Ok, so perhaps I am just a bit excited about my new Android phone, but I really like this new app from Trulia. We work with Trulia frequently for advertising and listings, and although listings in New York City are a bit flooded by brokers (just check out all the listings with the "Address Not Disclosed"), Trulia remains one of the best listing websites out there. The coolest feature is the location-based search. I work on 23rd street near Madison Square Park, and now I can search the Trulia database for rental listings near my office just by turning on my GPS. And, of course I can filter by rent, beds and baths, square footage and a few other features.
Trulia has typically been a much more sales (listing) oriented site, but New York City is a far more rental-driven real estate market, topping the list of Trulia's Rent vs. Buy Index. But with this new app, exclusively dedicated to rentals, Trulia appears to be focusing a bit more attention on the rental side of the market. And we really look forward to any new tools that enhance a user's search for an apartment.
From the App Description:
Trulia - For Rent: find homes or apartments, share notes and photos - on the go!
Designed specifically for apartment-hunters on the go, Trulia - For Rent takes all of the pain out of finding your next place to live. Quickly find homes for rent or the apartments you like, share notes and photos with your roommates, and stay on top of what’s new on the market. Find your next rental on Trulia!
• Personalize your search - Quickly find properties you like by GPS or location, get rid of the ones you don’t
• Remember what you liked (or didn’t) about the place - Take notes and photos, and also share them easily with roommates and family
• Never miss out on another rental - Sign up for email alerts right from your phone to know when new properties become available
• Quickly see what’s new - Marker colors help show you what properties you haven’t seen yet
• Find open houses near you and easily add them to your calendar
• Find properties using voice-based search – Just say the city, # of beds and bath, and price range
Trulia's top searches for houses in New York City came from U.K, Australia, Germany, Italy, Russia, Netherlands, China and India.
American Hotspots According to Non-Americans
Are international house hunters looking for a piece of the American Dream in your city? Most likely if you live in the Sunshine State.
America is often called the land of opportunity, but these days, it might be more accurate to describe us as the land of dirt-cheap real estate. In the past 12 months, American home sellers cut about $24 billion from the homes they’ve listed on Trulia, of which a staggering $3 billion was slashed in Florida. Meanwhile, word on the street is – international buyers spent a whopping $41 billion last year to snap up U.S. homes left and right. Given this fun fact, we thought it’d be pretty fascinating to see where global house hunters are looking. The results will surprise you.
Florida, Not Just For American Retirees and Tourists
Right now, global house hunters make up about 5% of the window shopping that happens on Trulia. Aside from the usual suspects (e.g., Los Angeles, New York City and San Francisco), we saw a ton of interest in Florida … hmm?
In fact, 10 out of the 24 most popular American cities that have caught the eye of international homebuyers are in Florida – check it out for yourself. And yes, this list is based on popularity. That’s right, there’s more interest in Cape Coral than in Miami.
# Most Popular Florida Cities 1. Cape Coral, FL 2. Miami, FL 3. Fort Lauderdale, FL 4. Naples, FL 5. Fort Myers, FL 6. Miami Beach, FL 7. Kissimmee, FL 8. Orlando, FL 9. Jacksonville, FL 10. Tampa, FL
Reportedly, Canadians, Europeans and Brazilians spent about $13 billion on homes in Florida last year. But what gives – are the oranges really that good? We can’t say for sure, but what we do know is that the houses in Florida are being sold at a super discount. Oddly, this blue light special is also happening in Arizona, but last time we checked, the interest in Phoenix and Tucson is pretty tiny. Just to throw it out there, but maybe, just maybe, this is because Florida might be perceived as as being friendlier to non-citizens.
So who wants to move to Florida? With the exception of Brazil, let’s just say that most of these global window shoppers hail from the northern hemisphere and/or across the pond (as in Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Russia, Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands). Judging by our findings, this interest from abroad isn’t slowing down and may be the jolt that revives the Sunshine State’s struggling housing market.
America’s Next Top Expat Community
Now, let’s talk about the usual suspects. Of the 1.4 million global house hunters looking (on Trulia that is) to buy a piece of the American Dream, most are eyeing La La Land aka Los Angeles. Guess when it comes to “California dreamin,” everyone from the British and Australians to the Chinese and the Brazilians want to be part of Hollywood. More specifically, the British and the Australians would especially love a 90210 zip code since Beverly Hills is on each of their top 5 U.S. cities lists.
Another interesting, though hardly shocking, migration trend that we saw was in Mexico. Most of these house hunters currently living south of the border aren’t looking that far beyond the border with El Paso, San Diego and Chula Vista at the top of their list – no further commentary here.
One anomaly that we’re still scratching our heads about is Australia and Detroit. Right now, Detroit is #5 on Australia’s top 5 U.S. cities list. Aussies must really love Robocop (it’s rumored that they’re building a statue in honor of this 80s movie icon) or they must be really into techno (’cause as we all know, Detroit didn’t just give birth to Motown, they also gave us electronic music without words). Another theory that we’re toying with is that it’s also possible that the folks down under just love picking up homes for $40K a pop.
All in all, if our findings are any indication, America’s real estate market may be a driving force in either making us the world’s second home or an even more multicultural community.
Trulia just launched another interactive map today, comparing the average home price, duration on the market, and reduction period for sales by zipcode across the US. Using the folks from Trulia's recent acquisition of Movity, they are empowering consumers to find the best deals, or greatest price reductions in the area. See below for the New York City metropolitan area.
See below for the article from the Trulia Blog.
Trulia’s Home Offer Report & Interactive Map Reveals Where Homebuyers Can Find Deep Discounts Across America
Today, Trulia launched its Home Offer Report to help give homebuyers and sellers the upper hand – whether they’re making an offer or putting their home on the market.
This brand new quarterly report and interactive price reductions map offers ZIP-code level insights on when the first price reduction occurs in your neighborhood, where the reductions are happening and how deep the reductions are. Click on the map below to learn about the price reductions happening in your neighborhood:
Check out this slide show for the full Q1 2011 report findings:View more presentations from Trulia
When it comes to building real estate websites, listings are kind of important. Just kind of. That is true whether you are an agent/broker trying to be relevant to buyers & sellers in your area or a serial entrepreneur trying to build the next national real estate portal with your own unique twist. I recently got a private question from someone on Quora asking how to get comprehensive MLS listings, so I thought I’d answer it publicly rather than privately.
Adding listings to an agent or broker website in one specific market is a known process – just sign up for IDX, hook it to your website, and away you go.
But for entrepreneurs looking to get nationwide listing inventory — well, it’s not so simple. For those of you in this situation, there are three primary options to consider:
- Direct from the source (agents and brokers) – . This is the route companies like Zillow and Trulia took in order to give them maximum long term flexibility. But it’s extremely time intensive and relationship heavy. You’ve got to win over the likes of ERA, Prudential, Weichert, and about a thousand other medium and large sized brokerages and convince them syndicating their listings to you is a good idea. Or you can spend a boatload of money trying to reach 500,000 agents individually. Whichever route you take, you’ve got to be committed to the effort over the long run and put in the time to form real relationships with key stakeholders at a variety of organizations.
- Aggregate MLS feeds across the county – This route still requires that you aggregate hundreds of MLS feeds (there are roughly 900 MLS’) to get comprehensive. Plus, you’ll have to have a sponsoring real estate agent/broker in each market. Additionally, if you aggregate MLS feeds, you are bound by MLS rules that vary from MLS to MLS (making building your national site a pain in the rear).
- Use ListHub or Point2 – this will probably get you the greatest number of listings in the quickest amount of time. But it’s still not going to result in comprehensive coverage across the United States. Not all brokers/agents use one of those two syndication partners.
So, in short, there is no quick way to achieving comprehensive listing inventory around the country in a timely manner. Unfortunately for serial entrepreneurs, but fortunately for the Zillow’s of the world who have a considerable head start (they’ve been working on it since 2007), if you start now – you don’t really have a chance at having comprehensive listings within the next 2 years. Unless you want to pay a LOT of money to agents and brokers to get them.
Regardless of which route you take, you’ll have to build a XML import system that can handle multiple XML feeds and de-dupe listings that come from more than one source simultaneously. Hope this helps clarify that whole (non-existent) “nationwide listings data” thing.
If anyone else reading has alternatives, by all means, leave them in the comments.
SAN FRANCISCO, January 31, 2011 – Trulia.com, a leading site for real estate professionals, homebuyers and sellers, today announced the results of a comScore report, which show that Trulia has the highest concentration of first-time homebuyers among the top real estate search engines. According to the report, 43 percent of Trulia’s audience consists of first-time homebuyers. Realtor.com’s audience has 31 percent first-time buyers and Zillow’s has 28 percent, making Trulia the #1 site to reach active and engaged first-time buyers.
Six years ago, Trulia started the new era of online real estate marketing by introducing listing syndication to brokers across the country. This unique type of listing syndication allowed listing brokers and agents to selectively market their own listings to a broader online audience and receive the related leads - typically for free.
What distinguishes Trulia from the thousands of IDX listing websites run by brokers, agents and various third-party sites is that the actual listing broker or agent is the originator and representative of the listing on Trulia.com
Now that listing syndication has become a mainstream practice and “syndication sites” like Trulia have grown to serve millions of users, an old question has raised its head again, namely: Is syndication good or bad for me as a real estate broker?
In many recent conversations with brokers and industry leaders, it is clear to me that some people are frustrated and concerned with the direction of listing syndication.
At Trulia, we have operated under a consistent set of principles specifically designed to balance the needs of the industry and consumers since 2005. Pete and I founded Trulia with a focused mission to revolutionize real estate search and empower individuals to make smarter decisions. Our key promise was the following:
- For consumers: We want to create the most engaging consumer experience possible to help families through the big, emotional process of buying or selling a home
- For the industry: We want to be your No.1 source of new clients and transactions by offering:
- Free inclusion: We always accept agent and broker listing in our search index for free
- Listing owner attribution: We always credit the actual listing broker and/or agent while allowing them to control the quality of their listing data
- Free leads and clicks: Leads and clicks are sent to listing agent/broker from their listings
- Option to upgrade: Listing owners and other advertising participants can, but are not obligated to, purchase upgrades to generate more leads from their advertising on Trulia
- Freedom of choice and control: Listing owner can remove their listings from Trulia AND we will never send listings outside of Trulia’s control
The uncertainty around listing syndication that I’ve heard involves three concerns:
- Am I getting value by sharing my listings?
- Am I giving up control/quality of my data?
- I don’t want other agent’s receiving leads from my listings.
What is the value from listing syndication?
Your listings now reach millions of unique prospective buyers for free on Trulia alone:
- Over 10 million unique users to our site every month
- 570 million total property views in 2010
- Nearly 100 percent audience growth every year for the past five years with the first two weeks of 2011 indicating yet another 60 percent or more year-over-year growth
- 72 percent of Trulia’s users plan to purchase a home in the next year
- Three out of four Trulia users do not visit Realtor.com and Zillow
Access to this kind of audience for free is a pretty good arrangement that’s hard to find anywhere else. Instead of paying thousands of dollars to newspapers and other print media to distribute your listings or giving up half of your commission to another company, syndicating to sites like Trulia gives you practically free access to millions of active homebuyers. We think this is a pretty good deal. Not only do you get free access to these customers, but now you can track and measure the results of every media dollar. For instance, you can target your marketing towards specific ZIP codes or cities while tracking every lead until it becomes a completed transaction. No other medium - not even other online services - can do this.
Moreover, in most markets, you can buy a year of upgrades and premium advertising on Trulia for the price of a one-page ad in your local newspaper. I would argue that even a one page newspaper ad is still a waste of marketing money on a medium that doesn’t deliver the kind of return that online - especially those with listing syndication - can offer.
Consumers have clearly voted in favor of syndication sites based on their behavior. In addition to broker and agent websites, many want to conduct research on non-industry, consumer-facing sites. So from all the signs that I can see, I believe that the importance and value of listing syndication as a marketing activity for brokers and agents will only increase in the coming months and years.
How to ensure control over data and quality?
Industry leading brokers have started to move over to direct syndication and I predict this shift will become a widespread trend. Large brokers - those with their own internal IT capabilities - are eliminating middleware such as Threewide and Point2 because of the increased control and visibility that results from direct relationships with sites like Trulia.
While I predict listing syndication will grow in importance, I also believe that the number of “syndication sites” will go down dramatically in the next year or two. Many brokers initially endorsed the view of “syndicate everywhere” and sent their listings to 30 or more websites thinking “more is better,” but now I see the opposite happening for several reasons. Many of the smaller syndication sites simply have no value to deliver or they are faced with a high overhead trying to manage their broker relationships. For example, one of the larger online sites, Roost, recently pivoted its business model while many others are still struggling to keep the lights on without a large-scale audience. I think Brokers will continue this trend of “syndicate selectively” to a few sites so they can control their listing assets. I also believe they should apply selection criteria in choosing these sites based on what delivers the best value for their business, i.e., large audience, quality audience, control of your data.
How do I protect my leads?
Perhaps the loudest negative feedback we hear is about sites, including Trulia, that allow agents to receive leads on or near another broker’s or agent’s listing. On Trulia, this feature is called QuickConnect, which also allows consumers to connect with buyer agents. I can’t speak for other sites, but I want to clarify the Trulia approach and how we have remained true to our principles of delivering for both consumers and the industry.
The reason why we introduced QuickConnect is to ensure a great customer experience AND to provide more leads to agents. In addition to making it easy to connect with the listing agent, we want to make sure end users are getting a response from an agent (since nearly 70 percent of leads don’t get an agent response) and have the option to speak with a buyer agent. Plus, we also know that agents can never get enough leads.
Since we launched QuickConnect, leads to both listing agents and other agents have increased by 40 percent. In just about every market, leads have increased. In no case did leads to listing agents decrease as a result of QuickConnect.
Despite those results, we wanted to deliver on our principle of freedom and control, so we have provided two alternative options for listing brokers:
- Option 1 is completely free: We work with the broker to ensure that all agents claim their listing on Trulia. This is an easy, one-time process. If an agent claims their listing, then we know they are more likely to respond to a customer’s request.When the listing is claimed, only the listing agent is offered as a default agent to contact.In these cases, potential customers typically only send messages to the listing agent.
- Option 2 is a paid upgrade: Brokers can sign up for premium listings, which ensures that only the premium agent is featured on the premium listing with no QuickConnect feature.
Delighting both consumers and the industry can be a challenge, but creating and working hard to maintain this balance is what makes Trulia different from other sites.
Share your thoughts with us: Our Actions Are Driven By Your Feedback
Being customer obsessed is one of Trulia’s core values so I invite you to engage with us in an ongoing dialogue! Tell us what you think - the good and the bad.
Trulia was the first among our peers to create advisory boards with brokers, franchisors and MLS’s that represent a mix of different sized companies. During these industry meetings, we openly discuss our product ideas and future plans so that we get your feedback on our designs, thoughts and innovation. We also gather customer feedback in our usability lab and via our hundreds of meetings with individual brokers that we conduct each year.
Join us in this dialogue and we’ll work side by side towards achieving mutual success. Georg and I will be reaching out to many of you in the coming months. Or drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com to share what’s on your mind.