The Best in Tech for Real Estate

by Natalie Terchek


“Here’s the deal: Realtor.com, Trulia and Zillow are in a horse race,” Haran says. “Some brokerages offer featured branding on all three. But regardless of whether you are at a bigger company doing the claiming, posting and branding for you, or you are with a smaller brokerage/self-sponsored operation and you have to choose what to purchase, minimally pick one and go all in.”

That’s good advice, considering how close the three websites seem to be when it comes to pricing, packages and results.

Tie Between Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com


All of the programs offered track clicks and impressions, and traffic can be driven to wherever the agent chooses. The Realtor.com app includes a feature that allows you to send an invite to your clients and essentially become “the” agent for their app, which means your contact information will show up at every listing, and you can easily chat back and forth with them.

Traffic varies from market to market, depending on the traffic Realtor.com receives. Some of the programs are also expensive, charging $313 or more for a certain number of listings to market within a program.

Price: Varies depending on program and ZIP code.

Where to buy: www.realtor.com/mediasolutions


Like Zillow, leads are funneled directly to the agent and traffic is driven to listings, a lead form or the agent’s website, depending on what program the agent chooses. Prices vary depending on program and ZIP code; three different programs and variations of each program are available to fit different budgets. Agents can feature up to 10, 25 or 50 listings, depending on which program they choose. Trulia also offers apps that help agents increase their exposure, such as listing alerts to let agents know when consumers are looking at their listing. “Trulia has great interactive apps,” Haran says. “Not only do you market your listing there, but you ‘check in’ to opens and showings, which raises your score, and therefore, your exposure.”

Trulia tracks phone leads, but does not track listing traffic or leads.

Price: Varies depending on program and ZIP code.

Where to buy: www.trulia.com/agents


Zillow is widely used by consumers to find homes. Various programs are available for purchase that all include a number of listings and the ability to send leads directly to the agent. Traffic is driven to the agent profile and contact form on Zillow, and prices start as low as $10 per month.

Zillow only partially tracks impressions (and only if you buy Premier Agent Basic or Platinum – Silver doesn’t track at all), and clicks are only tracked for links to external websites, depending on the program. In addition, prices vary by ZIP code and can cost as much as $128 per month, if not more.

Price: Varies depending on program and ZIP code.

Where to buy: www.zillow.com/advertising

Runner Up: Your Blog and ThingLink

Your Blog

Jack Miller of GoodLife Team uses a blog to market his listings. Keeping your listings in one specific place makes it easy and convenient for consumers to browse through them. And when you connect it to your website the way the GoodLife Team does, it immediately directs consumers there. Blogs are also an opportunity to get creative and reach out to your consumers, which can be accomplished by writing information about neighborhoods, or giving tips for first-time homebuyers. These are things that can’t always be found on your website or an MLS.

A blog should not be the only place to market listings, because it’s not traditionally the first place consumers are going to check. Be sure to use other syndication sites and MLSs, in addition to your blog, to make sure your listing gets enough online exposure.

Price: Varies. You can get a free blog through Tumblr, Blogger or WordPress, but there are also more professional-looking blog platforms that cost money. It depends on how much you and your company are willing to spend.


Nobu Hata, director of digital engagement for the National Association of Realtors, says it’s been a while since he’s been impressed with an app, but he is a big fan of ThingLink. This app will allow you to take a picture of your listing and layer a video tour, equipped with music, text, images and more. You can easily share your images through email, blogs and various forms of social media. Hata says this is perfect for interactive home previews or to show off an open house.

Reviews say that embedding links can be a bit challenging, and it would be nice to have more icons to choose from.

Price: Free

Where to Buy: http://www.thinglink.com/action/register


Think social media can’t generate leads and help you network? Think again – but only if you’re using the social media platforms that garner agents the best results.

Winner: LinkedIn

LinkedIn, a social networking site for people in professional occupations, is very well liked by our panel. Unlike other forms of social media, LinkedIn profiles are encouraged to viewed by the public, so your profile and online resume are easily searchable on Google. You can join networking groups and follow different companies and professionals to get the latest news/trends of your industry. The social media network also has a place where your can give and receive professional recommendations. Dollinger says this is an excellent way to represent yourself. “The best part of it is you control your brand here instead of worrying about college photos popping up.”

In order to use LinkedIn successfully, it requires a lot of time and effort. It opens the door newly updated job postings in order to find something. It is well worth the effort, but you have to be willing to put the time aside for it.

Price: There is a free version, but LinkedIn Premium has a fee that varies, depending on the services.

Where to Buy: www.linkedin.com

Runners Up: Facebook

Facebook is no longer used solely for social purposes. You can use Facebook advertising to target specific demographics, such as age, gender, location, relationship status and education. Creating a Facebook business page is a good way to reach consumers and keep them posted on the latest news about your company and your industry. You can also link your Facebook page to your website to improve your Search Engine Optimization.

Like LinkedIn, Facebook takes a lot of time and effort to maintain. Not only should you constantly be updating “fresh” information to keep people interested, but also you should also constantly be responding to people if they have questions or concerns.

Price: A Facebook profile is free, and the advertisements are priced per click (but you will never be charged more than your daily or lifetime budget).

Where to Buy: www.facebook.com


It should go without saying that photography is hugely important when it comes to your sellers’ listings. Agents can now take and edit high-quality photos of anything they need with a variety of camera apps; below were our panel’s top two.

Winner: Camera+

Camera+ is an alternative to the standard iPhone camera, offering a lot more capabilities. It allows you to control the exposure and focus the way you want, instead of the way the camera chooses, helps line up your shots to prevent crooked pictures, has a 5x digital zoom and gives you several border designs to choose from. It also allows you to edit your photos once they have been taken.

At the moment, Camera+ only takes still photographs, not videos, so you would have to make a switch back to the standard phone camera. Also, Camera+ is only available for iOS technology.

Price: $1.99

Where to buy: Available at iTunes.

Runner Up: Instagram 


Not only is Instagram easy to share instantly through various forms of social media (such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare and Flickr), but it also features filters that enhance the clarity of your photos, or add an artistic touch. Like Twitter, you can use hashtags in your captions to categorize your photos, and attract individuals who are interested in the same topics as you (this is also a good way to gain new followers).

Instagram is really more of a mobile app, so it is difficult to use on a desktop computer. Any photos you take with a traditional digital camera must be saved into your phone if you’d like to edit them. Also, photos taken by the app are saved in 612×612 pixels, so we recommend taking a picture with your phone’s standard camera app first, and then uploading and editing it to Instagram afterwards.

Price: Free

Where to buy: Available at iTunes and Google Play

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