Real Estate vertical search with Trulia

Trulia is a vertical search engine for real estate. Pete Flint and Sami Inkinen, Stanford MBAs, founded Trulia in 2004, and just moved their ten person company into shiny new offices in San Francisco. Trulia is currently angel funded.

The site launched a month ago with California listings only. Trulia will be rolling out new states (the next one will be this week) in the near future.

Like Oodle, Trulia pulls its content from multiple, distributed sources. In Trulia’s case, its data is indexed from real estate professionals’ websites, where the most detailed information on home listings is located. Trulia often has listings that aren’t included in the MLS, either because the agent hasn’t uploaded the listing yet, or for some new home construction, they never appear in the MLS at all.

The site, which is advertiser supported, has excellent integration with Google maps and provides email and RSS notifications of new search results. Another feature that I really like are the statistics. For any given search, Trulia will show statistics on average home prices per bedroom (but for some reason no average across all home listings), average time a home is on the market, average price per square foot, etc.

Trulia does not show for sale by owner listings at this time. Their main goal, in addition to providing a rich user experience, is to serve real estate professionals by lowering their marketing costs and driving traffic to their websites. Pete tells me that indexing information from professionals’ sites is not easy – it has to be properly parsed and formatted for re-display on Trulia, and duplicate listings removed (some websites show listings from third party agents).