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26 March 2020

Trulia Website Clone - How to Create a Website Like Trulia

Trulia is the second most popular online listing of real estate in the United States with approximately 24 million unique visitors per month. It was created in 2005 by two enthusiasts - Pete Flint and Sami Inkinen, and already in 2015 it was sold to the Zillow Group for an impressive $ 3.5 billion. In this article, you will learn how to clone a Trulia website, thereby creating your own real estate listing.


The number of unique visitors per month in January 2019 for the five most popular listings in the United States (in millions). Source of the image

Our instruction consists of five simple steps.

Step 1: learn the features of the Trulia website



Trulia is one of the few listings, if not the only one that tracks local attitudes and legislation towards the LGBT community

Databases. The list of affordable real estate is the basis of any online listing. Therefore, if you are cloning a Trulia website, you first need to decide where to get information about real estate in your city, country or region. Trulia is aimed at U.S. residents, so its main sources are the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and the Multiple List Service (MLS).

If you are guided by the US market, then you can also use these multi-listings. If your site will work in other countries, look for their local counterparts, for example, the Canadian Real Estate Association or the National Association of Real Estate Agents in the UK.

In addition, the listing can be filled with:

  1. Data from other realtors and agents.

  2. Sale data from the owner (FSBO).

  3. Third-party data providers.

  4. API from Trulia or Zillow.


The main idea here is simple: the more extensive listing and the more information about real estate is indicated in it, the more useful and successful your site will be.

Integrated Search. The Trulia search engine is simple and understandable to everyone. It includes many filters, thanks to which the buyer can find the property by location, cost, number of rooms, type and age of the building, the presence or absence of an intermediary and other important parameters. In addition to this, Trulia has other important information for a property buyer:

  1. Information about a specific region. Photos, shooting from drones, descriptions of local residents and facts about each state, city, district, street.

  2. Opinions of local residents about the area. Reviews of local residents about their area, its well-being, infrastructure, neighbors, schools and more.

  3. Information about the criminal situation in the area. The Trulia platform also shows users the crime data that it receives through integration with CrimeReports.com and SpotCrime.com aggregators.

  4. LGBT protection data. This is a kind of rating that shows how local legislation and residents relate to LGBT people.


Graphical display of lists. Trulia is one of the first listings that replaced long textual descriptions of real estate with presentable and intuitive graphics: on the left side of the screen are object cards with photos and brief characteristics, on the right is an interactive map on which real estate available for purchase or rental is marked. If you hover over the marker of the object on the map, you will see a real estate card, as on the left of the screen.


Graphical display of listing on Trulia website

Saving Search History. This is something like the “Save to Cart” function that is familiar to e-commerce sites. For buyers and tenants, this option is useful in that it allows you to save filter settings and search history, as well as individual houses, apartments and other real estate. In addition, if the user did not find anything, but saved the search criteria, then in the case of an object that meets these criteria, he will receive a notification about this.

For realtors and agencies, the function of saving search history is another feedback channel that allows you to see what the client prefers and offer similar options or use this data in marketing.

Step 2: Defining Functions for Cloning


Register / Login. To take full advantage of the platform, buyers, realtors, tenants and homeowners must register and provide their first names with surnames, as well as email addresses. In addition, the Trulia website can register through accounts on social networks Facebook, Instagram or Google. This speeds up the registration and login process, and also allows you to automatically pull up some data: photo, gender, age, location, etc.


A correctly made welcome screen increases the likelihood that the user will use your service. Source of the image

After registration, a user profile is created where you can specify the role (buyer, seller, realtor, agency, etc.), some personal data and needs. This will allow you to save your search history (activity), give more accurate recommendations and communicate with other platform users.

In addition, when creating a site like Trulia, you should also remember that many of the personal data that users leave on your site is confidential personal data. Therefore, be sure to ensure that your site complies with 10 OWASP standards and GDCP regulations.

Search engine and filters. We wrote above that it is important to have the largest possible database of affordable real estate with the broadest possible description of each property. The problem here is that the more data you have, the more difficult it is for the user to find in them what interests him. And given that in services such as Trulia, Zillow and Redfin, listings number more than 100 million houses, finding the right house can be an overwhelming task.


Basic filters for finding property on Trulia

To simplify the process of finding a house for the user, you must create a search engine that allows you to get the most relevant results quickly and with minimal effort. Trulia's search engine uses keyword queries and over 35 different filters to do this:

  1. Property location (state, city, street).

  2. Price range, for example, from 50 to 500 thousand dollars.

  3. Type of real estate (house, apartment, townhouse, condo, duplex).

  4. Year of construction, for example, "from 1980" or "not older than 10 years."

  5. Range of real estate area (common for individual rooms).

  6. Additional amenities (parking, laundry, pool, balcony).

  7. Type of facility (new construction, resale, FSBO).

  8. Other search filters.


Geolocation and maps. In addition to the standard location of the user by IP address or GPS, the Trulia website is integrated with many web services that allow you to get a lot of important statistics on maps - from the location of restaurants and schools to street lighting and the availability of conditions for walking pets. You can find all this in the Neighborhoods section.


How locals rate North Dorchester in Boston

Such information is very important for potential buyers and tenants, because thanks to them you can find out how comfortable it will be for them to live in a particular city or area. And this applies not only to crime, but also, for example, whether many locals see many children in their streets (it is important if you want your children to find friends in a new place) or whether people decorate their homes for the holidays - Christmas Halloween or Easter (it is important if you like to do this or if such things irritate you very much).

This is what Trulia provides users with:

  1. Location of schools with their ratings.

  2. Crime rate (5-point scale).

  3. The possibility of natural disasters in the city.

  4. The location of restaurants, cafes, nightclubs, grocery stores, art galleries, entertainment, fitness centers.

  5. Statistics of the local population (average age, marital status, higher education and the like).

  6. The opinion of local residents about the neighbors and the area.

  7. The boundaries of the streets, districts of the city.


Details of the apartment, house. We come to the part that is actually of the greatest importance for sites such as Trulia and Zillow, since users on such sites are looking for exactly this information. Poor design, low speed, complicated search and other UX / UI shortcomings will not be so noticeable if you have a large database of affordable real estate and an exhaustive description of each object. And the more you provide important information about the object of sale, the better.

Typically, the list of significant details includes the following:

  1. Address (city, district, street).

  2. Price or price range, whether bargaining is possible.

  3. Photos, videos, and virtual tours.

  4. Restrictions (a house in a mortgage, secured, etc.).

  5. Description of the property by the owner, realtor or agent.

  6. Year and type of construction, number of rooms and utility rooms.

  7. Other things (type of floors, parking, heating system, attic, basement, furniture and everything else that will be important for the buyer).


It will also be great if on the screen of a real estate card the site will offer similar objects in the same area (primarily in the same price range). Statistics show that it increases sales and improves the user experience. You can also offer buyers the function of automatic valuation of real estate and a mortgage calculator, as on the Trulia website.


Trulia Property Description Card

In addition to the description of the property itself, the card should include information about the seller, broker, realtor or agent (name with surname, contacts) and a call to action, for example, the "Write", "Call" button or another option that will allow the buyer to quickly contact the seller Here and now.

Notifications. Speaking about how to create a site like Trulia using a cloning script, one cannot fail to mention the importance of various messages that the site will automatically send to the seller or buyer through e-mail, SMS, messages in instant messengers and push notifications.

Here are a few typical cases where you can send notifications:

  1. When the price of the property they saved has fallen.

  2. When a new house appeared in the right area with similar characteristics.

  3. Price and demand analytics in the area where the property is bought or sold.

  4. When the buyer or seller sent a message to the user.

  5. Other alerts about important updates, events.


Step 3: choose the technical stack and API for integration


Now let's talk about what technical tools you will need when creating a Trulia clone site, with the help of which this listing automatically collects and shows visitors various data and maps, descriptions and reviews. This list includes the following things:

  1. Realm or CoreData — to manage saved property lists.

  2. Google Places API— provides information about schools, hospitals, cafeterias, shops, grocery stores, spas and other similar places near the houses you see in the listing.

  3. Spark, iHomeFinder, SimplyRets — to normalize data streams from MLS.

  4. Facebook SDK — for authorization through an account on Facebook.

  5. Zillow API — for Zillow listings and city, area information.

  6. GeoNames — data on more than 10 million geographical names.

  7. Amazon Simple Storage Service — for storing in the cloud more than 100 TB of data, more than 1 billion objects and 300 million images.

  8. Google Maps or MapBox— to integrate interactive maps into your website or application. Trulia and Zillow use the latest option.

  9. Spatial Neighborhoodor The Onboard Informatics Community — for demographic and other data on cities and areas.

  10. Apple Push Notifications Service or Firebase SDK — to integrate push notifications into your application.

  11. gov— over 8,000 US crime, demography, hospital, and school data sets.


Step 4: choose a monetization model for listing


Most likely, you want to create a site like Trulia in order to profit from it. To do this, you need to choose a monetization model and implement it in your platform. Here are 4 models that use real estate listings:

Professional advertisement. This model uses both Trulia and Zillow. Its essence is to add seller’s ads over the natural results in the listing or as a bright marker on the map. At the same time, they can advertise both their services and the real estate that they are currently selling.


What professional advertising might look like on a listing map. Source of the image

Simple advertisement. Alternatively, you can use Google Ads to integrate regular banner ads and ads that can be seen on any other site. In this case, you will earn on ad impressions and clicks. The benefit from this monetization model will be the greater, the more traffic on your site will be, that is, you will normally earn only if your site is quite popular.

Freemium model. This approach involves free access to the main features of your site and paid access to VIP services. Payment can be charged as a monthly subscription for all premium features at once or for a subscription to each feature separately. Here are some examples of VIP services:

  1. Access to the mortgage calculator.

  2. Access to more detailed information about the area.

  3. Disabling advertising, banners and promotional offers.

  4. Any other features and services that you consider reasonable.


When implementing this monetization model, remember that you cannot limit the free version of the site too much. This can scare away users and cause them to no longer use your service. Remember the rule: sell something to a third party, not the main target audience (customers). In the case of real estate listings, it is best to sell premium features to brokers and agents.
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