Trulia Enters The Real Estate Rental Market And Starts Collecting Location Ratings

Real estate search engine Trulia is launching rental listings for the first time in an attempt to broaden its offerings from home sales listings. Competitors such as Zillow and already offer home and apartment rental listings, but at a time when up to a third of people looking for a new place to live in the U.S. are still on the fence about buying, going after renters is an obvious strategy.

Trulia is leveraging its existing relationships with real estate brokers and other sources of real estate listings to jumpstart its rentals offering. CEO Pete Flint says that Trulia’s rental listings are more comprehensive at launch than his competitors, with millions of units nationwide. In New York City alone, Trulia lists 25,000 apartments for rent, compared to 65,000 nationwide (and 3,600 in NYC) for Zillow, according to Flint. Home ownership levels are down across the country. Going after renters makes sense. I caught up with Flint on Monday in New York City. He explains the new rental and location rating products in the video above:

Along with the launch of rental listings, Trulia is also introducing location ratings. These will be geo-coded and tied to a neighborhood or similar area. Visitors to Trulia’s site can rate any location based on schools, traffic, safety, parking, cleanliness, and other attributes. These will be bundled up into an overall rating.

Once Trulia collects enough ratings, it will begin showing them on color-coded maps along with reviews of the location itself. The screenshot below is a mockup of how this might look on Trulia’s site when it launches in a couple weeks (the final design will very likely change, but this gives you a good idea). Also this location rating and review data could become very valuable for other sites and mobile apps which might want to integrate it into their own services. Flint hopes to be able to open up the data via APIs eventually.