New real estate search site Roost launches

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With the goal of helping people find the right “nest,” Roost, a new real estate search site, has launched in public beta.

The San Francisco-based company, founded in May 2007, works closely with multiple listings services and local real estate brokers in each region it covers to provide listings of homes for sale. 

Unlike other home buying Web sites, Roost is purely a search engine, said Alex Chang, CEO of Roost. The site operates in a similar way to travel site Kayak.com. Greg Slyngstad, director of Kayak.com, is also a Roost board member.

After selecting a coverage area, users can sort listings by price, neighborhood, school district and number of bedrooms, among other criteria. When a listing is selected, searchers are then directed to the local real estate broker's Web site.

 “From a broker or realtor perspective, this is a targeted search marketing platform that drives qualified visitors to their sites,” Chang said. And from a consumer perspective, it provides access to fresh and accurate property listings from a network of individual broker and real estate Web sites as soon as they are available.

With the current state of the housing market, realtors and builders have to be very smart about how they use their marketing dollars, Chang said. “They really have to watch their ROI in tough markets.”

Roost's 14 coverage areas currently include Atlanta; Baltimore; Boise, ID; Boston; Chicago; Dallas; Houston; Minneapolis, MN; Orange County, CA; Philadelphia; Portland, OR; Sacramento/Modesto, CA; San Diego and Washington. Within the next year, the company plans to grow from these to 25 or so major metropolitan markets, Chang said.

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