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.