Trulia made a brilliant acquisition around the beginning of 2010 when they purchased @movity. @movity was a company that specialized in taking complex data sets and layering them onto maps in a variety of brilliant ways. Today they are leveraging the skills from the @movity team to explore ways to communicate data easily, and drive engagement.
The data kings in the real estate industry are CoreLogic and LPS. They are both companies that collect, warehouse, and distribute massive amounts of data. The focus of these companies has always been data quality and predictive analytics – not necessarily presentation or engagement. Zillow busted into their house with the Zestimate – although not quite as accurate, the Zestimate is a reasonable predictor of property value when benchmarked against the “professional AVMs” offered by LPS and CoreLogic. In truth, Zillow brought the AVM to the consumer, and they did it for free, so consumers cut them some slack for being a little off. Zillow created data easily, and drove engagement.
In isolation, data is a rather sleepy lummox, but web presentation changes all of that. I was inspired when the MLS systems around the country embraced map search. Those long forms with checkboxes, drop downs, and codes were such a bore. Form based search is the summit of tedium. For me, map based search changes all of that. MLS data became interesting, and somewhat engaging. Flood Zones, and school districts and other key property characteristics layered over property maps began to convey an understanding of meaning and purpose behind real estate property values. Great data trains the REALTOR and provides them with tools that enable clear communication to the consumer they serve.
I sincerely believe that Trulia has an edge today over many of the MLS software provider. Take a look at this video (I would love to see training videos like this in the MLS systems) of how they explain the launch of a new feature. Then go try the product. You are sure to be impressed, and engaged.