Trulia Real Estate Blog

New Year’s Resolutions for Online Real Estate and Trulia

Pete Flint, CEO
December 31, 2007

happy_2008

2007 was a certainly the hangover year from the excess in the housing economy from the first half of the decade. Mortgage crisis, credit crunch, subprime, foreclosures, housing bust were frequent headlines throughout the year. Tough times for many and well covered in many other posts. With 2008 around the corner, here are some New Year’s resolutions for the Online Real Estate Industry that we will also be following here at Trulia. Whether you are an agent, broker, franchisor or a real estate technologist, you should be able to benefit from these resolutions, tips and links.

Be more social
If 2006 was the year that social media caught the public’s attention, then 2007 was the year when social media started to became an essential business tool for many of us. Here are some tips for the upcoming year:

  • If you have not already, set up your online profiles on the major sites and real estate social networks, Facebook, Linkedin, Trulia Voices and ActiveRain. It’s free, your customers are there and your online reputation is as important as your offline one. These tools are essentially no different from building your referral network in the real world – just much more efficient and scalable. Your “profile” is networking for you 24×7 even when you sleep! How’s that for efficiency!
  • Get involved. Answer questions over at Trulia Voices, comment on other’s blogs, build contacts with Linkedin, join groups at Facebook, review local restaurants at Yelp and get your blog posts Dugg at Digg.
  • More resources: here, here and here

Be more open
We all know that you can hold much more with an open hand than a closed fist. The majority of franchisors and brokers have now fully embraced listings distribution with leading sites that are serving their best interests. Now we are seeing many MLSs are starting to provide listing distribution services on behalf of their clients and we see this trend accelerating. Ideas for being more open:

  • Get listings up on Trulia, Google Base and countless others across the web. If you are not there, your competitors are potentially getting your business. The free traffic you can get is considerable.
  • Launch a blog, share your experiences, be open, it may be surprisingly to some, the more you share the more it will enable you to build relationships with your audience and customers.
  • Make sure your website is open to google and other search engines. If consumers are looking for your product or content, this is the place to be and make sure you’re thinking about search engine optimization.

Be more efficient
So whatever the current NAR economist says, 2008 is not going to be great year in general for the real estate industry. Transactions are down, home values are down and inventory is almost at an all-time high. I’m not an economist, but at least on the national level I believe 2008 will be a challenging year, that said, there are will still be millions of people buying and selling real estate. Some tips on efficiency in today’s market:

  • Use free analytics tools like google analytics to measure, analyze and understand what your website traffic is doing and where users are coming from.
  • Online advertising can be significantly more efficient, if you have not slashed your offline budget, you probably should do right away. Buy ads on the leading online real estate sites: Google, Yahoo and Trulia and monitor their performance. If they deliver a positive ROI, the do more of it, if not stop. Online doesn’t have to be incremental on your budget. Many of our broker clients have made the move and cut offline spending and spent only a fraction of that online with the same aggregate benefits! That’s saving dollars immediately.
  • Optimize your website for your inbound visitors so they get a good introduction to your site.
  • Use the market change to make tough decisions about your business: restructure, renegotiate contracts, right-size your organization, kick the bad habits. Strong companies have historically used market downturns to build market share and come out of it even stronger while others stumble.
  • Online social networking. Remember again, your “profile” is networking for you 24×7 even when you sleep!

Be more active and exercise
What’s a New Year’s resolution list with this one, hey? I’ll be planning to exercise more this year, just like last year…For the online real estate industry, it means getting out more, meeting with clients and going mobile. If Santa gave you an iPhone this year you’ll know what I mean:

  • Get on the mobile internet. Get an iPhone or a newer cell phone where you can keep surf the web, get connected with contacts and those hot leads. Plus you’ll impress your friends.
  • Check out these voice to text tools Jott, Simulscribe, SpinVox for mobile services on the road.
  • Get a broadband wireless card, while a little screen maybe good for short, miss-spelt replies, a wireless card and your laptop helps you do real business.

Have fun and play more
One of the best ways to learn more and improve your life and business is to experiment, play with new things and just have fun. We’ll all be happier and more productive. For online real estate here are some ideas:

  • Experiment with online video. Try different things on YouTube, WellcomeMat and others. Production and distribution are easier and cheaper than ever, now you just need to be creative!
  • Mash-ups, social apps and widgets. If you’re technically inclined, building a mash-up, using an API, build a facebook app and widgetize yourself.

I hope that you find these New Year’s resolutions from Trulia useful. Got any resolutions for the real estate industry that we should be considering?

Trulia update
Here is a quick update on what has been going on with Trulia in the last 12 months and where we’re headed.

Today, Trulia.com is the fastest growing website in the real estate industry according to Comscore (at least amongst the top 20 sites). In December 2007 Trulia.com will have around 2.5million unique visitors, we have grown 3x in 12 months whereas many other sites have flat or declining in traffic. We consistently see double digit monthly growth and expect this to continue for the foreseeable future until we become one of the top few sites in the Industry.

Trulia has been launching lots of products in 2007 as well as coming out of Beta, some highlights: in May we launched the useful and popular Trulia Voices community; in November we launched our integrated Foreclosure search and also in November made available our agent listing advertising product. We will be launching many more products and services in 2008 as well as improving many of the existing products on Trulia.com. We are particularly excited about building on the early success of Trulia Voices and become the leading online community for home buyers, sellers, agents and enthusiasts.

In 2007 we raised an additional $10m lead by Sequoia Capital with participation from existing investors such as Accel Partners and have raised a total of around $18m to date. It’s a great endorsement for the Trulia business model, chosen strategy and the team here from some of smartest and most successful minds in technology. Trulia has approximately doubled its staff to around 55 employees in 12 months (and we’re hiring). Most importantly, we’ve continued to deliver great value to our real estate industry partners and other advertisers. As a result of making our clients happy, we’re now starting to generate pretty significant revenues and with Trulia’s capital efficient model and a highly sought after audience, we’ll be focused on achieving profitability in 2008. Since inception, our goal has been to build a marketing platform that delivers greater value at a lower cost than any other option out there, whether online or offline. This is a great start and we will continue on this path. We’ll let you know how we get on in 2008.

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year and good luck with your own New Year resolutions from everyone at Trulia!

See you in 2008; it’s going to be an exciting year in the online real estate Industry.

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Santa facing foreclosure? Trulia to the rescue!

December 21, 2007

The final edition of the Trulia Trends Report for 2007 is hot off the presses. In the full report (PDF), we cover the latest market trends in price and popularity, and spotlight some great houses in the North Pole.*

Here are some highlights:

After an eight-month reign as “Most Popular City,” the windy city of Chicago was bumped from the top spot down to number two by Manhattan – perhaps New Yorkers agree with the Trulia taxi tops that state “…paying rent sucks.”

The constant media coverage of the credit crisis and housing market turmoil didn’t appear to faze luxury house hunters on Trulia in November. Half of the homes on the list of top 10 most-viewed properties were priced well over $1 million.

• The biggest–and most expensive–home to make our list was the historic 22,000 square-foot Milbank Mansion, a stone’s throw from Central Park. Listed at $59,000,000, this gorgeous Upper East Side home has 27 rooms and eight fireplaces; perfect for keeping cozy on a chilly New York night.

• The six-acre family-friendly estate in star-studded Beverly Hills, California is listed at $29,000,000. It has a total of 10 bedrooms, a separate “children’s wing” with six bedrooms and a huge playroom in the finished attic. It’s a perfect fit for the growing Spears family!

2007 has been a rough year for the jolly ol’ man from the North, and, no, we’re not referring to Bill Gates. The August toy recall and lead paint scare, along with talk of unionizing elves nearly put him out of work–and into foreclosure. Scuttlebutt has it, he may be house hunting.

Since he’s got a full schedule these days, we decided to help him get a jumpstart on finding some new digs in North Pole, Alaska:


Here is a three-bedroom, two-bathroom, gambrel-style home located a short walk from Chena Lake. It has two (toy) sheds, and a horse corral and a dog pen–perfect for boarding the reindeer.

In the off-season, he might enjoy this four-bedroom, three-bathroom home on the Chena Slough. It is perfect for fishing or canoeing in the summer months, and it even comes with a greenhouse for keeping poinsettias and mistletoe alive year-round

There is a three-bedroom, one-bath home with a huge deck and great family room with a wood-burning fireplace. It even comes with a detached garage that has a 1,000 square-foot attic for toy storage.

The Mrs. might fancy this 2,590 square-foot, three-story home. It sits on nearly two acres and has a separate upstairs apartment–a great place to retreat from all the elves’ toy-making.

Our pick is the cedar-sided two-story home with separate storage shed and outbuilding. It has an enormous deck and a Jacuzzi tub upstairs, and a wood-burning stove in the family room downstairs. Perfect for unwinding after a long sleigh ride around the globe.

Your New Year’s resolution should be “reading every Trulia Trends report in 2008″. Sign up for it here. (Trust me, you’ll get more use out of it than that dusty gym membership…)

*Alaska

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Carnival of Real Estate

Emily Erekuff
December 17, 2007

The 71st Carnival of Real Estate is alive and well at Laguna Niguel Real Estate Blog.

No battles or winners this week. Instead Rory Siems highlights the submissions he found the most interesting including:

‘Cool Gifts For The Real Estate Love, Investor, Homeowner: A Photo Gallery’ posted at The Digerati Life

‘Who Else Wants to Become a Real Estate Associate’ hosted at ErealtyLTD

and

‘FHA Reform Bill Stumbles Forward’ from the folks at the Salt Lake Real Estate Blog

Visit the Laguna Niguel Real Estate Blog to check out the rest of this week’s thought-provoking posts.

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Carnival of Real Estate

Emily Erekuff
December 11, 2007

The Carnival of Real Estate turns 70 this week and host Arizona Real Estate Notebook toasts many winners in many categories.

Under the Consumer and Investor Oriented category, Christopher Smith takes the cake with his post, ‘Are you rebalancing your real estate portfolio?’ over at Real Estate Investing in the Real World.

Eric Medemar wins the Sheer Entertainment Value category with his article, ‘Real Estate Investing: 13 Lessons I Have Learned’ posted at The Millionaire’s Blog.

And in Realtor Inside Baseball, Mike Meuller of Lenderama hits a homerun with his post ‘Are Agents the New Brokers?’

Head on over to the Arizona Real Estate Notebook to check out the other notable posts!

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Feeling lonely? Find someone on Trulia Voices.

Pete Flint, CEO
December 6, 2007

We are very excited to announce the addition of Member Search BETA to help you search and discover members within the Trulia Voices community. 

We recently asked the community for feedback on upcoming changes to Trulia Voices. The ‘Top Voices’ feature is  a useful tool to find the most active Trulia Voices members in different locations, but does not offer additional flexibility.  Member Search is a starting point for us to help consumers and real estate professionals find others on Trulia.

Remember, it is free to use Trulia Voices and free to create a profile.  Even if you have not answered or asked any questions, you can simply fill in your profile and you will appear in the search results.

In order to deliver the best user experience, the search results for Member Search are based on multiple criteria. We are constantly tweaking the system, but members with complete profiles who have also entered a city or zip code will be more easily found!

We hope you enjoy Member Search, and let us know what you think. It is still a BETA version, which means that it is not perfect and ready for prime time. Rest assured though that we are constantly working to improve it! Your feedback is our best tool to provide you with the best possible experiences.

Stay tuned for more changes and updates in the future.  Until then, enjoy Member Search!

3 comments

Carnival of Real Estate

Emily Erekuff
December 4, 2007

After a break for the Thanksgiving Holiday, the Carnival of Real Estate is back and this week the 69th edition is hosted at John Barker’s Mortgage Blog.

John chose to highlight helpful posts that can aid real estate professionals, buyers and sellers alike in this market slump, including:

‘A Fishy Abandoned House Tale’ by Jim Watkins of Real Estate Investing for Real Blog

and

‘Different Types of FHA Loans’ by Dr. Taffy Wagner of FHA Mortgage Center Blog

Go help yourself and check out the other great reads and don’t forget to submit your own article for the next edition.

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