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Look out Trulia, here comes

Posted by: Prashant Gopal on January 23, 2008

Seems counter-intuitive but the competition is heating up in the world of online real estate search engines even as the housing market slowdown deepens., which entered the fray with a beta launch on Jan. 23, is similar to the many existing listing sites such as and But Roost is trying to differentiate itself with its user-friendly interface and ability to easily search for new, used and for-sale-by-owner listings without having to navigate through a local broker’s Web site or share contact information with an agent.

It doesn’t cover the entire country; it focuses only on the cities where it has comprehensive listings through its partnerships with local Multiple Listing Services. The company says it has plans to expand beyond the initial cities of Atlanta, Baltimore, Boise, Idaho, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Minneapolis, Minn., Orange County, Calif., Philadelphia, Portland, Ore., Sacramento/Modesto, Calif., San Diego and Washington D.C.

The site’s key feature is its Google-like search engine (Eventually you’ll be able to narrow results with free-text searches for terms such as “hardwood floors” or “pool”). Another cool feature: You can locate a property using a Google Maps interface where you can also find the nearest school, café, library or grocery store.

Reader Comments

Terry Sanford

January 23, 2008 3:57 PM

Does anyone know how they pull this off?

"it focuses only on the cities where it has comprehensive listings through its partnerships with local Multiple Listing Services"

Don't most MLS services limit data feeds to entities whose intent is to actually sell real estate? I know MLSPIN in Massachusetts does. How do they get local data in Boston?

Brock Harris

January 23, 2008 6:26 PM

Here's how they do it: they get a real estate license and join the MLS in as many cities as they can. MOST MLSes allow agents to use a datafeed...the whole thing is complex, seach IDX for all the relevant links. There are about 400 MLSes nationwide...the only side that serves up all of them is, I believe.

Alex Chang

January 23, 2008 6:29 PM

Terry, Alex from Roost here.

Roost provides local real estate brokers with their own MLS-compliant site (using the local "IDX" standards) on our platform which accesses the data in accordance with the local rules.

And we also drive traffic to those sites from the search engine.

We partner with local brokers and go through the various approval processes explicitly with each local MLS before we launch with any broker on the platform.

David Winans

January 30, 2008 3:15 PM is a good company. We are partnering with them in Dallas/Fort Worth,Texas. Their IDX product is far superior to's model.

David Winans GMAC Real Estate

Colby Fitch

February 9, 2008 1:12 AM, a long overdue compilation of third-party real estate content strung together and powered by a proprietary kick A**, lighting fast and robust search platform.

Dynamic database driven content
consistently fed to broker/ realtor branded sites makes for an all encompassing localized real estate search, minus some FSBOS and other strays.

Site flow is smooth and technology tight. Keep an eye on future upgrades, added content and new partnerships. Off to a great start!

Colby Fitch

Kenneth Cox

May 7, 2008 3:10 AM

Roost has a great service for both consumers and brokers. We are partnering with Roost to serve the Dallas Fort Worth Real Estate Market.

Kenneth Cox, Broker
DFW Urban Realty

Frank Borges LL0SA= Broker Short Sales

October 9, 2008 1:53 AM

Did you see the Youtube Attack ad that Roost did on Trulia? I reviewed it here and launched my own. They weren't that accurate after all!

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BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.

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