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Thursday, February 09, 2006


Surfing the web, I ran into the site Zillow. Zillow displays a satellite map of a user designated home or neighborhood and overlays valuation data on the homes. Scary from a privacy perspective, but cool nonetheless.

Zillow is free to use. It appears that they will make some of their money through
advertising. However, they are also soliciting real estate professionals to partner with them in forthcoming programs.

In many states, paying a finders fee is not allowed. For example, here's what
Ohio says in an FAQ:

Q. May I pay a friend a “finder's fee” for information given me that led to a commission?

A. No. The payment of so-called “finder's fees” is not allowed. No one may pay a part of the commission or otherwise compensate a non-licensed person who offers information that results in a real estate sale, for such information. Non-licensed persons may not be compensated for performing any acts, including referrals, for which a real estate license is required.
So how will Zillow be able to partner with real estate professionals and essentially get a finders fee from its partners? Simple. They become licensed brokers. See Zillow's Terms of Use, Paragraph 9.

9. Real Estate Licenses. Zillow, Inc. is a licensed real estate broker in various states, but does not broker real estate transactions.