home. This is illegal according to the AZBoA.
Go to RealEstateABC.com and you are presented with an area to enter an address. Click "Search", and you'll get an "ABC Value" — an approximate valuation of your home. This is perfectly acceptable according to the AZBoA.
Go to BankofAmerica.com, click on "Mortgages", click on "Real Estate Center", click on "Estimate the Value of your Home" and you are presented with an area to enter an address. Click "Submit", and you'll get a window that says, "Find My Home's Value" — containing an approximate valuation of your home. This is perfectly acceptable according to the AZBoA.
And I could go on. And on.
So exactly how is it that the AZBoA has determined that only Zillow, and no other online entity, is violating the state law??? Is there a reasonable explanation of why Zillow's valuation is "illegal" yet none of the other online AVM providers are? Maybe I'm missing something, but for the life of me I can't come up with any difference between what Zillow, RealEstateABC and Bank of America are offering.
Note however, that the Arizona legislature is considering SB1291 on Monday. This bill has already passed the State Senate. It provides this definition of an "Appraisal":
1. "Appraisal" or "real estate appraisal" means any of the following:
(a) the act or process of developing an opinion of value.
(b) An opinion of value.
(c) Pertaining to appraising and related functions such as appraisal practice or appraisal services.
And right there in Section 32-3603, Paragraph B it states:
B. No person other than a state licensed or state certified appraiser may receive a fee for a real estate appraisal or an appraisal review of real property in this state.
Hmmmm…. Zillow doesn't receive a fee for Zestimates. The three mentioned above do. Looks like if this bill passes, the AZBoA will need to warm up the printer and fire off some more cease and desist letters.
The AZBoA claims Zillow is offering an appraisal. It says Zillow can't do that without an appraiser's license. Yet Home APPRAISALS USA can say this on their site: "Don't pay an appraiser 300+ dollars for a certified appraisal when we will provide you with the same information they use to determine your property's value — for only $29.95."
Zillow says this about Zestimates: "The Zestimate™ home valuation is Zillow's estimated market value, computed using a proprietary formula. It is not an appraisal. It is a starting point in determining a home's value." (my emphasis)
But the Arizona Board of Appraisal, in their infinite wisdom, proclaims that Zillow is in violation of the law. HomeAppraisalsUSA however is just peachy when it comes to their services.
If you live in Arizona, you just have to love this use of your tax dollars…
[tags]Zillow, Arizona Board of Appraisal[/tags]