trulia – I don’t like it


Today I am going to take a look at trulia.  I am going to point out some strengths and some weaknesses, and then I will give you my take.


1. Although trulia is considered “web 2.0,” they have done an almost flawless job with their web 1.0 SEO efforts (with the exception of adhering to w3c standards – their San Diego listings page shows 182 errors).  The site’s architecture is set up exactly the way it should be…unfortunately, their programmers wrote some ugly code.  It’s nice to see a 2.0 company that still worries about search engines, even if their programming team is what I would consider second rate.

2. Trulia does a great job at implementing RSS feeds.  Although RSS is still very far from being main-stream, geeks love it, and it meshes nicely with real estate.

3. They have been able to do a good job with PR.  PR is the most important strategy for a web 2.0 business today.  When meeting with a VC, you get to say things like “we haven’t spent anything on advertising.”  Then you get to say things like “our growth is organic” or “our growth is viral.”  Everyone likes that.


1. No inventory.  Sure, trulia has a ton of listings…maybe 2% of the listings in each market they serve (probably less).  Why in the hell would Joe Buyer want to look at 2% of the available homes for sale in his market when he can visit any local IDX site and view everything?  So he can play with a map? 

2. Slow, slow, slow.  When you use trulia it feels like you are on a dial-up connection.  The pages take forever to load – if you accidentally mouse over something, it slows everything else down.  The site is just dreadfully slow.

3. I think the two points above are fatal.

My Take:

First: What it comes down to is this.  Using trulia is a waste of time.  If I am a serious buyer, I do not want to visit 15 websites (not even 2 websites) to see what is available.  I want to go to one website – and I do not want it to feel like I am on a 14.4 modem.  Trulia will never have a meaningful percentage of the market (unless they join every MLS in the country).

Second: As far as agents and brokers using trulia – Its pretty simple, trulia is a pimp – and if you feed them all of your listings, you are a whore.  Without your listings, trulia would not exist…they should be paying you for content…not the other way around.

Sure, they may not be charging you anything right now, but a good crack dealer never does.  When you find yourself dependent, you better believe you will be paying the piper. 

If you want to spend your time and money building businesses for other people, give me a call – I can help you out with that.


48 Responses to “trulia – I don’t like it”

  1. Richard Johnston Says:

    Anybody using Trulia, Zillow, and online companies in the lead generation business are a bunch of low lifes tricking you to sign up for their service only to send your name and number to the highest paying real estate agent.

    The only site recommended is and mine for Los Angeles.

  2. You can’t be a pimp without… « Blog Says:

    […] Real Estate 2.0 has a great post about Trulia being a pimp, which is true, but they certainly aren’t the only pimp walking the real estate streets. […]

  3. Calculator Says:

    Thank You!! Finally someone who get what Trulia is up to. It’s amazing how many stupid brokers are falling for Trulia’s bait and switch. As soon as brokers are hooked on Trulia crack the price of the drug will go up. Why create another that isn’t subject to MLS rules?

  4. Trevor Smith Says:

    OK, so agree or disagree with Redfin or Trulia, you have to admit that traditional Realtors and MLS systems have left the consumer wanting better websites, technology, etc. Richard, your comment is arrogant and shows your lack of knowledge regarding how the internet is changing real estate. I am not going to rip on, but to say it is the only thing out there besides your website (thats where the arrogant part comes in) is just plain ridiculous, not to mention a shameless and uninvited link plug.

  5. Douglas Donald Says:

    Refute to first responder- Zillow is not in the lead generation business

  6. Sam Says:

    Help me understand.
    First: isn’t Trulia offering a single website solution? Compared to our local MLS website, their info is a LOT more useable.
    Second: Aren’t MLSes in the same boat as Trulia: without listings, they wouldn’t exist.
    I’m honestly just trying to understand why more agencies aren’t looking for a Trulia-like solution.

  7. Darin Says:

    If you truly believe that a consumer is looking for one web-site to view all listings, if you truly believe it’s about what the consumer wants and not the Realtor, why is there not a web-site with Realtor listings, non-Realtor listings, and FSBO listings all on one site. There is a start-up in
    This idea is the future. All homes for sale-This is what the consumer wants.

  8. Dave Says:

    What are you talking about dude… pimps and whores?

    The newspapers have been taking our ad dollars (real cash) for the right to display our real estate “content” in their paper for years. Why aren’t you calling newspapers crack dealers? Most Realtors are fearful of NOT advertising in the newspaper even though they know only a small percentage of leads are coming from there. Fear of stopping, that’s the addiction.

    I say let us Realtors take advantage of the free sites like Trulia and other to market “our” listings. Unlike newspapers, Trulia and the others will have to prove their worth if they want to charge Realtors to list on their site. If I don’t see results, I’m not paying and they’re out of business. What a beautiful thing!

  9. Reddy Says:

    Who ever siad Trulia is useless are the people are not in pain on looking for a house for themselves.

    I am a software engineer. I just satrted looking for a house for my self, I was almost frustated on entring data in diffrent MLS’s until I accidentally found this amazing website .

    I wonder why could’t I find this GEM at first place.

    It’s an amazing web site for everybody , espcially for beginners.

  10. Haverfish Says:

    This article was obviously written by someone not in the real estate industry. First of all, listings aren’t precious content that should be safeguarded by brokers and agents, only to give them out to carefully selected companies.

    Agents basically want as much exposure as possible, fishing for that one person who will buy one of their properties. That’s why they put their properties on Craiglist, Yahoo, Oodle, Trulia, MLSs, and their own crappy website. Agents pay good money to plaster their mug and phone number everywhere. If Trulia became hugely popular, agents would be falling over themselves to get their listings on it, and would definately pay for the opportunity.

    Also, serious buyers wouldn’t use websites as their primary source of listing information. A good agent would show you listings you’d actually be interested in, as well as upcoming listings that haven’t reached an MLS yet. If you’re spending all your time looking through pages and pages of month-old listings on random web sites, you’re wasting a lot of time doing what your agent is paid to do.

  11. Terra Says:

    Darin- Zillow does that. Owners and Realtors are posting listings… it’s pretty cool. Trulia shouldn’t be too far behind.

  12. Pamela St. Peter Says:

    *Upfront disclaimer – I’m a broker*

    Well all the feeds are sending out the info about and KW today. Now that’s the biggest news if you ask me – KW will market all of their listings at Trulia? Hmmmm

    But I have to add my 2 cents – one – if a savvy internet home buyer is looking for a home let’s say in Raleigh (where I am located) and uses this particular site ALL they are going to see are the listings from the particular brokerages ( real estate companies) that are subscribing to Trulia – like KW, HPW etc. I just tested it… But with so many good agent sites out there linked to their local multiple listing services through IDX (where that savvy buyer will get EVERYTHING active in that MLS) why would they use something like Trulia?

    Polls are coming out and stating that up to 86% of home buyers are STARTING their search on the web. Bravo! That’s a terrific place to start. But not with a company that limits what they can find…

    And secondly – make no mistake – we as Realtors are not going to get something for free by placing our listings on Trulia – as did to us years ago – they take our info and then SURPRISE – they sell it back to us and for big bucks…

    Happy house hunting!

  13. ferdi Says:

    there is a similar application in italy,

  14. Matt Says:

    Ditto on the 2 weaknesses, and they haven’t been improved. It’s painfully slow, and doesn’t have all the listings that either RedFin or ZipRealty (here in the Bay Area) have.

    It’s a fun (but pretty useless) toy that will crash your browser if you give it more than a few minutes.

    I’ve also met the founder, and think he’s a pretty disingenuous, unethical person.

  15. Roger Matts Says:

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  16. Congress Realty Flat Fee Listing Says:

    Trulia is a Web 2.0 business solving a problem that no one actually has – namely, aggregation of listings. They claim to provide 1 stop shopping whereby you can see all the listings at one site, but they have so few listings, while every other IDX-enabled website out there gets a feed from the entire MLS.

  17. Teresa Boardman Says:

    I agree. Noticed that now with the new Trulia Voices the place is quickly filling up with junk. Fun to watch.

  18. Chris Person Says:

    Any one there ?
    Trulia is novative and of prime importance ! I am a Swiss/British based in Asia (VN) – If any one could provide me with such business model & plan .. + some web info .. I’ll adapt it right away ! ($$ … any one ?)
    I shall modify the concept as an fsbo !
    Then it’s a killer ! …

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  23. Guess I'm A Whore Says:

    […]Second: As far as agents and brokers using trulia – Its pretty simple, trulia is a pimp – and if you feed them all of your listings, you are a whore. Without your listings, trulia would not exist…they should be paying you for content…not the other way around[…]

    So, brokers aren’t pimps and agents aren’t whores? Come on! We can go on and on and down the line with this analogy. Look, sellers want their property sold. We work for them. We must market their homes to the best of our ability. So what do we do? We have our own websites, we take out ads in newspapers, we buy signs from sign companies, we pay to advertise our listings on other search sites, and for what? Exposure. Thats called doing our job!

  24. David S Says:

    For rental housing, Craigslist is the de facto standard, with so many listings. Unfortunately the interface is terrible. CribQ does a nice job of adding some decent features to Craigslist.

  25. Bill T Says:

    I find all of the criticism about “other source” sites like this amusing. If you are at all familiar with the real estate industry, ANY multi list system is full of errors, due to lazy, stupid, or incompetent agents! right now, there is a report about the National Assoc of Realtors that pegs their margin of error at +/-15 to 20%! Nationwide! So, how can you wonder when there is a search for information from other sources. Keep it up Trulia!

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  40. bean Says:

    The year is now 2010. Trulia is truly painful to use. It’s too slow. The couldn’t improve it in 3+ years?

  41. Mary Fornier Says:

    Redfin is the whore of the real estate industry. Real estate is an art and a science when practiced by true professionals who are helping people buy and sell their most valuable investments. It is not something to be turned into a Walmart — actually worse than Walmart — franchise.

    God help us if EVERYONE had to start giving rebates in order to do their jobs. Should attorneys offer free vacations with their law services? Should writers pay YOU to read their books? Should prostitutes give change and 2 for 1 specials?

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  47. Bill Says:

    They do not provide the service of seller leads as they promise. They have a lengthy sales contract. They sell you a Zip Code then send you leads from 50 miles away. If you buy 3 zip codes you get the same leads as if bought only 1 zip code. The leads are not sellers but people wondering about the value of a house. They are very dishonest and as long as they send you any name according to them they have provided the service. They send you lots of names to look as if you are getting a lot of leads. It takes time to look through them all.

    They are a terrible company and expensive. Do not waste your money.

    • Chris Says:

      Hi Bill, you realize this post was from 8 years ago right? I convert 1 out of 12 leads I get on Trulia into an escrow the last 6 months. I pay under $400 monthly for one zip code on mobile only (buyer leads not seller) and have received 130 leads in 6 months. Average $180,000 per transaction. Do the math. I would suggest not “looking through” the leads and instead respond IMMEDIATELY to the inquiries as soon as they hit your text message notifications. respond quick, offer to send listings, and schedule to meet at the house they inquired about…Refer them to your lenders and get the show on the road…That’s how you work an internet lead.

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