Inman News Blog has the news that Fidelity’s Cyberhomes has signed a deal with AOL Real Estate to power all of its home valuations. This is a big win for Cyberhomes, which has been steadily and stealthily rolling out new features and signing up brokers to get access to their listing feeds (most recently with Prudential CA/NV/Texas).
Trulia’s betting its search interface will win out and that their listings will be the ultimate draw for buyers. While the site definitely is easy to use, it suffers from some glaring holes in its inventory and its strategy of handing traffic off to its broker partners may ultimately be its weakest link.
Especially as brokers develop better search tools on their own sites, and do a better job of converting and capturing some of those consumers that Trulia sends them. I know in my own home search I started on Trulia and then stayed on a local broker’s site because I found more listings there.
Zillow, on the other hand, is gambling that Web 2.0 social features will be the ultimate traffic drivers to their site. Unfortunately, I’ve seen little evidence that there’s much demand for this type of activity (see Zillow Flounders A Bit With New Release). I could be proven wrong on this one, but I have a hunch that the “real estate thrill” might be gone.
Zillow might be the most “fun” but it’s still chasing the average consumer, which is a very fickle market indeed.
Cyberhomes, meanwhile, seems to be splitting the middle and focusing on building out a very compelling and rich feature set. The site offers a deep source of data for anyone considering a home purchase. Thankfully it looks like they have resolved their browser compatibility issues too (see Cyberhomes AVM is a Total Joke)!
Cyberhomes seem to be focusing on the serious buyer and real estate investor. And in a down or turning market — when the average consumer is sick about hearing about falling home prices — that might just be the sweet spot.