How Much for This Old House?

Until a few years ago, Chuck Teller knew nothing about professional baseball. But in 2004 he joined a fantasy league, and today he knows every National League player. One evening, while he and a friend were obsessing over potential trades, they had a revelation: wouldn't it be great, they mused, if there was a fantasy game that allowed real-estate fanatics to find a similar fix—and in the process, educate themselves about the market?

The result of that idea is Realius, a San Francisco Bay Area start-up that this week will start rolling out a series of online real-estate fantasy games. In Price Me Now, users can guess the asking prices of homes for sale, then see their accuracy ranking. Major League Investor lets them assemble property portfolios to make imaginary profits. And Fantasy Flip urges housing addicts to upload photos of their own homes and solicit guesses of how much an improvement will increase their value.

With home prices slumping nationally, it seems an odd time to roll out a real-estate game. But Teller has already lined up brokers eager to boost Web traffic and snag clients. "America is obsessed with real estate," he says, pointing to HGTV addicts. If he's right, online goof-offs may soon find a new home.