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Arizona asks Zillow to cease real estate Zestimates

Company says its valuations are not appraisals

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The Arizona Board of Appraisal has issued two cease-and-desist letters to online home valuation and marketing company Zillow charging that the company's automated estimates for properties in that state are appraisals and require a license, though the company has not complied with the notices and counters that it does not offer appraisals. Lawyers for Zillow and the governor-appointed appraisal board have engaged in discussions about the letters, said Deborah G. Pearson, executive director for the board. "The letters just ask that they cease and desist from the appraisal activities, and if they don't the board will have to pursue injunctive relief," said Pearson. The letters, dated July 31, 2006, and Nov. 28, 2006, state that the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice, a generally accepted national standard for professional appraisers, "define 'appraisal' as an opinion of value" and that Zillow is "not a licensed or certified appraiser in the state of Arizona." The letters...