Trulia launches home value estimates

Trulia has jumped into the home value game.

Here’s the deal:

  • The feature is called “Trulia Estimates” (Testimates doesn’t really work, does it?).
  • Estimates are available only in the SF Bay Area for now, but the plan is to expand nationally.
  • Initially, estimates are available only on sold properties, but actives will be included in the near future.
  • The algorithm behind the estimates was created in-house.
  • A key differentiator, as stated by the company, is that Trulia users – both consumers and agents – will be able to provide feedback on individual estimates (see the screen shot below).
  • This feedback will be used for internal purposes only for now. The company would not state if the feedback will be displayed publicly at some point, but would not rule it out either. You be the judge.

Some quick thoughts:

  • This could be viewed as something of a snoozer – a simple parity move – given the Zestimate’s established success with consumers and the fact that both Realtor.com (only on sold properties) and Homes.com have had value estimates for some time.
  • On the other hand, one could look at this as a significant enhancement that places Trulia on a more even footing with Zillow – something that’s very important in the run-up to their anticipated IPO. To date I’ve thought of Trulia as stronger than Zillow as a pure home search application, but Zillow as a more complete consumer offering. One could say that gap is now narrower.
  • The notion of value estimates directly conditioned by user feedback – including Realtors – edges up against the “RVM” concept that is part of RPR. The more that’s available outside the RPR wall, the less unique their value prop becomes.
  • The use of an automated value as a lead-gen lever is executed well here. Note the “get a professional estimate” call to action next to the automated number. I’ve always thought the Zestimate was God’s gift to the Realtor value proposition, so I like how Trulia plays this.
  • This is the latest in a series of UI and feature improvements Trulia has made over the past 6-8 months. The site has become significantly better. They are executing well. I’m looking forward to seeing the S-1.

Here’s the screen cap:

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