We first obtained brokerage licenses when Zillow was getting started as a legal precaution because we were displaying so much real estate data. We did not have brokerage licenses because we intended to act like a real estate brokerage or agent. Now, three years later, Zillow has become an accepted part of the industry, a source of information and transparency that is here to stay. Since the industry understands our media model and, in fact, participates actively in Zillow, we feel we can safely drop nearly all of our licenses.
We decided to keep the license in Texas because it is a non-disclosure state so having the brokerage license allows us to access certain data which helps us produce Zestimates. In Washington, we kept our license because it’s where we’re headquartered and it allows us to be more of a member of the real estate community here.
The response to this news has been overwhelmingly positive. It’s almost like the entire industry just let out a huge sigh of relief. Frankly, if we had realized just how much fodder the brokerage licenses provided for conspiracy theorists, we would have dropped them long ago. But, better late than never.
Hopefully this announcement will put to rest any concerns about some top secret Zillow plan to disintermediate Realtors or to compete with brokerages. Neither is true. We’re a friend to the real estate industry, and we’re very pleased to have dozens of fantastic partners with companies like Realogy, Keller Williams, and Weichert, to name a few. Our Broker Advisory Board boasts industry luminaries like Steve Baird (Baird & Warner), Ken Baris (Jordan Baris), Bob Blount (RE/MAX Allegiance), Sherry Chris (Better Homes & Gardens), Craig Cuyar (Realogy), Dan Elsea (Real Estate One), Pat Lashinsky (Zip Realty), Mike Montsko (Weichert) and Mark Woodruff (Prudential Gary Greene).
You can learn more about how to work with Zillow in our “RE Pros” section of the site.