State legislation in Arizona that would provide Zillow.com and other home valuation sites with a clear exemption from appraiser licensing requirements passed the state House of Representatives in a 52-3 vote Monday, with five legislators not voting. The legislation, Senate Bill 1291, was earlier considered on April 24 but failed in a 32-22 vote to receive a two-thirds majority.
A legislator had passed a motion for the bill to be reconsidered.
Barrett Marson, a spokesman for Republicans in the state House of Representatives, said that the bill now moves to a conference committee, where a final version of the legislation will be hashed out before it is submitted to the governor for approval. Marson also noted that the conference committee could meet as soon as Wednesday, though the House this week is also working to pass a $10.6 billion state budget.
Appraisal licensing law in Arizona is a hot issue for Zillow and other Web sites that offer home-valuation estimates for consumers, as the governor-appointed Arizona Board of Appraisal has issued two cease-and-desist letters to Zillow in the past year asking Zillow to cease its automated valuations, called Zestimates, for properties in Arizona.
The board has charged that Zillow is violating state licensing laws by offering the Zestimates without an appraiser’s license. But the board has not filed complaints against the numerous other companies that also provide automated online home valuations to consumers.
Zillow officials have maintained that the company is offering a service that does not require an appraiser’s license, and Zillow continues to offer its valuation service in that state. The company carries disclaimers at the site stating that Zestimates are not appraisals and the accuracy of the Zestimates can vary based on available data in a given market area. Some real estate professionals and appraisers have criticized the varying accuracy of Zestimates.