Honesty in Real Estate

iBuying Platforms Misleading Consumers - Honesty in Real Estate PetitionStop unfair, deceptive, and abusive iBuying tactics. Consumers are being mislead into believing that heavily funded real estate iBuying platforms are cheaper and easier than using a Realtor. Sign and Share this petition demanding that there be clarity for consumers on these deceitful iBuying platforms. Click HERE.


Real estate agents, and the buyers and sellers they have faithfully represented for decades, are under threat from a small number of technology companies looking to disrupt the real estate industry. This movement began back in 2004 when companies like Trulia and Zillow were formed, and has recently neared a tipping point that will long have repercussions on the housing market and on the economy as a whole. That is why we support educating consumers to the lack of transparency, hidden costs, and community dangers of real estate iBuying platforms.

Attack on Real Estate Agents:

Recent articles in major news outlets have reported a class-action lawsuit that has recently been filed against most of our nation’s real estate agents, brokers, MLS’s (Multiple Listing Systems), and NAR (The National Association of Realtors). The lawsuit claims the above referenced organizations conspired to keep real estate agent commissions artificially high (at 6%). This accusation is baseless, and made with the express purpose of steering future home buyers and sellers away from hiring traditional real estate brokers and toward high cost iBuying platforms.

Proof Points:

  • Real estate commissions are 100% negotiable in every state
  • MLS’s do not regulate commissions nor censor low commission listings
  • Nationally the average real estate commission is well below 6%
  • iBuying platforms in reality charge more per transaction than real estate agents, but do not call it a commission

E.g. Zillow routinely charges 7% in fees while Offerpad and Opendoor routinely charge 7.5%. Though they do not call these fees a “commission”.*

Media attention from the antitrust lawsuit on “commissions”, and strategically placed advertising, have been used to mislead and steer home sellers toward these more expensive iBuying platforms.  We believe this campaign is a deliberate effort by a small number of large technology companies not simply to digitally disrupt an industry but also to mislead home buyers and sellers into thinking they’re getting lower costs and more value through these iBuying real estate platforms. Which they are not.

As just one example, Zillow has been steadily expanding its influence in the real estate industry and begun to compete with real estate agents for real estate transactions. For the twelve months ending March 31, 2019, Zillow revenue, in the billions, has funded its expansion largely from fees received from real estate agents. Zillow uses listings from community based real estate brokerages to attract attention from buyers and sellers. Zillow then commoditizes the information of its viewers and sells the information to real estate agents in the form of leads. Zillow has done this without compensating real estate brokers or real estate agents, and has made billions in the process.

We believe Real Estate Brokerages are entitled to a revenue share from Zillow’s gross profits for the use of the Brokerages listings. A fee similar to the customary referral fee of 25% that all Brokerages have participated with for decades. This would allow local real estate agents and brokerages to not only compete, but to educate home buyers and sellers to the true cost of all Real Estate sales platforms. Because when Sellers are truly informed of all their options, all of our communities’ win.

We the undersigned support the above statements and goals because we believe that when any industry maintains a level playing field the consumer wins. We are signing because we support fair competition amongst real estate agents, which ultimately results in lower costs for consumers and better service from agents. We support technology and the benefit it can provide consumers but believe some technology-based companies are playing to consumers “built in” belief that “technology” always means quicker, more efficient, and cheaper. Finally, we believe that MLS and real estate brokers should not share their listings unless Zillow pays a fair revenue share for the use of their listing which helps fund the type of changes this petition outlines. We believe this will make our communities stronger, healthier, and will preserve the equity that so many homeowners have worked hard to achieve.


Image credit flickr - Melanie Shaw


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19 Responses

  1. Avatar mdwnlk says:

    Oh, now that Realtor’s commissions are at stake, EVERYBODY PILE ON. Us appraisers have been dealing with this for years as we too have been made out to be obsolete vs online / digital / automated services… Good luck with that but you do have millions of members and us lonely appraisers only have about 80,000 just think if we actually got together for the common good or actually for the PUBLIC’S GOOD…

    • Bobby Jones on Facebook Bobby Jones on Facebook says:

      Where is the petition for appraisers with the lousy amcs and Gov rook our work and there still trying to make us careerless

  2. Avatar Dave says:

    mdwnlk, Couldn’t have said it any better!

  3. Avatar Mike says:

    All appraisers need to get behind this petition. There is a much larger picture to consider on this issue. If you think this is just about Realtor commissions, you are wrong. AMC fees, hybrid appraisals, monopolies, anti-trust and collusion are all part of honesty and transparency. This petition is just the beginning. Frank and Brian have the means and determination to see this through to protect the consumer.

  4. Avatar Jack Of All Trades says:

    AMC’s are the most dishonest in real estate

  5. Avatar Don says:

    I already support realtors as I have to pay a local board fee of $50.00, $100.00 fee to the state realtors and $200.00 for the national realtor associations just to have the privilege / requirement to use my local MLS. I have bigger issues. I suggest they contact CoreLogic for support.

  6. There’s a bigger play here than just agent commission. There is massive consolidation taking place in all of real estate. You need not look any further than what Core Logic has done to the appraising community. The doj subpoenaed records from Core Logic. Why? Because they own most of the mls platforms. They use that information, in tandem, with Zillow to create valuations that are used to support low-ball offers on homes they’re buying. Actually I think it’s more stealing. Then the Core Logic based AVM’s are viewed by Underwriters and the GSE’s to support these flips which takes out all the checks and balances that appraisers, lenders, and realtors have in place. This is not just bad for agents, it’s bad for appraisers. Most importantly it’s bad for homeowners.

    • Avatar Bill Johnson says:

      When on a national average it takes only 70 hours to obtain a realtors license, the service (???) they provide to the public might be more damaging than using a big box company at the same fee. In my area of practice (San Diego), where most of the work I do is in the $700,000 to $900,000 range, the idea that a couple of agents, and brokers are worth $35,000 to $45,000 for a 7 day MLS listing (at market value) is a joke.

      Seek the truth.

      • Bobby Jones on Facebook Bobby Jones on Facebook says:

        yeah they make the big bucks and we appraisers get 900 and less for the appraisal and way more liability.. I don’t feel sorry for them. They don’t even like appraisers

    • Baggins Baggins says:

      Brian, you’re supposed to cheerlead for big tech. You’re not supposed to talk about what a massive fraud it is and the core intention of ‘modernization’ is to specifically remove checks and balances systems found in traditional bureaucracy in order to monopolize entire markets.

    • Desiree Mehbod Desiree Mehbod says:

      Thanks for the petition Brian. I shared it with others this morning and got confirmation from at least a hundred realtors and friends that they had signed and shared with their colleagues.

      Would you be interested in starting a petition for appraisers? We could definitely use all the help we can get.

  7. Avatar Dave says:

    Another good comment Don!

  8. Avatar Bob Miller says:

    Long thought that Zillow and Trulia was a bad idea. Core Logic is out to try an attempt to control the real estate and appraisal industry. They also own one of the best software companies A la Mode. Just got a feeling they are going down the road of the AMC’s and be no more; just like Bradford Technologies.

  9. Avatar SB says:

    Realtors have never given a crap about us and never will.

    Appraisers have their SURVIVAL to worry about.

    Why should we care about a group who has turned their backs on us.

    Did any realtor sign our petitions?

  10. Avatar Dave says:

    Appraisers have always only been a necessary evil. Do Bankers, Realtors and borrowers really want us. Please……..

  11. Avatar Tommy says:

    Zillow et al is doing to them what AMCs did to us. Lenders have been fighting this for years with iLenders. We need to band together. Strength in numbers.

    Signed and shared!

  12. Avatar JC says:

    You can’t automate what is fundamentally a human service. Signed and shared


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Honesty in Real Estate

by AppraisersBlogs time to read: 3 min