By Paige Tepping
From what began as a traditional offline business, real estate began moving online in the late 1990s and has increasingly become not only an online business, but a mobile one. Real estate will always have a fundamental human element, but homebuyers in 2013 have a much different experience than their counterparts 10 or even five years earlier. Trulia has played an important role in this evolution.
But what is Trulia really about? And where is it going from here? It’s easier to understand if you start from the beginning.
During the summer of 2002, Pete Flint realized it was time to move. It had been about a year since he made the move from his native England to Palo Alto, Calif., to pursue his MBA degree at Stanford University. He struggled to find the right place to live. Even when he consulted the Internet, it proved to be a challenging process.
Ultimately, the experience helped Flint better understand the challenge of searching for the right home and inspired him to build a service that would make the process easier for consumers and more efficient for real estate professionals. It would be three years of research and hard work before he could turn his idea into the launch of Trulia in 2005.
From the beginning, Flint and the founding team paid special attention to working closely with the real estate industry. The goal was to gather insight from the experts, share information about what the company was building for consumers, and begin to develop important relationships within the industry. Working with these industry partners, Trulia sought to help real estate agents and brokers move their advertising online, where the company envisioned millions more homebuyers would be going in the future.
Surviving the Real Estate Crash
The company began to build momentum as consumers were increasingly interested in finding real estate information online. The housing market peaked around 2006 and then began a now infamous decline that eventually played a central role in the economic crisis and ensuing recession that took hold of the global economy in 2008.
The company and its partners throughout the industry soldiered on with the belief that things would eventually get better. Meanwhile, traffic to Trulia continued to grow as the company focused on what it could control—building great products and services.
The Importance of Product Experience
The real estate industry continues to undergo a massive transformation, and competition is fierce. That’s why technology and service providers are under pressure to develop ever-improving products, for both consumers and real estate agents and brokers.
Trulia invested in building a useful service for consumers to gather information, not only about homes but also about the real estate process and ultimately the people—real estate agents and brokers—who can help them buy, sell, or rent a home.