New Web Sites Make Real Estate Transactions Easier for Buyers, Sellers, Renters

Zillow, Trulia, Tumlis, San Francisco, Bay Area news,, RentalRoost, GrayRoost, Opendoor


By Robert Carlsen

A new generation of real estate-centric Web sites has come online recently—and one will do so soon—with the goal of bolstering multiple listing services with an array of lifestyle attributes and other features.

[contextly_sidebar id=”vrtgpmf6MC4pp5u2gjtymt7QwiUHuDLU”]These new sites aim to go beyond the established merits of real estate Web and mobile superstars Zillow and Trulia, founded in 2006 and 2005, respectively. While those sites offer users detailed information on home sales and rentals and connect them with local professionals, the new sites are exchanging information from all players, including broker and agent, buyer and seller, owner and tenant.

Tumlis, a San Francisco startup founded in 2013, calls itself a “data-driven real estate company offering the industry’s first data-drive real estate search engine.” According to co-founder and CEO Tom Horvath, Tumlis was created to strengthen the agent-client relationship. Its goal is to facilitate transactions between the parties and not outright selling. What they do is sell reports by tracking and “increasing the performance” of an agent’s listing, analyzing and recommending the best asking and selling prices and customizing area data, according to the Tumlis Web site.

The proprietary platform, launched in March, is “disruptive” technology, unlike anything on the market, Horvath said. The site creates direct dialogue between agents and clients “without any fees or interference,” he said, and shares a customized suite of innovative marketing, sales and deal management tools. The site’s “360-degree cloud solution” comprises a Web site and free mobile application, compatible with iOS and Android operating systems.

Tumlis initially focused its platform in the San Francisco Bay Area and has recently expanded into Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego.

Pushing the proprietary platform further, Tumlis launched its REALizer analytics model on July 8. According to a Tumlis spokesman, the new dashboard allows agents to help their clients “instantly gauge market demand and forecasts a listing’s contract price and expected days on the market based on numerous real-time input factors, including pricing, velocity and inventory conditions for specific property types in specific neighborhoods at any given time.”

“Agent response has been overwhelmingly positive since the launch of REALizer,” Horvath said. “We created the REALizer to empower agents, and we’ve been pleased to see that they appreciate and are leveraging the proprietary dashboard’s ability to accurately predict the direction of a neighborhood, a market or a property to drive informed real estate decision making.”

Another newly launched site, RentalRoost, is what founders Nitin Shingate, Vikram Raghavan and Harini Venkatesan call a “lifestyle-based house and apartment finder.” Clients can search for rental properties by school district and distances to college campuses using 20 data-driven search criteria options, and they are ranked according to the user’s preferences via proprietary algorithms and data from Facebook. Factors include how kid-friendly or pet-friendly a neighborhood is, proximity to entertainment and restaurants and ease of commute based on public transportation options.

In addition, the Pleasanton-based startup last year unveiled, a user-friendly Fair Credit Reporting Act-compliant background screening Web site created for property owners and landlords. Tenant screening service packages are pay as you go, ranging from $19.95 to $29.95, and include background, credit and rental history via a Social Security number trace; national criminal and sex offender search; national eviction search; and quick tenant credit scorecard.

“I think RentalRoost will be a useful tool for property owners,” said Matt Heafey, a real estate agent with The Grubb Co. in Piedmont. “It seems as if the days of using an agent to do a property rental are essentially over as the owners like to get the tenants directly, plus I don’t know of any good sourcing to really qualify these tenants and do a background check.”

The company’s other sister site, GrayRoost, provides “the same lifestyle search but for home purchasing. It’s currently in California only but will be expanding nationally soon,” according to RentalRoost spokeswoman Michelle Thorson.

And, earlier this month, it was disclosed that San Francisco-based startup Opendoor raised nearly $10 million from Khosla Ventures and 25 other investors and seed funds to start its home selling/buying Web site. According to co-founder Eric Wu, the site will launch in three markets outside the Bay Area and will include only owner-occupied homes. More details about the site and a timeline for a launch were not yet available at press time.

West Coast Commercial Real Estate News