Reasons to invest in a real estate website
A couple of decades ago, homebuyers would look through paper property ads with a purpose to find a new home.
Next, they would get in touch with a real estate agent and rush to view a house or a flat. Finally, having spent loads of time, they would sign a contract.
Today, online property listings and real estate marketplaces allow us to make deals without ever leaving home.
If you’re a property dealer, broker, agent, or a real estate business owner, then it’s wise to build your own real estate website to keep up with competitors.
Or at least consider it 🙂
Your business success is rooted in the way it’s set up. Hence, if your real estate company is still in the ‘’brick-and-mortar category, then it’s high time for you to go online.
There are many numerous reasons for splurging on building a real estate website:
- attracting potential clients;
- staying ahead of competitors;
- getting more brand recognition;
- upgrading a business level;
- saving on marketing and promotion.
In this abstract, we’re going to shed light on creating a feature-rich and engaging site – the one that will take your real estate business to a new level.
Core features of a successful real estate site must have
National Association of Realtors from the USA reports that more than 90% of property buyers browse online real estate marketplaces to test the waters.
The mission of your online real estate directory, property listing or marketplace is to establish strong business relationships and generate credibility. When meeting clients in person, realtors instinctively behave in such a way to build trust.
If you’re going to attract customers online, your website should do this job for you. For estate business owners, it’s essential to have an online presence that looks perfect and functions flawlessly.
We have compiled a list of things that an excellent real estate website should have. However, first, we’d like to get you inspired and show a few examples of top real estate portals. Some of them serve as catalogues where you can search for a property, while others are of an agency kind.
Real estate directories
Real estate companies
So, a good real estate website requires some base features.
We’ve put this in the first place because a fast and easy search is critical for any real estate platform.
When clients go to your site, they want to find a property that matches particular requirements like the neighbourhood, home type, price range, the number of baths, square feet, etc.
You can satisfy their needs by adding extensive search filters, but don’t be overzealous with search criteria. Let users select only necessary options and bear in mind that clear and comprehensive filters facilitate the search and bring optimal user experience.
Search results should provide detailed info on a property and its neighbourhood. Make sure that you have detailed descriptions for all properties in your listings, the info about amenities, highways, entertainment, sport, and education facilities.
Also, it’s a good idea to add extra functionality for users to save favourite results so they can review them later and make a decision.
Professional images with high resolution are the key ingredient of a successful real estate site.
If you want to grab users’ attention and entice them to rent or buy, you should display your property options in all their glory. At this point, turn to a professional photographer.
The majority of home buyers search for options right on their gadgets, which means property pics should always look perfect on every device.
One more tip for you. Use tools for reducing the image size as massive media tends to slow down the website speed.
Augmented and Virtual reality technology will add a competitive advantage to your online presence and open unlimited opportunities for your clientele.
360-degree videos allow users to move to another world and get an immersive virtual experience. The only thing that is needed is a piece of VR headwear. You’ve got plenty of options on how to apply AR/VR technology in real estate :
- 3D promotional slideshows;
- live tours;
- property staging;
- exterior and interior modelling;
- virtual guidelines for tenants.
And this list goes on.
If you want to keep abreast with the innovations and stay ahead of your competitors, then you just got to benefit from AR/VR.
Make sure that your website looks perfect on any screen size and device. With more and more web traffic coming from smartphones, using the mobile-first approach in web design has become compulsory.
For the mobile web audience, it’s essential not only to enjoy the aesthetics but the performance of your online directory – the overall loading time, intuitive navigation, comprehensive sitemap, one-click call-to-actions, etc.
So, if you don’t want to make your potential clients go away, work hard on the design responsiveness.
If you’re going to establish something fundamental, e.g. create a real estate marketplace that will bring together property owners, agents, and investors, then you can’t go without built-in market analytics tools.
Provide investors with the data on property prices, demand and supply, social-demographic and economic conditions of the area. Landlords, home buyers, and tenants would like to know more about rentals and property sale prices.
Detailed and regular market reports increase user engagement and position you as a knowledgeable real estate expert.
This feature is especially vital for investors searching for lucrative property pitches to invest in.
To keep your clients informed, you can offer them to subscribe to your newsletter with the market statistics, overviews and dossiers.
The calculator allows you to inform the prospective buyers and sellers about the cost of a property. No advanced feature can beat a simple calculator regarding generating conversions.
Customers are likely to make informed decisions based on precise figures, which is particularly true for those buyers who are afraid of financial issues related to mortgage loans.
You can incorporate lots of calculator types:
- mortgage calculator,
- affordability calculator,
- refinance calculator,
- rent vs buy calculator.
See how they nailed it at Trulia. A neat calculator allows a customer to compare the net cost of buying vs renting.
Mortgage calculators help buyers by displaying the sum of a loan, an interest rate, monthly payments. Customers can compare the results by altering the terms of a loan.
The good idea is to put AI and ML technologies at the core of your calculating machine. For instance, smart technologies helped Zillow become a market leader in terms of the provision of credible and precise data with a low probability of error.
Trust areas or testimonials blocks are a perfect solution when it comes to converting random visitors into paying clients. By showcasing your customers’ reviews, you can inspire trust and force people to turn to your company in a quest for a new home.
Organise a slider section with clients’ feedback, add the photos of your recent projects to the gallery to prove your expertise.
Another tip from our team is to show off the appraisal of your job. Reach out to famous online or offline media and see if they can mention your company in their posts. Don’t be shy; the world must know about your achievements!
CTAs and contact forms
Your call to action buttons should be eye-catching and imply one-click actions.
Put your CTAs on a Reviews page or link it to a Contact us area so that users can quickly get in touch with you. If necessary, provide customers with short guidelines on how to reach you out.
Users tend to abandon complicated forms requiring a lot of information to fill in, so try to design simple contact forms with as few input fields as possible.
One more trick: integrate a live chat in your online listing, it’s an excellent tool for instant communication.
One of the goals of your future website is to educate people. You’re a real estate expert and have something valuable to share with the world. Create a blog page or recent news to publish posts regularly. Copies should be relevant, engaging, and worth paying attention.
If you lack writing skills, then it would be better to hire a professional copywriter or a real estate pro.
Your blog posts should be captivating – add media elements such as infographics, images, videos. Give useful tips on any topic related to property and real estate, provide analytical insights, and you will notice the increase in leads on your website.
And don’t forget about an email newsletter to notify your clientele about new tasteful reading.
If your real estate directory or website already has the features mentioned above, check whether it meets these real estate website requirements:
- smart navigation, interactive menu and smooth transitions between pages to enhance user experience;
- personal accounts to let clients save favourite search results;
- detailed About page to promote your personal or corporate brand;
- built-in live charts or virtual assistants to provide instant support;
- integrated Google maps to display the property location;
- lead-capture forms to build a client database;
- social sharing buttons to let clients share saved properties ;
- embedded videos to better convey your message.
101 on how to create a real estate website
1. Gathering info and planning
Now let’s talk about how to build a real estate website.
The pre-launch stage begins with market analysis and planning. You have to understand what services you’re going to offer – whether you will make a real estate marketplace or operate as an agency.
Next, decide on a property you’re going to deal with and identify your target audience. You may work with new constructions or resale homes, duplexes or vacation houses – the choice is unlimited.
Next, look around and identify your major competitors, carry out marketing research on their strengths and weaknesses. Finally, define your competitive advantage – a killing feature you’re going to conquer the real estate world with.
All this will be of much help when you start sketching the sitemap of your future real estate platform. The sitemap should be well-thought-out to be translated into simple and easy-to-use navigation. Put yourself in the shoes of your customers – they should find the necessary info on your website in a few clicks.
2. Creating a website
Finally, you can start creating a real estate website.
There are a few ways for you to do it.
Cheap and quick – website builder
There are a plethora of tools on the market, like Weebly, Wix, Squarespace, etc. The most significant benefit of site builders is that they allow even a complete novice to start a website in a matter of minutes and for little money.
The widespread usage of site builders decreases your chances to be unique, though. You will have to go an extra mile to change everything from header to footer on your site.
Plus, site makers are ideal for small projects with basic functionality. If you think bigger, then this option is not for you.
How much does it cost to build a site with a builder? It can be free if you start with basic features. The most popular option with Wix is $12.5 a month.
Cheap and flexible – WordPress theme
For those who are tech-savvy and aren’t afraid to work hard, there are myriads of free and premium WordPress themes.
Being a powerful CMS, WordPress is an indispensable tool for building a personal website regarding SEO needs.
To purchase a pro real estate theme, go to Themeforest. According to your business needs and budget, you can find a template at a price ranging from $19 to $139.
All you need to create your own real estate website is to personalise the layout of an item, integrate third-party plugins (optional) and find a hosting provider.
Voila, your real estate site is up and running!
Unique and custom – a website from scratch
The first two solutions don’t work for complicated projects.
If you aim to build your own many-to-many real estate directory allowing real estate brokers to sell and buy properties, then you have to do it from scratch. Needless to say, implementing a big project is almost impossible on your own.
It requires taking significant decisions in terms of platform architecture, databases, and substantial UX/UI design.
You will need a skilful team of specialists (designers and devs) and a project manager coordinating the development process.
The team will create mockups for site pages, make web design, decide on the most suitable stack of technologies and negotiate all these points with you. The cycle of iterations repeats until you are satisfied.
Remember that your team must have the proper expertise to fulfil your business dream. We at Justcoded will be happy to do this job for you, contact us for a quote.
3. Content writing
Not all of us are big fans of writing.
A good copy is not a bunch of words. It should communicate your message clearly and engagingly, so sometimes it’s better to splash out on a good copywriter.
When a user opens a website, they intuitively pay attention to the writing content. Make sure that your landing page speaks for you – your headlines and slogans should be persuasive.
Don’t overload your landing page with tons of texts. Put only valuable messages you want your customers to see. For the rest, create a blog.
One more tip: try to make copies before or during the web design process. The text volume can influence a designer’s decision.
Everything is ready for giving birth to your website. Coding is the most tedious part of creating a real estate website.
Develop a homepage first and add subpages afterwards. Follow the sitemap sketched in the first phase – any alterations may lead to inconsistencies in the web design. As your target industry is real estate, your site should contain dynamic pages with regular data updates (prices, rentals, bids).
Discuss the stack of technologies needed for creating dynamic sites with your development team. In this stage, your team will need to decide on a CMS (optional) and frameworks used for website development.
Consider the technical capacities of your server and the software requirements. You have to be sure that everything will work smoothly.
One more step within this phase is SEO. The bug-free code is crucial for higher rankings in search engines. Also, remember to add SEO-optimized headlines, page descriptions, tags and meta-tags, keywords to provide the appearance of your site in the top positions.
Time for routine – checks and re-checks.
Check every script and a tiny piece of code for possible errors. For this purpose, you can utilise code validators. Test every design element – whether it matches the one on a mockup.
Check links and forms. Make sure that all the links lead to the right pages and contact forms work properly. Verify the translation and typos. At this point, the right idea is to hire a professional editor who will proofread your copy. Remember that your website should look perfect across all the existing devices and operate flawlessly in any browser.
Prepare for the launch well in advance.
Choose a hosting provider that fits your business needs. You can start with a free plan and then upgrade to a premium package. Following your hosting registrar guidelines, upload your website to hosting and rerun a test.
Create fascinating content for an email and send it to the clients from your mailing list. To boost your online business, invest in a savvy marketing man who will make up a successful promotional campaign.
Now it’s time to inform your clients that your website is open for visitors!
How much does a real estate website cost?
We’d very much like to put a pricing table out there if it were possible.
Many factors matter: single property or multi-property website, number of unique pages, the complexity of the back-office management, animations, and so on.
An average price for a real estate website with a single property listing like The Maple Building starts from $10,000. In reality, it can be less as well as more.
The best way to find out is to send us a quote request – our estimations are always free of charge 🙂
To find out what we’re capable of, see some of our real estate website development projects.
We’ve developed an online presence for The Maple Building hotel located in the centre of Kentish Town.
The outcome of our fruitful collaboration with the client is a responsive multi-page website with lots of features such as:
- user-friendly navigation;
- clean typography;
- gallery with a masonry grid and horizontal sliders;
- professional photography;
- smooth page transitions;
- light animation;
- custom illustrations.
When a visitor drops by the Maple Building website for the first time, they immediately feel the exclusiveness and elegance of the hotel as the website design mimics it.
The rich photos of apartments and penthouses display the tiniest details of the interior design encouraging guests to book them.
By demonstrating media references on the Press page, the Maple building positions itself as a reliable hotel service provider and inspires trust.
The tech stack for the Maple Building project consists of WordPress, HTML and CSS.
Together with our partner Brave New World, we designed a website for a shared workspace real estate company that creates co-working spaces in the UK.
Our task was to develop, migrate, and implement a new WordPress site for The Office Group.
Also, we helped the client extend the CMS multiple language capability and launch a regional landing page.
Key features of the Office group website include:
- built-in search function;
- sticky navbar;
- drop-down menu;
- pop-up feedback form;
- galleries with custom sliders,
- sticky scroll and lazy load;
- testimonials section;
- embedded videos;
- mobile-friendly design;
- the Blog page;
- social buttons.
The greatest challenge we successfully overcame was a tight deadline. But thanks to the Agile approach we use, the T&M and dedicated team model, we were able to deliver the results on time.
The cost to build a real estate website similar to The Office Group project starts from $50,000 as it has multiple unique templates, content types and relations between them. Cost to build a simple real estate website begins from $23,000 and includes everything from design to implementation.
Discover a full review of our client from The Office Group on Clutch.
We hope that this long read hasn’t discouraged you, as at first glance, creating a real estate website may seem to be a tough task.
Let’s see what not to miss when you get to it:
1. Implement a live search with the most used filters, something like you saw on Airbnb.
2. Make sure the imagery is professional and bright and think about incorporating cool VR or AR tricks.
3. Optimise your real estate website for mobile devices.
4. Feature some information to build trust: testimonials, reviews, awards, media publications.
5. Use CTAs pushing the user to do the necessary action.
Whether it’s a global marketplace or a simple website for your local real estate business, invest enough time and money to succeed.
Treat it not as a challenge, but rather as an opportunity to get new experience instead. You’re going to be great!
If you don’t know how to make a real estate website on your own, drop us a line – we’ll be happy to give you tips and share our experience.