News & Information: Orlando REALTOR® magazine - President's Message

Can And Cannot

Friday, June 23, 2017  
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Orlando REALTOR® | JulyAugust 2017

By Bruce Elliott

By now you have probably heard about Zillow’s new online investor sales program, Instant Offers, which is being test marketed here in Orlando and in Las Vegas. You’ve probably also heard about the REALTORS® nationwide who are expressing their resulting fears and outrage toward Zillow, and who are turning to the REALTOR® organization imploring for something to be done about it.

So, exactly what can the National Association of REALTORS®, Florida REALTORS®, and the Orlando Regional REALTOR® Association do about Zillow’s Instant Offers?

Let me start by explaining what the REALTOR® organization CANNOT do about it.

NAR cannot sponsor or encourage a boycott of Zillow. It would be unlawful for NAR to discourage members from using any product or service provider. Those decisions are made independently by MLSs, brokers, and agents. Likewise, it would be unlawful for any local or state REALTOR® association to encourage members to withhold listings or business from any third party, such as Zillow, or adopt policies that would preclude members from doing so.

What NAR CAN do is the same thing its always done — and will continue to do — in the face of a long line of business models offered to consumers to sell their homes without the use of a REALTOR®: Undertake renewed efforts to remind the public, and to encourage and help members inform their clients and customers, of the value REALTORS® bring to the real estate marketing and sales transaction, and the problems and risks sellers may encounter in marketing and selling their home without using a REALTOR®. (Click here to read an article about communicating your worth as a REALTOR®.)

NAR’s mission has always been and will remain focused on REALTORS®’ business success. Many years ago, as part of that mission, NAR aligned itself with to ensure that at least one portal available to consumers would recognize and promote the true value that its members bring to the real estate transaction. To that end, NAR can also continue to encourage (through its media relations, social media, public relations, and advertising campaigns) homebuyers and sellers to rely on as their online source for real estate information, including listings and REALTOR® profiles.

It's important to remember that as a publicly traded company that has yet to show a profit, Zillow will always be experimenting with ways to generate revenue as it seeks to placate its shareholders. The company was not created to protect the interests of real estate professionals.

However, the REALTOR® organization WAS created to protect the interests of real estate professionals. And I promise you that ORRA, NAR, and Florida REALTORS® — along with the many volunteers who drive each of these associations — will continue to do so to the best of our abilities and within the confines of the law.


ORRA President Bruce Elliott, Regal R.E. Professionals LLC, can be reached at

Additional Resources

The Zillow Instant Offers issue is closely tied to issues regarding listing data feeds, syndicators, licensing agreements, etc. Learn more through these resources:

*A checklist of issues for brokers to consider before they sign a license agreement
*A webinar explaining the data requests and potential licensing terms
*A helpful article providing more detail about licensing terms

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