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With its new iPhone application, Trulia.com is taking on-line real estate search to the streets

This is my column for this week from the Arizona Republic (permanent link). There is a fuller review of this new technology here.

 
With its new iPhone application, Trulia.com is taking on-line real estate search to the streets

So who is winning the Realty.bot race, Trulia.com or Zillow.com? Your guess is as good as anyone’s, but this week marks a decisive change in the game: Trulia just released an iPhone application.

Trulia Mobile will offer a limited set of location-based searches from Apple’s iPhone, from an array of other smartphones and from Dash Navigation GPS devices. The user-experience will differ by device, but the design premise is based on location-sensitivity: Your iPhone always knows where you are, so it can interact with Trulia’s file servers to show you a list of nearby listings or open houses. You can get a detailed summary for each home on your list, and you can then email the listing to a friend, contact the listing agent directly or map the home so that you can hop over for a quick peek.

It’s hard to argue with the design premise: If people are going to go out house-hunting on their own, whether they are really looking for a house or simply touring open houses for decorating ideas, why not use the location-sensing power of modern electronics to hook them into Trulia’s listings database?

The ability to contact the listing agent plausibly increases the likelihood of dual agency transactions, but the fact of life is that many, many people are at least starting their home search without the advice of a buyer’s agent.

But here’s the bonus that popped out at me when I heard about Trulia’s iPhone application: Listing agents who want to compete for mobile-empowered buyers need to get their listings into Trulia and they need to keep their open house schedules up to date. I like anything that makes listers more diligent in their duties to their clients.

The iPhone application is slick and useful as written, this because “data is the new Intel-inside” and Trulia has a rich store of data to draw upon. The usual caveats about opt-in versus MLS listings apply, along with concerns about decay among voluntarily-maintained listings. But, all that notwithstanding: Trulia’s mobile-computing initiative is cool.

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  • 5 comments

    5 Comments so far

    1. TWA's Real Estate Investing School September 1st, 2008 4:35 am

      As an iPhone addict, thanks for letting us know about Trulia’s new app. I’ve already been to the Apple online store for the download!

    2. Jamey Bridges September 1st, 2008 10:59 am

      Although not a huge fan of trulia I think the application is smart to use the physical location pa someone to display nearby properties. I hope some other third party vendors pick up this idea for their IDX solutions.

    3. Heather @ Trulia September 2nd, 2008 12:25 pm

      Thx for the coverage Greg. Now we need to make sure our iPhone app keeps improving. Over 15K downloads so far…not too shabby.

    4. Riley Smith | Coconut Grove Real Estate September 3rd, 2008 1:25 pm

      Thanks for the tech update. Being able to stand on a street corner in a strange town and look up the cost of homes in a square mile radius is awesome.
      Being a realtor who specializes in listings, I hope it results in a few more double dips.

    5. Overland Park Real Estate November 24th, 2008 11:23 am

      Google has come out with a Google Earth iPhone app that integrates the GPS on your iPhone along with some other helpful browsing capabilities. Google also has a growing listing database in Google Base. IMO it’s only a matter of time before the Google Earth app integrates listings from Google Base and becomes the Mobile Real Estate app of the future. Z and T could be in trouble on the mobile front…..IMO