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Joel Rivera
Joel Rivera
29,401 Points

How to design a national real estate website

I was wondering, how would you design a website similar to Trulia, Zillow and Realtor?

  1. Is it possible to join all the MLS across the nation?
  2. What would the cost of such a project cost?
  3. What coding languages would be used?
  4. What are the key elements that would need to be included?
  5. How would you market such a site?
  6. How large of a team would be needed?
  7. How large would such a site be?
  8. How would you maintain and update such a site?
  9. How to out SEO such large sites?
  10. Is it a worthwhile project?

Thanks for taking the time to discuss this.

7 Answers

Jason Seifer
Jason Seifer
Treehouse Guest Teacher

This is quite a hefty list! In all honesty, you're looking at an extremely costly site, easily in the neighborhood of $500,000 and up. You can code it in pretty much any language you'd like to use. I can't speak for the marketing angle but from the programming angle, joining every MLS is going to be quite difficult. Each MLS for every area in every city is separate and you would need to build custom import scripts for each one, to say nothing of getting access to it. Team size is relative to how quickly you want to get it done but you'll probably need at least a few developers, designers, marketers, and a sales team.

Almost everything you mentioned is up to personal preference. Cost depends on who you use, coding language again is preference, key elements and marketing would vary on what exactly you would be offering and what you want out of it. Team size can vary greatly, I'm sure there are people that could make it individually and teams that can as well, teams are probably faster than the individual. Maintaining is based on the code you choose, likely you would have some type of admin panel. What you want to manage is dependent on the content of the site. Whether or not it's worthwihile is completely an individuals opinion. It comes down to if you think your idea has something else that these current sites do not offer that you can present and be profitable from.

Joel Rivera
Joel Rivera
29,401 Points

Thanks, The problem I have heard is that the larger sites have inaccurate information because they use an algorithm that identifies properties and then doesn't remove them from the site after they have sold. That is why I thought joining multiple MLS.

I guess a follow up would be to create an IDX Company that would work with these MLS's. I wonder what it would take to start one of those.

Also another possibility would be to get agents to post properties online directly therefore bypassing the need for the MLS. Almost like a syndication service.

What are the Pro's and Con's of PHP vs Ruby on Rails? Or is there a better language to code such a large site?

Thanks again.

Both PHP and Rails are used on major sites so each really can do anything. PHP is in higher demand so it may be easier to find a team to code the site for you. I can't say too much about rails because I just started learning it but it seems pretty great so far and takes out a lot of the menial repetitive tasks you have to do in php.

For examples;

  • Facebook's backend is PHP
  • LInkedIn and Twitter backend is Rails

So it could be done with either. Price range and avalability of developers would be key to deciding which

Ben Jakuben
Ben Jakuben
Treehouse Teacher

This thread has kind of wandered around different topics, but since you asked about PHP v. Ruby on Rails, check out this detailed thread from our forum about that specific question: http://teamtreehouse.com/forum/forsake-php-and-go-with-python-ror-maybe

James Barnett
James Barnett
39,199 Points

Is it possible to join all the MLS across the nation?

To give you an idea of how many there are.

source: http://www.mlscloud.com/

Mark Flavin
Mark Flavin
10,199 Points

I am actually an MLS industry exectutive feel free to connect with me on Facebook and I will give you a lay of the land. As well as identify the key challenges in the model.