New UK-Based Real Estate Search Engine DotHomes Launches In US

Just when you 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 South Africa, makes its US debut. DotHomes seeks to become “the Google of property search” and is crawling for listings. By contrast, Yahoo Real Estate, Roost, Trulia, and Zillow, as well as others, get feeds from brokers and MLS services.

I spoke last week with DotHomes founder Douglas de Jager and had a chance to use the site over the weekend, however I haven’t done any systematic comparison of how it stacks up against competitors. I can say that some quick comparisons showed that it had fewer listings in some cases than Trulia. However, the site is very straightforward and easy to use and the data will improve over time.

Assuming the data get stronger, the approach DotHomes is taking allows consumers to perform very specific “unstructured” lookups, as well as browse for listings. For example:

Condo Seattle under 300,000“:

Seattle condo

Oakland, CA Thornhill Elementary School“:

Thornhill elementary

Again, the data in my preliminary investigation were incomplete but the interface is attractive and the site is very simple and usable. But comprehensiveness is key to success in this vertical.

Real estate search is very much like travel in that there’s no single site that so far can be trusted to be comprehensive or contain all the desired information. Accordingly, would-be home buyers must use multiple sites. However, the segment is becoming increasingly competitive and there isn’t room for 10 or 12 successful sites.

That’s especially true in a slumping US real estate market, because while traffic is up to real estate sites, advertising is down.

Related Topics: Channel: Consumer | Search Engines: Real Estate


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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