The real estate world is no different from other industries as far as its immersion into the wild west frontier of social media. These days you can find active online communities that tackle all aspects of home ownership and property value, from info on an ARM mortgage loan to more specialized knowledge about local neighborhoods. The following is a list of some of the more niche online destinations for real estate professionals:

ActiveRain—Social networking, real estate-style. Often described as the real estate world’s equivalent of Facebook, ActiveRain has been around since 2006 and offers both professionals and novices tools and options for better immersion into the industry. The site is complete with a treasure trove of real estate information, referral services and an onsite blog with a guaranteed signature and linkback that you can use to greatly enhance your SEO. Great for realty companies.

Trulia5 million home buyers, sellers, renters and real estate professionals gather on Trulia in order to list properties, discuss their relative merits and share information about different communities. In 2010, Trulia boasted receiving 11 million unique site visits a month.

Zillow—More of an online database than a network, Zillow uses their own proprietary algorthim, the “Zestimate”, in order to provide a service similar to Expedia, except tailored around property values. Essentially the site appraises homes (100 million of them) and provides a comprehensive online tool by which home buyers can track this information. Their most recent move was to purchase the real estate listing service Postlets.

RealTown—This InternetCrusade site was originally a social network for realtors that started in 1995. It was re-released in 2007 as a more comprehensive way to keep track of different neighborhoods and communities and get expert information.

Zolve—Tailored specifically to agents, Zolve is intended to empower brokers to list correct information and create referrals by which they can collect commissions. Agents, brokers, and inspectors stand to collect anywhere from 25% to 20%. Attempting to take over where ActiveRain left off, Zolve encourages its users to blog on their profiles in order to impart their knowledge.

FlippingPad—This is another social media site for real estate but is focused more on the ‘art’ and practice of flipping houses.

These six sites are not the only social media hubs focused around real estate, but they represent a diverse wealth of information sources and communities. Whether you’re a professional agent or broker or simply a prospective home buyer looking for crucial info, the networks above can keep you in the loop.

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