A New Web Tool For House Hunting: Trulia.com


For those of you who spend your lunch hours (and your work hours) trolling the real estate pages to see what’s new, what’s for sale, what’s cheap, what’s cheaper and what’s in foreclosure, I want to turn you on to a new tool.

Now I have to admit up front that when I got the press release for this new website I forwarded it on up to HQ because I’m related by marriage to the PR folks for the company. But in the time since I got that release a few weeks ago, I’ve received more than one email from other sources in the business telling me I need to write about this. So with that disclaimer, here goes.

According to its press release,www.trulia.com is “the first national real estate search web site to incorporate Google’s Street View technology to give home buyers a street-level view of homes listed on the site.”

What this means is that you can not only see the house, but you can walk the neighborhood. Nowadays, with abandoned, foreclosed homes standing as eyesores in otherwise well-kept cul-de-sacs, not to mention lowering the values of the neighbors’ homes, it’s good to know what’s next door to the house you might be eyeing to buy. It’s also good to know if, as in one listing, the house stands across the street from a set of railroad tracks.

An old friend in California, who tracks home prices in the state, wrote to me yesterday that he was surprised to see Trulia lists homes that are going into foreclosure or are already bank-owned (and that’s a growing number every day!). There are other sites that specialize in foreclosure listings, but many of them charge a subscription fee. Trulia, it appears, does not, but just puts that fact in the list of stats. I also like that the site give you “days on the market,” which is an important thing to know when you’re considering an offer.

Anyway, I had a little fun trolling some listings on the site, especially one in New York City, which shows a seemingly upscale, renovated little building. But when you move the mouse around in a circle and “walk” across the street, well it’s standing opposite some pretty nasty little “grocers”/lottery/liquor stores that might attract a questionable crowd on a dark night.

In a sea of sites nowadays that promise everything but the key to the front door, this one stands out a bit. The company for now appears to have unique rights to this trolling technology, but I doubt others will be far behind. Oh, and Trulia is not a publicly-held company. Now I need to go back online, sorry, back to work.

Questions? Comments? RealtyCheck@cnbc.com