Although I never went to Stanford Grad School, you’ll probably be just as smart by visiting the major upgrade to Trulia, which is being launched this Monday, September 25th. (Ok, I went to high school with someone who went to Stanford and its quite clear I will never be that smart.) Seemingly everyone involved in Trulia went to Stanford, so perhaps thats why their logo still says its in beta – they are studying for finals?

I got a demo of the new version yesterday in my office by CEO Pete Flint and VP Sean Black and I was impressed. Since I was first approached by Trulia last year before their New York launch, I have provided aggregate market data for them since then because I was intrigued by their product. I still am. There are a lot of listing mashups out there, but maps are last year’s news – everyone has them now.

Their new idea is to integrate public record, listing and enhanced mapping features to help drive traffic to the broker listings. It doesn’t cost the brokers anything and with weakening market conditions, demand for free products like this will likely increase.

One of the other more visible real estate sites out there is Zillow, who just released “Z2″ which is a completely different product than Trulia.

Zillow is a pricing tool to give the user the estimate for a specific property using public record sources. Zillow added a new feature this week which allows property owners to modify public record features of a property since its hit or miss whether public record will capture accurate amenity features. My house is missing 2-bedrooms and about 1,200 square feet (I know I put them somewhere), but the value of my house seems ok for some reason. I still have high hopes for Zillow but not untill they get more consistent coverage to be relied on. When thats perfected, I think that the Zestimates will take you to the general realm of market value but will need to be fine tuned by a real, hopefully live, person.

My nephew in Ohio relied on Zillow heavily recently in understanding pricing in their area and used it for a reality check when they negotiated a home purchase. However, my in-laws’ house in Michigan is a tract housing subdivision and is valued at less than 20% of what houses we know recently sold in the past year.

Zillow seems to be saying now that they are a starting point for pricing, not the replacement for a professional to interpret the results.

Trulia is a listing aggregator that combines broker listings, with mapping technology and public record infomation and sales in the area to allow the reader to narrow down their choices and get comfortable with what values are and what is available for sale. In other words, the reader is put to work to understand the market and therefore owns the result. A really interesting feature of the new upgrade is the data that shows the amount of reader traffic that visits a specific neighborhood in order to gauge the amount of consumer interest in it. In other words, what is “hot.”

These are new features provided by their press release:

  • Trulia.com Interactive Heatmaps dynamically search your city to see which neighborhoods and zip codes are hot and which not!  Consumers can search user behavior trends, median sales prices, average listing prices and more for every major city and every neighborhood across the country.

  • Trulia.com Comparison Tool searches data on over 60 million homes so you don’t have to.  It works like this: you find a home you like, Trulia.com finds comparable ‘for sale’ and ‘recently sold’ homes to help you understand how your house stacks up, you make better real estate decisions.

  • Trulia Neightborhood Spotlight helps you answer:  is this neighborhood popular?  How do average prices in this neighborhood compare to the city?  What about the quality of schools and crime rates?  Which homes have the most bathrooms!?  All that information is here.

Here are some interesting mapping features:

Web Traffic Heatmap

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List Price Heatmap

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Sales Price Heatmap

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