Another Real Estate Engine: Roost

TechCrunch posts about Roost a new real estate site that bears a strong resemblance to Oodle. It now will enter the very competitive online real estate market for consumer and realtor attention. A potential difference between Roost and its competitors (e.g., Trulia, Zillow) is that it is working with the MLS databases to attempt to get complete for-sale coverage in the markets it serves, which are currently 13 major US metro areas. It also has FSBO listings.

Roost

Assuming the claims is accurate, comprehensive coverage could be a meaningful competitive differentiator, appealing to more sophisticated and Web savvy home buyers (if that becomes well-known). In addition, the ability to see property photos while on the site is a desirable feature. Roost also offers detailed, but now standard, sort, filter and save capabilities.

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I believe that consumers will appreciate the idea of going to a single site — or otherwise reducing the number of sites they visit — and having confidence that they’re seeing everything for sale on the market. However, establishing that sense of trust and confidence among consumers will be something of a challenge as a newcomer in an already extremely competitive vertical.

TechCrunch indicates the business model is selling clicks to realtors. The success of that will depend entirely on scale and consumer traffic — or help from third parties who might try and “aggregate traffic” for local realtors from a range of sites. (Indeed, there’s an interesting “vertical SEM” opportunity here.)

Roughly $12 billion is spent annually in the US on real estate marketing. Borrell says that about $2.9 billion of that spend is online today.

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14 Responses to “Another Real Estate Engine: Roost”

  1. nparekh00 Says:

    I think Roost is a refreshing change from the other emerging real estate portals out there. Why:

    1) Working with the MLS to provide all the listings (Zillow and Trulia aggregate listings from brokers).

    2) They are not being seduced by the allure of community and social networking. The site is clean, simple and very intuitive.

    3) Roost’s goal is to get consumers to the listings that they want to see as fast as possible.

    Assuming Roost can build up traffic and a significant real estate agent or broker click network, Roost will do very well.

    Niki

    http://www.modelry.com

  2. Greg Sterling Says:

    Yes, it’s a nice site. But it’s a crowded segment and there are others coming too. :)

  3. Jason Cook Says:

    **Note: In the interest of full-disclosure, I am an employee of RealEstate.com**

    Agree that Roost is a well-designed site, but to your point that “others are coming too” – theoretically, we (RealEstate.com) have been there since 2006.

    We now cover 14 markets in the US (including many of the markets listed by Roost) and offer full MLS listings in those areas. So yes, I would certainly agree that the trend is moving in this direction.

    Thanks,

    Jason

  4. Charlotte Mortgage Lender Says:

    This seems to be a great new site, but how many of these do we need? At the same time, the more exposure for the homes for sale, all the better for the clients.

  5. Greg Sterling Says:

    We don’t need so many. There are really only three or four (maybe five) major competitors that can compete in a segment.

  6. nparekh00 Says:

    Here’s a theoretical question for the audience: does a national real estate portal matter at all? Real estate is a highly local business and the MLS is syndicated out to all local real estate brokers and agent web sites (on the whole). In Seattle, the top real estate web sites continue to be Windermere and John L. Scott who compete with Roost, RealEstate.com, Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, HomePages.com, Homes.com, etc. The dynamic exists in San Fran and nearly every market.

    So what is the long-term differentiation? Feature functionality is becoming a commodity (search, aerial mapping, good UI, etc.) Is it the content and the community? Can anyone really drive true local community and content on a nationwide basis?

  7. Greg Sterling Says:

    It’s comprehensive coverage, usability and trust. Businesses built locally can probably better compete in local markets vs. national markets but those businesses can’t be run by entrepreneurs and VCs looking to cash out quickly. Because the logic of those businesses is rapid scaling.

  8. Property Site News from the US - new real estate site Roost, Move stock « A Fuller View Says:

    [...] a new serivce – ie, in a falling property market (at least falling in the US and the UK). Anyway, Roost has just launched in the US. There¬†has also been a significant move down for Move.com’s stock – this site would make a [...]

  9. UK-Based Real Estate Engine Launches « Screenwerk Says:

    [...] thought there were enough competitors in the real estate vertical, here comes some more. Last week a new real estate search engine, Roost, launched in selected US markets. Today UK-based DotHomes, which has been operating in the UK and [...]

  10. thinkPanama Says:

    To answer nparekh00 theoretical question(s) (in hopes to keep the conversation alive) real estate lends itself well to net marketing due to the fact you can look at all the pretty pictures, hopefully be able to interact with the site, perhaps share with family friends all this leads to site stickiness and return visitors. If your prospects return enough they will feel more confident and buy from your site rather than your competitor.

    Roost I think accomplishes this quite well however, on a national scale the model doesn’t work because real estate sales is more localized. Wouldn’t it be better to have perhaps the site broken down to states then demographically to ocean, mountain, city properties.

    Can anyone drive local community and content on a nationwide basis? Yes, I think you can and the answer lies in user content. Drop me a line and I can explain this further as it is not the place to discuss here in this conversation thread.

    Nice site Greg great topical content I shall return.

  11. Greg Sterling Says:

    Glad you like it.

  12. francesco Says:

    good morning I woul like to open a real estate web page
    can you provide my the software?
    regards francesco
    cossomak@gmail.com

  13. Roost Seeks to Rule Online Real Estate « Screenwerk Says:

    [...] near-comprehensive listings database made it one that would rise to the top over time. (I wrote about Roost when it [...]

  14. homes for sale in houston tx Says:

    homes for sale in houston tx…

    [...]Another Real Estate Engine: Roost « Screenwerk[...]…

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