Has Zillow or Trulia contacted you about sale price data?

Translate this page
An older woman in a blue shirt on talking on a telephone and pointing to her computer monitor with a pen

03/11/2015 | Author: Editorial Staff

Texas REALTORS® are receiving requests from Trulia to provide sold data. If you’ve received such a request from Trulia or any party other than your local MLS to report or submit sale price information, keep the following in mind:

Authorization: You need authorization from your client to report sale price information to any third party. The Texas Association of REALTORS® Residential Real Estate Listing Agreement, Exclusive Right to Sell authorizes the listing broker to report the sale price information to the MLS if the listing is to be filed with the MLS. However, it does not authorize the sale price information to be reported to any third party.

Fiduciary: When acting as a fiduciary, your primary duty is to represent the interests of your client.

MLS rules: If you did not participate in a transaction, follow your MLS’s rules as to how you can use the sale price data. Of course, agents can use such data to perform broker price opinions.

Categories: Legal
Tags: legal, mls, sale price date, trulia, zillow


Timothy DeWein on 10/01/2016

Moot point now for San Antonians now.  The San Antonio Board of Realtors is freely selling our Sold Data now.  Looks like greed won out over the client’s best interest.  Really pathetic!

Mary Ann on 01/14/2016

yes zillow & Trulia both have contacted me to update my listing but I don’t have time to do that on their websites & HAR.  HAR is the only 1 I do that on and that’s what I will continue to do.  I wish they did not have access to our listings so that they can go and distribute (misinformation) or old information to the public

Timothy DeWein on 08/26/2015

To the Editorial Staff: 

First let me say that I represent Sellers more often than Buyers.  Having said that, please help me understand why only the Seller(s) wishes are taken into consideration and the Buyer(s) are left to deal with the effects of that decision. 

I obviously understand that the Buyer(s) are not a party to the Listing Agreement and suggest that; perhaps the Listing Agreement shouldn’t be the only determining factor.  Unless I’m missing something, it’s the Buyer(s) that will be paying the higher property taxes.  The Seller(s) tax liability is determined by forms signed at closing which are not public information.  Disclosure doesn’t affect the Seller unless they exaggerated the sales price to their neighbors them yes, they might be embarrassed when the truth comes out. 

Listing Agents have motivation to report the sold prices since sites like Zillow reward their reporting by ranking those agents higher in search results.  I’d even bet that Listing Agents report the Sold price without even asking the Seller(s)  what they prefer.  So much for not putting our needs before that of our clients.  Should Buyer(s) start adding in “non-disclosure” into Special Provisions?

This needs to be addresses on a State level since many local Boards don’t seem to see a problem.

yuri on 08/25/2015

Great Article. Thanks for the info. Does anyone know where I can find a blank CA OL 395U?

Debbie Russell on 07/01/2015

Stuart and Gayle, such good positive comments.  If all associations were like HAR there would be little need for the consumer to go elsewhere.  I understand why the consumer does go to the other sites in certain areas where MLS is basically in the dark ages as it relates to search platforms and information for the public or for that matter for the agents.  Joshua one of the things that you might investigate is .. even though other states disclose sale price they don’t have or show other information.  For example in West Virginia there is no square footage in the MLS, both my brother and sister in law have been in real estate there their entire lives.  There is no language or lingo whatsoever for square footage.  It’s either a 3 bedroom or a 4 bedroom or whatever.  Even though they might disclose sales price you still have no idea the size of the home.  Perhaps you will find ? I don’t know that the states that do disclose sales price don’t disclose other elements which are just as important and at the end of the day and are just as NON transparent as you perceive Texas to be other than PRICE, I don’t know it’s just a thought.  Texas has always been a non disclosure State and I am starting to wonder what difference does that make now that tax appraisals i.e. assessments seem to be based more upon market value than upon an actual employee of the tax authorities assessment.

Gayle Rosenthal on 07/01/2015

Hi Stuart and Joshua:

I agree we should keep this discussion alive !  So many of us are disconnected because so many business tasks that kept us in touch just 10 years ago have been automated by technology. We can’t even rely on meeting one another at closings any more. Not to mention how many Realtors there are now .  I expect this blog is reaching many folks,
providing useful insight, and raising questions that could influence our industry.

I’ve heard good things about HAR.com.  A Board SHOULD work well for its members.
It’s very good news.

Joshua, my complaints have nothing to do with being inconvenienced.  The inaccurate information out there hurts my business.

As for Zillow and Trulia, I think they would do well to gravitate towards a more cooperative stance with local boards, because marketers and professionals are stronger and better if they work in cooperation.  If Zillow and Trulia would sign data integrity agreements, they could still be syndicating.  They offer a clearing house and could offer a more professional model for individuals who choose to be involved in marketing their homes to save on costs and not end up in disputes, which does happen more often than we like to think.  An organized and professional marketplace does not have to be less transparent.  With sales data available to licensed professionals who are members of a local board,  the need for information and privacy can both be satisfied. 

Legislation and regulation have not kept up with technology, which is another reason that marketers would do well to cooperate.  I do think Zillow and Trulia can offer a service that is useful, but they should cooperate.  Local boards offer some professionalism and enforcement mechanisms for bad actors, which marketers cannot begin to provide. 


Stuart Scholer on 06/30/2015

Man!!! This thread is still alive…. will it ever die?
I gotta put in another 2 cents to keep it alive.
  I am a Realtor in Houston. We have HAR.com. It is a great tool for the consumer. As an Agent I feel blessed to be working a market that has a tool (HAR.com) that really serves the consumer as much as it does. It helps with transparency and foments a better marketplace. It has helped the consumer to get past the “gatekeepers” which still exist and they are still working to be the “gatekeepers”.
I like price disclosure… it is not bad. Good for market transparency and fairness concerning property taxes.
  In the Houston market HAR.com is 90 something percent sufficient as a search tool for residential properties. The other sites have very little more to offer, especially in a fast moving market. When I get internet inquiries from those other sites I just delete them because I have wasted much too much time with those clowns that are clicking on everything. When I get phone call from persons on Trulia, Zillow or the other sites, I inform them when that property closed out and encourage them to use HAR.com so they will have up-to-date info and not be wasting their time. I also encourage them to get an agent to help them.  Yes… maybe I have missed a lead or two but everything has a price and those “possible” leads are not worth it to me. 
  BTW…. those other sites are “Advertising Platforms”. Their business is advertising. 
  Now, as for my Client’s info… it is not mine to give out or sell to anyone; period!
  If it were up to me TAR would not get my money for their PAC but I do not have a choice. I am not saying that TAR is bad. It’s just I am politically neutral and do not want to be responsible for bad or unfair policy which there seems to be plenty of (not blaming TAR for that either).  Let’s see if we can keep this thread alive until December.  Ya’ll have a good day!  Stuart

Joshua Winkler on 06/30/2015

Gayle, I am not disagreeing with the idea that Zillow’s estimates can be way off base. There is the assumption made that houses are of similar condition as their comps (which are built on sales price, by the way), which we all know is not necessarily the case. However, the estimate would be much more accurate if a) the house was not “trashed” and was of similar condition as its comps, and b) if the sale price of the comps were available to Zillow to more accurately gauge its value! As a whole, however, Zillow is a good indicator of approximate value, and will continue to improve in accuracy as the content of its data improves, and as they continue to update their algorithms for value assessment—just think of Google: just 5 years ago, their searches were miles behind their effectiveness today. This is solely due to their increased data, and adjusted algorithms, which lead to better results.

Instead, it seems as though your distaste of Zillow is rooted in you being inconvenienced by clients or perspective clients who are either unaware of the condition, or lack common sense.

Gayle Rosenthal on 06/30/2015

I don’t really agree with much of what you say Joshua. Zillow IS a marketing tool.  And an unaccountable one at that !

It’s pretty inconsistent to criticize Texas for non-disclosure of sales prices and then praise Zillow for outright guesswork as to its Zestimates.  I had a trashed condo on the market for 60 days at $145,000 before we were able to put it under contract at $140,000.  The Zestimate was $199,000 - only a mere 43% off.  To call Zillow even a marketing site under those conditions would be an overstatement.  Zillow is a purveyor of nonsense in many cases, or a tool that unscrupulous agents can try to use to scoop a few more bucks.  And when compared to working with a competent agent,
Zillow is a good way to waste time.  I do notice, Joshua, that you are working with an agent in Dallas. 

In addition, people call me off my signs and say “Zillow shows this house is not on the market.”  Could this kind of misleading activity information be any be more of a lie, as well as hurtful to my business,  and coercive in the way that YELP is coercive ? 

Now,  one might say that Austin Board of Realtors ripped its own britches a bit when it completely cut Zillow off from syndication, however that remains to be seen.

CA on 06/30/2015

Joshua.. that might be one of the best and most thoughtful responses I’ve seen in this thread.  I think when it all boils down, Zillow/Trulia/HotPads/whatever are just additional resources.  Far from complete, but something else to look at.

Joshua Winkler on 06/30/2015

Debbie, thank you for your continued dialogue. I am aware that Texas is different, which is why I am in the process of moving there (more on that below). Concerning FL an CA, they were hardest hit because they are “vacation” states, and have a much higher rate of non-primary homes and rental properties—please do not suggest that their hot and cold (both very hot right now) real estate markets are somehow due to their sale price disclosure! Also, many of these states have more real estate agents per capita than Texas: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes419022.htm , so clearly, disclosing sale prices aren’t harming them.

You do bring up a very valid point, however: this idea that Zillow is unregulated, and the validity and timeliness of their data can be suspect. I agree with this—their “for sale” information is sometimes weeks late and fairly unreliable, but to suggest that because of this, they shouldn’t be “trusted” with data and that REALTORS know what’s best is both disingenuous and arrogant. As stated earlier, I am moving to Texas—my wife lives in the DFW area now, and I have been working with a real estate agent there and attempting to do research from my current, out of state location. I have lived in VA, MD, NH, and FL, and TX—by far—is the most difficult state to get a feel for simply due to this one incredulous rule! I get the MLS listings based on my criteria, but have no idea whether a house will go for $5000 under list, list, or there will be 25 bids on it in a day and sell for $22,000 over. Zillow is no crystal ball, but at least (in most states) it provides me with the tools to make a more informed decision, and help temper my expectations.

Also, why is Zillow (I don’t use Trulia very much, honestly) keep getting referred to as a marketing tool? No one goes on there to do research on agents or firms—it’s a research tool—people go on there to get an idea (not exact, but an idea) on what a house is worth, how the schools are, how much the taxes are, the health of the local market, what rent an investor might expect, or (gasp) what it has sold for in the past (or what other houses in the neighborhood have sold for).  It is a useful tool for perspective home buyer/sellers just as cargurus.com is for auto buyer/sellers.

Mark Eberwine on 06/30/2015

” When the buyer has their own representation their agent shares with them the sales data in order to assist them in making an informed offer.”
I love the absurdity of this statement as it relates to the lack of sales-price disclosure.

Texas doesn’t have mandatory sales price disclosure, in part, because TAR has fought it.  It hides the truth.  RE agents fund an entity that has worked to hide the sales price of the homes and commercial properties of the wealthy.  The middle class is being forced to shoulder a larger portion of the tax burden due to TAR’s actions.

Your TAR has also helped create a state agency that is a shining example of what has gone wrong with business, government and, ultimately, our country.

Before any of you tout that being a REALTOR is an improvement over being ‘just’ a licensed agent, pay attention to the following…

TREC now conjures their own rules, defines their own rules, legislates their own rules, mandates their own rules, enforces their own rules, prosecutes their own rules, is the judge and jury over their own rules, fines YOU upon violation of their rules, and pays their salaries out of those rules.

Please explain how…  ” When the buyer has their own representation their agent shares with them the sales data in order to assist them in making an informed offer.”    when the sales price disclosure is withheld.

Gayle Rosenthal on 06/30/2015

Connecticut and New York have transaction taxes associated with sales of real estate. This is the main reason the sales price is disclosed. The taxing jurisdictions get their slice on a percentage of the purchase price.

The crux of the matter with Zillow/Trulia V. Local Boards and Associations, is that within our professional associations and licensing structure, we have a culture that promotes and enforces professionalism.  We are bound by cooperation rules and ethical standards.  Zillow is a marketing site, and there is no way to tell if data or agency relationships are accurately represented or even authentic. 

The Texas industry needs to decide if it will be a dignified profession or just a bunch of goons looking for a quick buck. And I include the mega brokers in the goon category.  Megabrokers focus more on franchising, legalized dual agency,  and skimming that percentage.  Professionalism is more than wearing nice clothes.  Professionalism cannot be promoted in a franchise relationship any more than it can be promoted at Zillow/Trulia.  Notice a recent job posting on Linked In for a compliance person at a well known megabrokerage - what are they wanting compliance with ?  Their franchise agreements.

Debbie Russell on 06/30/2015


For a moment you almost had me then you said Florida, California, New York and Virginia.  This is Texas, Texas is just different.  First, Florida and California were among the hardest hit states after the bubble broke, with that being said your disclosure argument goes right out the window.  Obviously even with sale price disclosure these States suffered a mess.  Second when you go on about buyers not having the information required to make an informed decision how can this be?  Are the buyers working with agents that represent the seller?  I don’t think so.  When the buyer has their own representation their agent shares with them the sales data in order to assist them in making an informed offer.  Additionally unless the buyer is a cash buyer they have the backup of the mortgage appraisal.  I recommend to my cash buyers they still obtain an appraisal as appraisals are about more than value, they address measured square footage and whether an area is in a pattern of “Growth, Equilibrium or Decline”.  Or are you worried about the buyers who buy a “for sale by owner” property?  Again, even these buyers (most of) are obtaining a loan and have the protection of the mortgage appraisal.  And again if they too are cash buyers, well gosh if they have that much money and don’t want to invest a few bucks into an appraisal or hire a REALTOR® to help them determine value, why do you care?  I worry about my clients and I worry about how other REALTORS® treat their clients.  I don’t worry about buyers running around buying homes without an agent from people selling homes without an agent who neither of in addition chose to hire a licensed appraiser.

CA on 06/30/2015

Joshua, I think Trulia/Zillow/Hotpads (all the same company now aren’t they?) harm everyone.  The unregulated population of data is bad for all of us.  A quick 5 minute exercise will allow anyone to post any listing they wish - Legitimate or not.  These sites are so out of whack with accurate data, scams, outdated content, etc.  Think about this… would you rely on information from Craigslist to make an educated decision about a home purchase?  Even more dangerous, I can quickly find fake listings throughout Trulia.  What’s the harm?  Well, one can lose money sending deposits to scam operations… but even more dangerous… I’ve spoken to clients who drove out to a home they found on the site, only to find the owner knew nothing about it.  Other than someone being shot, assaulted, robbed, or lured in for lord knows what purpose… what’s the harm?  That’s my stance, and no theory of “data for the greater good” is going to change it.  The web is a dark and dangerous place.

Joshua Winkler on 06/29/2015

Debbie, I find it interesting that you suggest that my thought process is somehow traitorous or surreptitious. Think about that—the clients, or customers of realtors—the people whose interests they are supposed to look out for are the very ones (at least half of them—the buyers) who are harmed by the fact that they are unable to make an informed decision about the largest purchase that they will make in their lives, because Texas realtors have convinced their legislature (along with those of 11 other states, which include such real estate bastions such as Alaska, Wyoming, and Idaho) to allow them to keep this information from them.

And to your analogy likening the revelation of the sale price of a home to Coca Cola releasing its proprietary formula to the public falls apart in so many ways, so I will only point out this: Florida, California, New York, and Virginia are just some of the 39 states which disclose real estate sale prices…how’s their real estate doing? Realtors are still employed, and doing very well (or better, let’s be fair) outside of non-disclosure states.

So, this practice harms half of the customers and doesn’t seem to affect realtor employment, so…why is it so fervently defended?

Debbie Russell on 06/29/2015

Joshua Silly Silly are you a real estate agent at heart posing as a REALTOR, or a double agent i.e. someone who holds a real estate license who might even also be a REALTOR who is mainly employed for Zillow or Trulia…. I am going to demand that Coca Cola give me their proprietary recipie for coke anyone want to join in with me quest?

Joshua Winkler on 06/29/2015

Not releasing the sale price as public information is ridiculous, and only serves to hurt the buyers. This is a feeble attempt to stave off obsolescence, which just proves how helpful and valuable tools such as Zillow and Trulia are. This sounds like a law one might expect to find in California, not Texas.

Gayle Rosenthal on 05/23/2015

Does anyone listen to the NPR program Marketplace ? I get truly steamed when I hear the host interview the CEO of Zillow, as he does frequently.  Hasn’t anyone clued him in that Zillow is not reliable ? It regularly inflates the values of real estate and whips up frenzy and prices.  Zillow isn’t a real estate expert.  Zillow is an advertising platform.

The public places more faith in marketing than it does in realtors, it would seem. And then they wonder why they feel so raked over the coals after transaction.  Rather than grasping the process, and demanding real loyalty and confidentiality, the public would rather see their home get 5 minutes of fame and get the deal done ASAP.  Speed is not in the clients’ interest.

To the extent Zillow does act as a broker, it should be regulated just as individuals are regulated.  It should be required to respect established agency relationships.  TREC where are you ?

Debbie russell on 05/23/2015

As it relates to those who say HAR should not share our info with Trulia or Zillow - I’ve been trying to keep up with it on Inman and it is confusing - I might be in correct this is my interpretation - it’s not us that shares with Trulia and Zillow - it has to do with Move.com and or ListHub we share our info with them and from there they disburse all over creation - I may not be correct -it becomes more understandable why MLS’s do this when you look at more densely populated areas like LA and NY - each separate MLS is afraid that if they stop letting info go to Trulia and to Zillow then overlapping competing MLS’s - will be wearing as one will share and if the other does not then they will loose out .  HAR is so awesome I would love for there to be only 5 or 6 super big MLS’s in Texas with the same exact technology - to knock trulia and zillow out of Texas

Debbie Russell on 05/22/2015


You sound like you know what you are talking about, we all know that nothing is getting better for the small/little guy.  Whether it be agent/broker/brokerage any kind of company.  Everything is designed around BIG, I fear that everything you say is correct.

Gayle Rosenthal on 05/22/2015

Until the Texas Legislature takes some action to protect our ability to do business on an independent level, Zillow, Trulia, MegaBrokers, and corporate brokers coming into the state, are going to monopolize the industry completely &  we Realtors will become hourly wage slaves.

It began with the Legislature blessing dual agency as “Intermediary Relationship.”  The MegaBrokers that arose - you know who they are- began to dominate the local Boards. There was a legal battle in the early 2000s over search engines & proprietary data. An accommodation was made that resulted in syndication.  But the syndicators now have their own deep pool with the MegaBrokers.  Local boards are quickly becoming obsolete unless TAR and NAR do some better lobbying on their behalf.

Why does it matter ? Because Zillow and Trulia are not bound by cooperation and ethical rules.  More & more business is internally MegaBrokered and they also are pretty much immune from ethical principles & cooperation rules because information is so closeted. 

The problems are much deeper & more long range than this discussion is recognizing.

CA on 05/22/2015

Re: TD.  You’ve got to look deeper into those stats.  School #1 on your list is across the street from property I own (so I know it very well), and school #2 is so small, 99% of the residents of the city don’t even know it exists.  Both are significantly smaller than the other major schools in the city.  .  My point wasn’t to promote Alamo Heights as some fantastic place to live or raise children, I guess I’m frustrated that someone would put a $2 million dollar listing into SABOR’s system and not bother to put the most basic information.  When Trulia/Zillow provide those details, and the paid REALTOR doesn’t…  well, there you have it.

TD on 05/22/2015

Not to be argumentative CA but Alamo Height HS ranks 3rd in the city.  http://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/texas/rankings?name=school+name&schooltypepublic=y&schooltypemagnet=y&state=tx&county=SAN+ANTONIO&schooltypecharter=y  The idea that anyone gets a better education living in AH has everything to do with household income and much less to do with AHISD.

Debbie Russell on 05/21/2015

CA, thank you, not only that but HAR just unveiled their new Statewide site, we will now have the listings of nearly every MLS in Texas.  As HAR is doing everything it can to keep our leads - our leads and to keep consumers with REALTORS and NOT with unregulated 3rd party vendors that sell our leads back to us.  This was all in anticipation of NAR’s decision last year to require MLS’s to provide a minimum standard of info - because of sites like Trulia and Zillow that make us look bad.  The entire country is headed for a national MLS and HAR wants to be a player by owning Texas.  Strength in numbers.  Our fee last year was ? $459.00 with the TREPAC suggested contribution.  HAR is heavenly.  The only downside is competing with HAR in the search engines - I was always in the top 10 even on Google - and struggle to stay in top ten or top of second page…..

CA on 05/21/2015

To Debbie - well, thanks for ruining my day!  I jumped over to HAR and that is just a stunning site.  Excellent design, visually pleasing, EASY to find and EASY to use.  Amazing data. Dallas isn’t as good, but superior to San Antonio.  I can’t score Austin, because frankly, I couldn’t find it through a quick or simple web search.  Shouldn’t they be easy to find?  San Antonio is just embarrassing.  I honestly hope you are paying $10,000 a year more for your membership than I am.  You’re getting that much more value.  I feel like I have a Commodore 64 while you have a MacBook Pro.  San Antonio is just getting killed and crushed by Trulia/Zillow/ probably Oodle for all I can tell.  No wonder EVERY buyer I work with sends me listings they find on Trulia and Zillow and refuses to work through our board’s site.  If it weren’t for the SUPRA requirement, I’d bail on this deal in a heartbeat and quit wasting my money.

CA on 05/21/2015

Hey Debbie,
No, not a member of HAR.  Just tiny little San Antonio and SABOR for several years.  I’m not sure I understand the final line question, or I would answer.  Sorry.  But just as an example, it took me less than 30 seconds to find a $2.5 million dollar listing in Terrell Hills and Alamo Heights (where the schools are some of the highest rated in the city).  All three schools “call district”.  Seriously?  $1.3 million “Call District” again.  I can get all that missing data from all the other sites instantly.  How lazy can someone be?  $949,000 list price - “call district”  with 3 schools showing a “9 score” (I found that on Trulia).  Talk about short-changing your client.  The school ratings are the reason those homes are so valuable, but the buyer would never know that I guess.  We aren’t getting squeezed by these other sites, our fellow REALTORS are letting them do a superior service to ours.

Debbie Russell on 05/21/2015

In response to CA 5/21 - I am almost willing to bet you are NOT a member of HAR - and yes these tiny little MLS with DOS pages not web based etc have now been ordered to provide a minimum service and YES if I was NOT a member of HAR I would liny do the same - am I correct?

CA on 05/21/2015

I don’t want to take this angle, and I’m sure most will not like it… but one of the biggest problems I see is that the MLS system looks like something from 2005.  The pages appear MS DOS based.  Trulia and Zillow have a much slicker platform.  I send clients our info, and they ALWAYS gravitate back to the other pages.  Why?  Well the #1 reason is the terrible data in MLS.  How lazy do you have to be to put “Call District” in the schools when you have a $300,000 listing?  Wrong mapsco grid entry… your listing shows up 3 states over, and you don’t care. This isn’t a problem for my clients.  They just jump back to Trulia or Zillow, and not only get the school name, they get the Greatschool rating score, the crime statistics, the businesses, the walkscore, and all the other nearby home data.  Zillow and Trulia have BETTER DATA.  They are doing a better job.  Every time you type “call district” into one of those blanks, or leave the remarks blank, or don’t check your listing for errors after it goes live… you’re just kissing your advantage goodbye and our value as REALTORS fades away even faster.

John Phillips on 05/11/2015

“A license holder or nonprofit real estate board or association that provides information about real property sales prices or the terms of a sale for the purpose of facilitating the listing, selling, leasing, financing, or appraisal of real property is not liable to another person for providing that information unless the disclosure of that information is specifically prohibited by statute.” - Texas Occupations Code Sec. 1101.804. LIABILITY FOR PROVIDING CERTAIN INFORMATION.

@Mark Eberwine you are 100% correct. If the average citizen in TX understood this they would be demanding price disclosure. Now that being said every state that has disclosure also has a transfer tax and that would be worth fighting against. But you can have one without the other.

Linda Blackmon, Realtor on 03/18/2015

There seems to be a lot of controversy these days over sharing information with third parties. When will we as an organization wake up and smell the roses, OUR LISTINGS OUR LEADS.  Why are we buying them from a third party, and why are we providing them with our data and information?

I’m curious as to how many agents know the founder/s of Zillow which recently bought Trulia also founded or Co-founded Expedia and Hotwire which for the most part put the travel agents out of business, and Netflix which put Block Buster out of business.  Is our industry next?

Yes these men are brilliant and have web marketing expertise with a proven track record,  To date Zillow is the number one search engine for consumer’s real estate needs in all major cities except Houston and they have challenged our association stating they will be Number 1 in the Houston market as well.

Gayle Rosenthal on 03/18/2015

Trulia and Zillow regularly call me to solicit my listings and my business.  And I tell them firmly that I supper my local Board, and if they sign a data integrity agreement with my Board they will have my listings syndicated as before. Until that time, my business is off-limits. I will not “give” them my hard-earned listing information. And I certainly won’t pay them to mangle the data.

Sadly, the Texas Legislature blessed intermediary relationship 20 years ago and it is this fact alone that has given rise to mega-brokers.  Mega-brokers. . . and all of you know who I mean. . . are rapidly replacing our Boards in many market, I have no doubt.
And yes, they are likely teamed up with corporate interests such as Murdoch.  And now
everyone’s lovable & voracious investor, Warren Buffet.

Beth Leath on 03/14/2015

What irritates me the most is the hackers who hijack our listings for sale & advertise them on Zillow & Trulia for lease.  No amount of notifying Zillow or Trulia of the problem can get the fake listing shut down.

Timothy DeWein on 03/13/2015

Re: Bobby Galvez - Agreed

Bobby Galvez on 03/13/2015

Re:Timothy DeWein on 03/13/2015 - Agreed, they do make money selling referrals to others in the industry. My point is that they don’t take money directly from buyers or sellers, their business model is to get the leads and sell them on. The content - listings - is what they use to attract the eyeballs and get the consumer to register and hand over contact information. The consumer’s contact information - the lead - is what they monetize. Any and all who can pay for the leads is their revenue stream - and REALTORS are surely the main source of income for them.

Timothy DeWein on 03/13/2015

You are correct but the point is, BOTH are owned by NAR as are many other sites which do more harm than good to Realtors.  The very people NAR was designed to represent.

Stephen Manion on 03/13/2015

Several comments here show a misunderstanding of what Realtor.com is and its relationship to NAR. NAR’s URL is Realtor.org not Realtor.com and never again the twain shall meet. When you talk about what you should get from realtor.com for your dues you are way off base. None of your dues go to Realtor.com. Realtor.com is a totally separate for profit company that was recently bought by the thoroughly unscrupulous media magnate Rupert Murdock. Realtor.com is not owned, controlled by or even related to Realtor. org by much more than the name. Realtor.com is not out to serve your best interest. Realtor.com’s goals and loyalties are whatever Murdock says they are.  At this point its raison d’etrt is to make Rupert some more millions.  When Murdock decides that the cozy relationship between Realtors and Realtor.com is restricting his market you will see anyone who wants to, member or otherwise, getting in bed with the .com.

Timothy DeWein on 03/13/2015

Re: Lorena -  I have been successful in getting the sold prices removed.  Email me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and Ill tell you how

Timothy DeWein on 03/13/2015

Re: Bobby Galvez on 03/12/2015 - Actually these sites DO make money off Buyer(s) and Seller(s) through the adds for mortgages and other services.  I’m fairly certain that they sell leads to these folks the same way the sell Realtor’s leads.

Timothy DeWein on 03/13/2015

Re: Randy Rhew on 03/12/2015:  I doubt we’ll be out of a job because I don’t know of another profession that works for no money up front and doesn’t get a nickle if the deal doesn’t close.  T, Z, & R will never be able to negotiate between Buyer’s and Seller’s effectively, place signs, fill flyer tubes, show homes, tell a seller their house smells like at pee, etc…  I DO believe that eventually the word Realtor will go away.  The general public doesn’t know the difference between a Realtor and a Real Estate Agent and I have faith that someday we will collectively have had enough and 86 the term all together.  In my opinion, NAR hasn’t had our best interests at heart in a long time and karma has a way of taking care of these things.

Stuart Scholer on 03/13/2015

Hey Mark E. ....
I keep my Client’s information private… not “secret”. That’s my commitment.
I don’t agree with all of NAR, TAR and HAR “interests either but is has nothing to do with the fundamental duty we have to our Clients. The “son of the King” didn’t pay taxes 2000 years ago either… nothing new.

Mark Eberwine on 03/12/2015

Due to TAR’s continued efforts to keep mandatory sales price reporting in Texas at-bay, as REALTOR’s and homeowners, the property taxes you pay are disproportionate and excessive.  TAR’s continued stance on keeping sales prices ‘secret’  allows corporations and wealthy homeowners to successfully avoid paying 100’s of millions of dollars in property taxes.  Where do you think the state and the school districts make up for those taxes?  You.
TAR has been facilitating the theft of millions and millions of tax dollars that would go to educate Texas’ children.  As members of TAR, paying dues that go to lobbying efforts, REALTORS share in this responsibility.
When a state income tax comes steamrolling your way, you can thank TAR for keeping real estate sales price a ‘secret’.

Ted Simpson on 03/12/2015

I use Trulia on a very limited basis.  It feels as if Trulia customers are using ME on a limited basis because I do not share any sold data with Trulia.  That makes me look novice in comparison to all the REALTORs who have built a nice Trulia resume’ by sharing their clients’ sold data.

Timothy DeWein on 03/12/2015

Misinformation like 50% would be interesting too.  Less harmful to buyrts and sellers, especially if the County assessor get their info from these sites.

Randy Rhew on 03/12/2015

We should get our clients consent and start providing sold data to these companies. Eventually we won’t need our local boards and can just pay each site per listing. If they are taking advantage of us then why should we protect them?

Timothy DeWein on 03/12/2015

It doesn’t stop there.  Have you seen the House Logic
(another NAR company) TV ads that offer “Free Referrals” to home repair people?  Basically going head to head with Angies List?

Debbie Scrimshire on 03/12/2015

Don’t worry about me.  We pay for MLS and since Texas is non disclosure I think they have a lot of nerve asking.  My business would be much better without them since they guess and are wrong over one half of the time. 

Maria H Garza on 03/12/2015

This problem has to be taken care of legally by NAR, TAR & All local Association of REALTORS, but we REALTORS, have to demand that these companies do not profit from our every day hard work.

Zillow & Trulia are huge companies that made fast and easy money because we and our representatives are sleeping…....

See Wikipedia’s information about these companies on Wikipedia’s website bellow.


Randy Rhew on 03/12/2015

The fact that our association even allows Zillow and Trulia to pull information from MLS is crazy!  Those companies should not even be in business in my opinion.  If a property is listed on MLS it should only be seen by the members.  These other companies advertise our listings and send the leads to the highest bidder!  Why are we allowing this to happen?  I understand that it benefits the consumer however, it slaps the members in the face!  Our MLS should provide consumer websites as part of our dues and send the buyer leads directly to us as part of our dues.  Instead, we lose business to these third party companies selling our leads back to us….  Makes no sense at all.  Our association is failing us and helping make the Realtor extinct.  10 years from now we may all be out of a job.

Timothy DeWein on 03/12/2015

What’s most disgusting is that NAR owns realtor.com.  Yes, NAR, the same folks that doubled our dues all at once and at the same time decided not to send us plastic membership cards any more.  And we just keep on taking it.

Debbie Russell on 03/12/2015

The truth of the matter is from the get go I did not agree with REALTOR.com, I did not agree that any of our listings should be treated differently or held in higher esteem.  Realtor.com was designed as a national data base for the public for listings.  Realtor.com was the innovator of MLS “Vanity Advertising” and from there selling leads back to agents.  While all the while we lagged behind in technology, selling or sharing our proprietary information and allowing Corporate American AKA “The Vampire” into our house.

Craig Niebes on 03/12/2015

It is good to know there are some REALTORS out there that “get it”.  I agree that change is good.  I also agree that it is us REALTORS who are at fault . Through NAR we used to own REALTOR.com.  It was also the top real estate website until just a very few years ago.  We REALTORS are to blame because WE let the management of NAR, who are old and operate just like our U.S Congress, to only worry about keeping their jobs and hob knobbing with politicians.  The door was left open to something like Zillow to capitalize.  We should demand information and disclosure from NAR on down.  GOOD LUCK, I tried.  The REALTORS in the trenches are the only ones who have to disclose.  No other entity or person is our realm of business has to disclose.  They just make sure WE disclose.

Susan Nelson Wheeler on 03/12/2015

Question:  If this is truly the case, how does the Dallas Central Appraisal Board have access to this information?  They do.

Bobby Galvez on 03/12/2015

In response to the comment about “who moved my cheese” it’s important to remember that as far as Trulia and Zillow are concerned, the cheese is not the information. We REALTORS are the cheese.  They don’t trade in real estate, they trade in “leads” and we are their source of revenue. They don’t make a penny from buyers and sellers.
We feed them the listings and solds, they draw buyers, we buy leads. Kind of ironic that we give them the bait that they ultimately turn around to hook us with.

Kent Wegner on 03/12/2015

NAR, TAR nor MLS sought to release any data to these non value add websites. As I recall they were forced by the courts to release listing info to 3rd party sites who in turn hold it captive to sell buyers to the “highest bidder”. These organizations can not fight this problem it is up to us as REALTORS to combat the issue by not purchasing this lead sourcing scam. I know hunger can motivate anyone to seek out the all important clients but remember you are enabling millions to be sucked out of the real industry. Anytime I get an “offer” to capitalize on their leads I stop to think what real value they are offering to the customer. I have never succumb to the temptation to sign up for T/Z or any other non REALTOR source for leads, I may starve myself out of the business but I will remain strong in my principles. If there is no real value add to the customer don’t pay for it. If we all unite and cease buying our local leads from 3rd parties we can STARVE THEM OUT OF THE BUSINESS.

Donna Smith on 03/12/2015

I think we all need to read “who moved my cheese” and realize that change is reality, those who do not adapt will perish!

Jay Myers on 03/12/2015

I truly wish associations and boards put as much effort into policing and enforcement as they do supporting all these lobbyist who are also not doing anything to help us with all of this PAC money.

But alas, when I do my Continuing Education again this year and pay for the classes and the license renewal fee the curriculum will probably still not include this reminder.

The fact is we allowed all of this to happen. I can remember 10 years ago only a few dozen of us complaining about these issues on forums (pre-facebook or LinkedIn) now at least there are thousands of us that recognize this is a serious issue. By “us” of course I mean MEMBERS of what is suppose to be a powerful and organized and strong National Association of REALTORS, where in fact I think it is obvious now all we do is collect and pay dues to pad pockets of lobbyist and executives.  It’s ironic to me though it took Rupert Murdoch buying Move Inc before everyone finally woke up, he’s not our savior look as what kind of money he lost on the MySpace deal.

Craig Niebes on 03/12/2015

Unless REALTORS wake up and protest to their Broker, MLS and local association, the information we generate will be given away to anybody that gives them a legitimate sounding reason.  Soon being a REALTOR won’t make sense.  Put your listing on Zillow as a FSBO, lock box, title company, check.  No paying all the dues, and fees that add up.

Loreena Yeo on 03/12/2015

I noticed that Zillow published SOLD price. We are a non-disclosure state. How does one request that Zillow remove it?

Maurice Dubois on 03/12/2015

The only real advantage we have as Realtors are the sold data; lose them and we’re back to the stone age. NAR, TAR, HAR and NTREIS should have a strong policy for protecting our sold data.

John Stapleton on 03/12/2015

I like the suggestion for NAR to prohibit disclosure of sold data to non-clients.  Permanent loss of membership if you do.

This would have another effect:  A seller would have to choose and hire a Realtor prior to getting a CMA.  So sellers would no longer choose their agent based on the CMA as some deem to do.  We would enter into a representation agreement before establishing price.

Until Zillow and Trulia develop a sense of smell, a sense of style, and hearing - they will not be able to accurately value properties.

Dave Baird on 03/12/2015

Who are we kidding?  The genie has already been let out of the bottle with VOW’s.  Anyone can signup online with companies like Redfin and RealtyAustin and receive full access to sold data online without ever talking to a live person.  What stops T/Z and your local appraisal district from signing on and giving away sold data?

Timothy DeWein on 03/11/2015

Zillow has become pretty accurate?  They sent me documentation (how they rate their own Zestimate’s accuracy by city.  My city (San Antonio) is rated 1 out of 5 stars.  Read my blog post which includes their National accuracy ratings (as rated by themselves) here: http://blog.dewein.com/blog/2015/02/17/more-on-the-zestimate-direct-from-zillow/

Susan Jackson on 03/11/2015

What’s mind boggling is we are told Texas is a non disclosure state and the information is private and we owe the fiduciary duty to our clients. So we do so and report the MLS. But where is the duties of the MLS as I have heard recently the Comptroller Office , Larger Apprasial Districts and so on are allowed membership in the MLS. So as a realtor am I using good judgement to use the MLS ?  I have not verified this information and look forward to any comments or direction on this matter.

John Sheppard on 03/11/2015

not only has i been asked to send them sold data, but “for ever sold comp you provide, you’ll be given an entry into a sweepstakes”  wow, really?!?!?

Debbie Russell on 03/11/2015

I think we might have some employees of Trulia and Zillow who might also be REALTORS® who are in essence pushing the Trulia and Zillow thing on this site to throw people off.  Like the comment about sales prices being public record in Texas,  buzz eye roll, NOT or maybe they own stock in these companies or have spouses or children who are gainfully employed there….........?

Debbie Russell on 03/11/2015


You are incorrect.  Texas is a non disclosre state.  Only the amount financed is public record…..

Brian Flack on 03/11/2015

While the Exclusive Listing Agreement implicitly authorizes the broker to disclose sale price data to the MLS as a member of the MLS, the contract neither authorizes NOR forbids the broker from disclosing to other third parties.  Actually, the Listing Agreement states (para 6. A.)  that the Broker is REQUIRED by our own rules to provide sold data, and the seller is merely acknowledging that fact when he signs the Listing contract.  Furthermore, the fiduciary duty of the broker to the client is implied and required.  As a fiduciary of the SELLER, it is the broker’s expressed responsibility to provide accurate information to the public when it is available.  Sale prices are already a matter of public record, so we owe a fiduciary duty to the client to ensure that the correct information is disseminated. 

Trulia, Zillow, and other such public information sources are already inaccurate enough, and we as real estate professionals, do occasionally “use and benefit from the” [information provided by these and other sources]. 

Quoting TAR at paragraph 6. A.:  “Submission of information to MLS ensures that persons who use and benefit from the MLS also contribute information”. 
In the vein of professional courtesy and in the hope for more accurate information sources, it is in our best interest to ensure that accurate sale data is provided.  It doesn’t hurt to have the seller’s authorization as a protective backup document, but the premise posted by TAR is not accurate.  Seller authorization is not expressly required when you read the contract as written by… TAR.  As stated, sellers do not give authorization to report to the MLS, rather the seller merely acknowledges this statement when the box at 6. A. is checked.

Timothy DeWein on 03/11/2015

It always surprises me how willing we are to give away information to companies that turn around and sell it back to us.

I think TAR’s position on this is inadequate in that it only requires the Seller’s authorization.  Since TX is a non-disclosure state and it’s the Buyer(s) that will be greatly affected by the posting of the sales price if used by their local taxing authority,  the BUYER9S) authorization should be required as well.

Wake up Realtors and STOP giving away OUR data!

David Mozingo TexCen Realty on 03/11/2015

1,000’s , maybe 1,000,000’s nationwide; of house sales are put on Zillow & Truilia!

Tina Dodson on 03/11/2015

What about when we, as REALTORS, provide a CMA for a Seller - or for a Buyer - to assist them in determining a fair market value when either determining a list price or an offer price?  Are we not disclosing sales prices for comparables then?

Lou Burns on 03/11/2015

Whoa!! Am I missing something here?? What does this do to agents who are doing BPO’s for companies???

Debbie Russell on 03/11/2015

Take it to the next level!  NAR needs to FORBID REALTORS® from sharing sales data with anyone other than their clients.  And consider that we should take that a step further, change the information regarding brokerage from a State Form to a National Form a REALTOR® FORM because these companies will start trying to get the info from the seller or the buyer just to have it.  It’s our info - it’s proprietary and our clients need to understand that neither we nor they may share this information EVEN IF THEY WANT US TO – THE ANSWER IS NO!  We need to be unified - look what happened to the mortgage industry - let us not let it happe to us.

Ram on 02/28/2014

These companies repost all the data including pictures on their website without owner permission and probably with blessing of HAR.  Also these agencies collect lot of money to become so called premium agents and bug us every day.  How many places we have to pay besides Har!!

Maria H Garza on 02/28/2014

The question fron HAR is: “Has Zillow or Trulia Contacted You about Sale Price Data?” The answer is… Are you kidding me? NO! But I thought that HAR was doing business with them. Otherwise, why the name of these two companies and others are on the HAR website. We need to be carefull who we vote for to represent us!

Yolanda Salazar on 02/28/2014

I agree with Samir Kawar.  All consumers have access to HAR.COM. The Majority of them don’t need any Realtor to represent them anymore, they just go to the listing agent and purchase through them, we pay a lot of money to lose out like this.

About authorization from our Client to advertise in other websites, regardless of what website it is, why would the Client care about us advertising in other websites if what he or she wants to do is sell, especially if we are the ones paying for that advertisement, (a benefit to the Sellers).

Is that not what it’s all about, to expose the listing so it’ll sell faster and make the Sellers happy?

Larry Toombs on 02/28/2014

HAR is providing our information to Zillow,  Trulia etc. whether they are selling it or just giving it to them. Pretty sure they are selling to them. So they charge us then turn around and sell the info we provide.

Those companies turn around and sell us the leads generated if you are willing to pay the price.  So we are being charged twice.

Also you as an agent have absolutely no control whether your listing is posted on those sites. I know I have tried to have them removed.

Also I’ve always wondered, if Texas is a non-disclosure state, how the tax records are so accurately posting the exact sales prices of homes sold. Owners may be telling them but I advise mine not to and they still show up. Just where are they getting their info ?

Tanna Morris on 02/27/2014

I received a call a couple weeks back from Zillow.  I told the sales person I could not give out that information without the sellers consent.  The sales person ask me to at least give them a range at of what the property sold for.  There was no need for me to respond…I hung up without saying goodbye!

Charla Sisk on 02/27/2014

If HAR.COM is giving out or selling our client’s MLS information to ZILLOW, TRULIA, AND REALTOR.COM, then they are breaking the law.  This information is only approved by our clients to be put on HAR, unless other documents are signed by our clients to put their information and pictures of their properties on other sites. 
These companies cause added workload to realtors when we have to go search for properties our clients tell us they found only to find they aren’t on the market anymore.  I have to say, I did get a lead from Trulia yesterday which turned into a listing.

Lilly Hughes on 02/27/2014

I saw this is an alert on HAR for member website home page today. It goes back to October 2013. Kind of old news isn’t it? Besides don’t we all know that this is a non-disclosure state? If it wasn’t they would be trying to get the info in such a way.

Kyle Mason on 02/27/2014

Trulia and Zillow are so irritating. How many times have you had a client call you asking to see a property which hasn’t been on the market in twelve years? It seems that they just randomly add homes to the web site.

Bernard Green on 02/27/2014

HAR and other MLS providers are making lots of money form REALTORS.  Then they turn around and charge third parties for a MLS feed.  They also charge REALTORS if they want a custom MLS feed to their external website.  To add insult to injury companies like Trulia, realtor.com,  and Zillow turn around and charge REALTORS for leads.  The only reason they have our leads is our information is being sold to them by HAR and other MLS providers. I also want to let you know that when you put you listings on the MLS they own that information.  So REALTORS need to really understand what happens when they elect to syndicate their listings.

Ron Camacho on 02/27/2014

It’s ironic that the author would remind us of “fiduciary.”  I guess associations don’t have the same obligation.

With major brokers, i.e.  ReMax, KW, Century 21 and others growing their own databases, what would keep them from mandating that their agents exclude submitting listings data to local MLS such as HAR, MetroTex or ABR.  They could circumvent the local systems and feed straight into a national system like Zillow.  It makes perfect since to me.  Abolish the local MLSs and TAR for that matter.  In this scenario, I guess then we would eventually send our fees to Zillow.

Pam on 02/27/2014

In actual fact, HAR has not taken a stand at all - it has simply reminded us not to share information with third parties without the seller’s consent. 

What would be helpful is if HAR/TAR/NAR created a centralized policing department that would follow up these complaints on a legal basis.  That is the only real way to fight Trulia and Zillow and other leeches.

Erin Rothchild on 02/26/2014

Trulia and Google canabalize HAR…wish that there was a way for HAR, TREC, TAR, or NAR to stop the misrepresentation of pricing and other data.  I will not provide any data to outside sources and contact HAR when I see a listing misrepresented.

Wilona Dyson on 02/26/2014

Zillow called me to ask the sales price of one of my recent closings. I told them that I cannot give this information.  I hope real estate agents are aware that we cannot give out the sold prices without the sellers permission.

George Renfro on 02/26/2014

Stop the madness!  What other industry feeds it’s competitors?  Our huge membership and the dues we pay haves made HAR a force to be reckoned with.  I expect HAR to get busy and fight these parasites!

Samir Kawar on 02/26/2014

Too many people have access to Har information without Being Members,and without paying any fees,I don’t understand why do they need Realtors.And I have noticed Real estate offices Recruting Realtors and charging Monthly Fee,Everyone nickles and Dime Realtors.All what Realtors Have to is Obey Rules.I wish that all these Legends to stop Hustling Realtors.

Jeanne Gregory on 02/26/2014

I haven’t been contacted by Zillow or Trulia, but I have been getting inquiries through the har site from realtors supposedly in the Dallas area who want to know what some of my listings sold for.

Ann Watkins on 02/26/2014

Is HAR finally taking a stand or expecting the Realtors to do it by reminding us that authorization is required?  We pay a lot of dues to HAR, NAR and TREC,  this should not just fall on us to defend.

Verna Grudziecke on 02/26/2014

I have been emailed for the information and did not respond.  By refusing to provide the information I could not remove the client information or my photos.  I have a problem with other parties claiming listings that do not belong to them on both sites but Zillow in particular.  Or using my photos on another company’s web site.  No ethics.

mitzi j altersberger on 02/26/2014

HAR needs to rethink their policies with third parties!

Ron Camacho on 02/26/2014

I have not been contacted by Zillow or Trulia.  In my opinion, with the sharing, pulling and feeding of data from different sites, Zillow, in particular has become pretty accurate in its zestimates.  I can foresee little use for HAR in the next 5-10 years.  You should be careful who you feed.

Sam Chaudhry on 02/26/2014

My listing was claimed on Zillow by someone who was trying to defraud people, it took Zillow three days to take action. We don’t need Zillow, Trulia we are losing clients because of someone using our pictures and info without justifiable compensation.

Courtney on 02/26/2014

It is time our Membership with Har protects us. The information that goes in to HAR should be protected and not given to other companies. I say, SAY NO TO Zillow and Trulia and ALL of the rest. NO NO NO!!!

Kevin Read on 02/26/2014

We pay HAR, TREC, and NAR for membership, then we find clients to create listings on their systems. They claim to represent us but those same organizations give our listings out to Zillow and Trulia for them to earn money by selling leads off our hard work for getting leads.  We are essentially subsidizing Zillow and Trulia.

OMA HOFFMAN on 02/26/2014

About time Har stood by “its clients”.

Mary Ann on 02/26/2014

Yes, I agree w/the 2 comments above.  I’m tried of us paying for all this and everybody else getting it for free and putting it out there like it’s their’s.

Laddie Howard on 02/26/2014

At last HAR is taking a hardball position with competitors that want to put Realtors out of business.

James M. Phillips on 02/26/2014

I certainly understand and agree with this policy.

Leave a Comment

Read our commenting policy

advertise with us

Legal disclaimer

The material provided here is for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be considered as legal advice for your particular matter. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Applicability of the legal principles discussed in this material may differ substantially in individual situations.

While the Texas Association of REALTORS® has used reasonable efforts in collecting and preparing materials included here, due to the rapidly changing nature of the real estate marketplace and the law, and our reliance on information provided by outside sources, the Texas Association of REALTORS® makes no representation, warranty, or guarantee of the accuracy or reliability of any information provided here or elsewhere on texasrealestate.com. Any legal or other information found here, on texasrealestate.com, or at other sites to which we link, should be verified before it is relied upon.

Advice for REALTORS®

What to do with the earnest money when a buyer defaults after waiving the contingency

Attract clients with social campaigns built on RPR data

How bad weather could lead to an E&O claim against you

Your clients could be saving money on landscape watering


More advice for REALTORS®