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If you live in a cutthroat real estate market, Trulia’s newest mobile app feature could be a big help.

Starting today, Trulia’s iPhone and Android apps can now alert you of home listings near you that have been added within the past 24 hours.

In places like New York City and San Francisco, where there never seems to be enough housing in prime neighborhoods, having a leg up on listings could be critical. An early alert could mean the difference between getting an apartment or losing it to faster competitors.

You can turn on the feature in Trulia’s app settings, where you can also determine the frequency and radius of nearby alerts.

Trulia’s apps and website have always let you sort by the most recent listings, but it’s been a manual process so far. Now, you can find out about a perfect apartment when you’re hanging out in a new neighborhood without even thinking about it.

Lauren Hirashima, Trulia’s mobile product manager, tells me the company now sets up geofences (a virtual location wall for physical locations) for every new listing.

The new feature is doing more than just polling Trulia’s existing databases — it’s now ready and waiting for fresh listings.

Trulia recently launched a major update for its mobile apps, which focuses more on beautiful photos for listings. That new design has ultimately led to far more engagement from users, Trulia’s new chief marketing officer, Kira Wampler, told me in an interview.

After turning on nearby listing alerts on my iPhone, I received several interesting listings near my neighborhood in Brooklyn. My wife and I have been looking for a new place for some time now, so I suspect the feature will come in handy. So far, you can only set up alerts for rentals or sales, not both.

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