Zillow vs. Trulia: An Overview

If you’ve ever done research online to rent, buy, or sell a home, or if you've just wanted to see how much your home may be worth, you’ve probably used Zillow (Z) or Trulia. Both sites are real estate databases that provide for-sale and rental listings to the general public and connect people with real estate agents, and they share some key characteristics.

Both sites present listings using photos, a detailed description, prices, and information about neighborhoods. Property information presented on each site is generally similar because they both draw on MLS listings. Visitors can use a specific set of criteria to search for homes on each site including price, number of bedrooms, type of structure, square footage, and lot size. Zillow goes one step further by adding in other criteria including views and other amenities.

While the two are fairly similar, there are several key differences that set the two sites apart. Zillow offers what it calls Zestimates, which are estimates of home values based on publicly available information.

Graphically, each site presents listings in a different way, which provides the user with a different experience. For example, when you search for listings in a city on Zillow, the search results are on the right side with a map of the area on the left. The experience is flipped on Trulia, where the search results are on the left with the map on the right. We'll look a little more at this below.

One important caveat that bears mentioning: while Zillow and Trulia were once separate entities, they are now part of the same company. The Zillow Group acquired Trulia in February 2015.

Zillow

Zillow was founded in 2006. Based in Seattle, the company was formed by two former Microsoft executives, Rich Barton, and Lloyd Frink. According to its website, Zillow is "the leading real estate and rental marketplace" for consumers, connecting them to the information and real estate professionals they need to buy, sell, or rent a home. More than 110 million properties are listed on the site, including those that are not currently on the market.

According to Statista, Zillow is the most popular real estate website, garnering 36 million unique visitors a month as of May 2018. The site is free to use for both owners, listing agents, and landlords. The majority of its revenue is derived from advertising, selling space on its suite of sites—Zillow, Trulia, Hotpads, among others—to property management companies, mortgage lenders, and other businesses.

Compared to Trulia, Zillow's user experience is much more graphical. On the left side, you'll see a map of all available properties in your search area that fit the criteria selected. Scrolling over each pulls up a small thumbnail with the price, along with the number of bedrooms and bathrooms.

Individual properties are located on the right-hand side of the screen, starting with the latest listings on the market.

Property information is easily accessible in different compartments:

  • Along the left-hand side, you can scroll through photos of the property, and click to enlarge any you find interesting.
  • Key information is pooled at the top right-hand corner of the result including price, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, square footage, and location.
  • Just underneath the key data, you'll find an overview of the property. This section includes the number of days on the site, how many views the property has had, and how many times other users have saved it. There is also a detailed description of the property provided by the realtor, features of the home, other homes on in the community, and community information.
  • A "Contact" button allows you to connect instantly to the realtor or person responsible for the listing by sending a message.

Another feature Zillow offers is its Zestimates. This is the site's estimated market value for an individual property. The website emphasizes that Zestimates are only a starting point to determine the value of a home and shouldn't be taken as an official appraisal. The Zestimate is calculated on a daily basis using a series of data gathered from public sources and from users. The site also provides a Zestimate forecast, which predicts what the price of the home will be after one year. This figure is based on current home and market information.

You can also stay updated on trends and research in the real estate and housing market through Zillow's research tab. This section is divided into different sections for the latest news, data, markets, buying and selling, renting, and policies involving the market.

The site, unlike Trulia, also offers listings in both the United States and Canada. In 2018, Zillow announced a partnership with a number of Canadian brokerages and real estate companies to list properties on the site. According to the site, properties are listed for a variety of Canadian cities including Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton, and Kelowna.

The Zillow Group acquired Trulia for $3.5 billion.

Trulia

Just like Zillow, Trulia offers real estate listings for prospective home buyers, sellers, and renters. The company was founded in 2005 but was acquired by the Zillow Group in 2015. The company, however, still has its headquarters in San Francisco. According to the company's website, its 34 neighborhood map overlays give consumers more insight into what it's like to live in a home and the neighborhood.

Statista reported that Trulia was the second most popular real estate website. As of May 2018, the website received about 23 million unique visits per month. Just like Zillow, Trulia makes most of its money from advertising.

Even though the company is owned by Zillow, it provides users with a different experience online. Search results yield a map on the right-hand side and listings on the left. Once you click on a particular listing, the key information—price, address, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, square footage—is listed on the top, along with an estimate of the monthly mortgage payment. Property photos and listing information including realtor contacts are listed below. This is followed by a detailed description of the property provided by the listing agent, features, and similar homes in the area.

Trulia also provides a visual breakdown of the monthly costs for the property including your mortgage payment, property taxes, home insurance, any association fees, and mortgage insurance. This gives prospective buyers an idea of whether they can afford a particular property.

One of Trulia's distinct features is its crime map data. The site pools crime data for neighborhoods from both local law enforcement and news reports, allowing users to determine safety in the community.

Key Takeaways

  • Zillow and Trulia are real estate databases that offer for-sale and rental listings and connect people with listing agents.
  • Zillow provides users with a highly graphic experience when searching for properties, while Trulia has a simpler website design.
  • Zillow offers Zestimates—estimated market value for an individual property—and lists properties in both the U.S. and Canada.
  • Trulia gives users a visual breakdown of the monthly costs for a property as well as crime map data.