Technology

Trulia CEO focused on agents and brokers [VIDEO]

Agent subscribers up 50 percent in last year

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Trulia CEO Pete Flint continues to emphasize the listing portal’s growing focus on courting industry professionals, the company’s most important source of revenue.

Speaking at a media luncheon Trulia hosted this week to celebrate the first anniversary of its initial public offering, Flint highlighted the company’s agent and broker offerings and services and the traction that they have gained in the last year.

Flint also acknowledged the ongoing challenge of obtaining data directly from multiple listing services, and noted that the company has so far had better success harvesting frequently updated listings through direct partnerships with brokers.

Trulia wants to do the opposite of “disintermediate” agents and brokers, and instead create a “marketplace connecting consumers to professionals,” Flint said.

In a sit-down interview with Inman News, Trulia CEO Pete Flint explained how the company intends to sustain its massive growth. 

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The number of subscribers to its software and marketing services has grown by 50 percent year over year; 70 percent of its total revenue comes from such services; and average revenue per user of those services is $149, he said.

In a presentation at the luncheon and a sit-down interview with Inman News, Flint pointed to several initiatives that he said exemplify Trulia’s commitment to working hand in hand with traditional players in the real estate industry.

The “Trulia Accelerate” program, which provides agents with access to premium branded agent profiles, a custom training curriculum, and marketing and advertising products, is “a huge win for Re/Max,” the first company to join the program, he said.

As of early September, nearly 70,000 agents from 16 brokers and franchisors were enrolled in “Trulia Accelerate,” according to Trulia.

Flint also called attention to Trulia’s “find an agent” directory, which launched this summer and helps consumers glean data on agents including home sales, active listings and recommendations.

He also presented a case study on a broker who he said has increased her business tenfold since she began using Trulia’s marketing services in 2011. Later at the luncheon, a broker invited by Trulia to speak at the event extolled those services in a “fireside chat” with a Trulia spokesperson.

Trulia seeks “not only transform the consumer experience but also the end-to-end experience for the real estate broker and agent,” Flint said.

Despite the progress that Trulia may have made in accommodating traditional players in the industry, Flint acknowledged that obtaining direct feeds from MLSs, which would improve the accuracy of Trulia’s listings, remains an ongoing challenge.

The departure of Bob Bemis, a former MLS executive hired last year by Zillow who said he left his position partly because of the difficulty of clinching partnerships with MLSs, recently seemed to underscore that challenge.

Flint said that MLSs sometimes find it challenging to discern whether partnerships serve the interests of both themselves and brokers and agents, and that that can stall or preclude deals.

“Decision-making in this industry can be quite slow,” he said. “There’s a lot of constituents.”

He said that Trulia has managed to form more listing partnerships with brokers than with MLSs, but said that the industry would benefit from additional partnerships between Trulia and MLSs because they are particularly helpful to small brokers.

“If you’re a small broker … how do you compete? You compete by getting your MLS to provide a direct feed into Trulia,” Flint said.