VentureBeat Reveals Trulia Redesigns

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Business blog VentureBeat reveals today that Trulia is set to unveil a bunch of new tools aimed at helping home buyers at the end of the month.

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Taking a page from Zillow’s recent redesign, Trulia will be adding heatmaps to its search pages. Sounds like you’ll be able to view them at a neighborhood level (which you can’t currently do over at Zillow). The heatmaps (I wonder if Zillow has trademarked that term…) will apparently let you overlay a number of different metrics including average sale price and average price per square foot on top of their maps, so you can gauge the activity in your area. Sounds like a nifty idea.

Trulia also promises to add a comparison tool (showing you recently sold properties side by side with your search results) and a neighborhood spotlight, that adds neighborhood features to the information mix.

While all of the features sound like great concepts, I’m a little curious as to how they plan on rolling them out. With an incomplete inventory of properties and without an established relationship with the MLS’s in each area, it remains to be seen how Trulia intends on accurately generating the metrics it proposes to display.

Also, will the features be uniformly available in all parts of the country? While some MLS systems allow the release of comparable sold data (see John L. Scott breaks the mold), it’s my understanding that many don’t. Can anyone enlighten us on the rules?

It’ll be interesting to see how these new features roll out, and to see how useful they actually are. I only hope this isn’t a PR ploy to wow the VCs and generate new sources of investment.

Update: More from Liz Gannes (GigaOm) at Trulia Expands, Gets Local

Update #2: Jonathan J. Miller at Matrix gets a sneak peak at the new site