Trulia has grown very fast and now is in position to become the closest thing there is to a national MLS now that they have signed agreements with Keller Williams and Reaology, which includes the Coldwell Banker, Century 21 and ERA brands.
So, what might a national MLS replacement mean to brokers, agents, and consumers?
It depends. It depends on Trulia and how they use the listing information and it depends on the brokers and how they allow their listings to be handled, and whether the relationship grows or not. And it depends on the consumer and their web-searching habits and preferences.
One of the things that can come from Trulia taking over for the MLS, especially in Utah (where we have probably the most absurd, controlling MLS’s in the country), is there would most certainly be far less restrictions with the data and how it is used- and for sites that want be offer the consumer a good experience instead of a template, like BlueRoof- it means a lot less money because the MLS charges tens of thousands of dollars per year for me to display listings the way I do. I am one of only a couple companies that are willing to pay this outrageous fee, but with the MLS becoming less relevant I may decide to not use their data anymore and instead work with Trulia and their data.
And the consumer may be allowed to see much more than our
facist rulers MLS representatives currently allow.
The MLS was formed to serve its members, but has become just another for-profit company that looks out for its coffers, many times at the expense of the members- and that is something I will be glad to see dissapear.
If Trulia keeps the agents and brokers in their court they should continue to grow, but VC funding and a tech-guy perspective might start to erode their “friendly” model once they attract enough traffic that agents begin to rely on them. That’s the new way of making money for many tech companies- give it for free and be everyone’s friend, generate a lot of traffic/users, then charge for everything to make profit.
It’s always scary when brokers and agents rely too heavily on tech people. Trulia has demonstrated huge success thus far, we’ll see what they do with it…