How to Build a Successful Real Estate Website: 5 Must-Have Elements
Planning on creating a real estate website? Learn about its most important features
In this post, we talk about the essential aspects of building a real estate website that converts. You will learn about the key reasons to spend money on a real estate website, the main development methods, and the features every site dealing with property should have.
Physical contact between a real estate agent and clients is still necessary in most cases. That said, the majority of people looking to sell, buy, rent, or lease houses or apartments begin their market research from a website that contains property listings.
Thus, If you own or are thinking of setting up a real estate agency, you can’t ignore this fact: a website is not just a nice-to-have asset. It’s a must.
Why Building a Real Estate Website Should Top Your List of Priorities
There are plenty of motivations to spend your hard-won dollars on creating a real estate website. Here are probably the most important of these:
It lends your real estate agency more credibility and respect among local home buyers and sellers, presenting you as a specialist in the field
You can create a page where local property owners and buyers can exchange information and opinions. You can also place testimonials and reviews on the home page and photos of any certificates or awards you hold. This should instill trust with your prospects.
It helps you spread the word about your company to a much wider audience
The traditional brick-and-mortar approach limits agencies in this respect. Ads in newspapers, magazines, and on TV can be less effective and more expensive these days than Internet marketing (per-per-click campaigns, vlogs and blogs, social media, affiliate links, and so on).
It allows you to achieve a higher conversion rate more easily
A good real estate website presents all the information about a property in an engaging way through high-quality photos, videos, VR and AR technologies, and other modern means. Most of the time, clients don’t even need to contact a real estate agent in person. If they do have a question, they can ask it through a live chat. This saves you time and effort while bringing you leads “on the plate.”
In addition to lending you credibility, bringing you leads with almost no effort, and advertising your agency to a larger number of prospective clients, a real estate website helps you stay ahead of other companies in your niche or, at least, keep on-level with them.
Now that you understand the importance of a website for your business, how can you go about building it? There are three main ways.
3 Most Common Approaches to Real Estate Website Development
Building a Real Estate Website Method #1: Custom Development — Break the Chains, Unleash Your Creativity
We’ll start with the most challenging and yet definitely the best way of creating a real estate website. It’s particularly suited for ambitious projects like this, projects that are intended to grow. We’re talking about the custom development approach. It suggests hiring a real estate website developer or collaborating with a development agency.
Over our long history, we have built a plethora of real estate websites from the ground up, so we are well versed in this craft. We’re not going to deny it, though: this is by far the most expensive method. That said, every cent you spend on the custom UI and UX design of your website and its functionality is well worth it.
Here is what you get when you decide to go the custom way and engage a professional real estate website development company:
- You are in full control of everything on your site, from the quality of images down to the number of search filters
- You will have a one-of-a-kind theme to help you stand out from the crowd
- You don’t depend on third-party software vendors. If you wish to remove an obsolete feature, add cutting-edge functionality, or change the layout and overall design of your real estate website, you can easily do it without having to look over your shoulder.
Building a Real Estate Website Method #2: The Golden Mean — Use WordPress
Another common approach to creating a real estate website is to use one of the content management systems. Among many options available on the market, we recommend WordPress. It’s easy to set up and administer. There are tons of themes you can purchase or obtain at zero cost, both official and made by independent providers.
The same holds true for plugins. With these, your property website can have almost any functionality you can dream of. Search? Image compression? Backup? Security? WordPress has got you covered. Not enough? Take advantage of the platform’s core REST API capabilities to consume any external services such as Google APIs.
Of course, this calls for a higher level of expertise. Should you require it, our WordPress development team is always ready to lend you a helping hand. We can consult you on everything WP-wise, starting from the UI and UX design of your real estate website and ending with database optimization and custom feature development.
Building a Real Estate Website Method #3: Use a Specialized Lego-Like Tool
Finally, if you’re not going to conquer the world and just need a website to advertise a single property, for instance, you can opt for a lego-like tool such as Squarespace. Unlike more sophisticated methods of building a real estate website we’ve described above, these tools only give websites bare-bones functionality and an I-look-like-everyone-else appearance.
You don’t have to be a tech genius to put together a real estate website with Squarespace and the like. All you have to do is drag and drop the desired elements to their preferred locations on pages. Then, just perform some manipulations to make the elements behave the way you want.
The shortcomings of these “one-cell” tools, though, make them a poor option for building large, feature-rich real estate websites:
- Adding new functionality and changing the design of websites created with these tools is tough and even impossible in most cases.
- Your website will resemble a chicken in a chicken coop packed with identically looking birds, even though you can tweak a theme to a certain extent to match your brand.
- You’re at the mercy of a tool’s limitations. If you need a specific business feature not on the vendor’s list, you won’t be able to add it.
Thus, we recommend choosing the custom approach if your real estate agency is truly serious about beating the competition. Whichever of the three methods you ultimately select, though, there are certain components that every site dealing with property should have. Let’s take a look at these next.
The Main Operations the Users of a Real Estate Website Should Be Able to Perform
#1: Looking for a Property in a Fast and Convenient Manner
What’s the point of creating a real estate website that offers no way of finding a specific property quickly? Instead, clients could simply buy a magazine with classified ads just like in the days of yore. No, the website of a real estate agency should have a clear search functionality with fine-tuning options, or filters, in other words.
There are staple parameters that home buyers, sellers, and other interested parties normally select when searching for a property. These include details such as floor space, price, location, and others. Apart from the essentials, though, clients may have other questions to ask.
For instance, they might be worried about industrial objects in the neighborhood. Then consider adding a corresponding filtering option as a checkbox. Some research on the main real estate pain points in your area might be useful.
Another convenient feature you can provide for your clients is the ability to save the search results they’ve found interesting. As this is an advanced option, consider giving only registered users access to it. This way, you can attract more leads.
#2: Getting High-Quality and Informative Property Descriptions
This point naturally follows the previous one. Once a home buyer, agent, or another real estate website user has clicked the search button, they expect to see properties from all possible angles. Just a text description is not enough.
People are visual creatures. To rephrase the famous saying, it’s better to see once than to read a hundred times. Property listings are unimaginable without high-resolution images.
Note, however, that visuals that weigh a lot can be a sinker to your website performance. Thus, make sure the images are optimized for use on the web. If you’ve chosen WordPress for building a real estate website, you can use one of the numerous plugins for this purpose.
These will compress your images without affecting their quality. Besides, your images should look great no matter the device your website renders on. Turn to our WordPress development experts for a consultation if you are struggling with picking the right solution or technology to compress and make your visuals mobile-friendly.
Apart from text descriptions and professional-looking imagery, you can add other features to your listings:
- Maps. These will help your users see where the property is located exactly, as well as assess the surrounding territory and amenities. How can you integrate maps into your listings? Use the Google Maps APIs. If you find this task challenging, consider hiring our real estate website developer to assist you.
- Videos. These are even more informative than images. They create a sense of being right at the place. If you can afford it, use copters to shoot videos that give users a bird’s eye view of a property.
- AV/VR Technology. Let home buyers feel as if they already owned the property. The younger generation finds this innovative feature particularly exciting.
#3: Finding Out the Valuation of a Property Immediately
No matter how enticing a property may look to home buyers, most would probably back away if they couldn’t afford it. On the other hand, when they see that the price suits them, you can expect a higher conversion rate.
That’s why integrating a tool to calculate the value of a property when building a real estate website is wise. There are lots of varieties of calculators around. One, for instance, enables users to figure out if buying a home is less or more expensive than renting it for a certain number of years.
#4: Knowing What Others Say About Your Real Estate Business
The real estate business is all about trust. What’s the best way to instill it with your prospects? Tell them what your clients say about your services. Thus, when you build a real estate website, provide a special section devoted to testimonials.
This can be, and usually is, dynamic rather than static, so that you can include as many reviews as you can. If possible, add a photo of the respective home buyer or seller who has left the feedback.
If you hold awards, certificates, or other documents that attest to your skills and experience, consider adding their logos or photos as well.
#5: Having Something to Act on
By “something to act on,” we mean a call-to-action button. After a research that your clients have made on your real estate website, they should be able to actually connect with you or an agent. Hence, place a CTA button not only in the header but also in each property description. This increases your chances of getting more leads.
Think of appropriate words to place on the button, such as “GET IN TOUCH,” “LET’S MAKE A DEAL,” or others. Choose a color that contrasts with the rest of the page or section. In addition, provide your contact info on every page next to a property description, not only in the footer and header.
Building a real estate website is a wise move for any agency. It serves as a powerful marketing outlet that generates new leads, converts them to clients, and lends trust and credibility to a real estate business.
You can employ do-it-yourself tools or a CMS to create a minimalistic real estate website. If you think big, though, and want to get real value from your site, go down the custom development path. You will have a unique-looking resource tailored to your precise business requirements, which you control from A to Z.
Every real estate website should allow home buyers and other participants of the “game” to search for a property in a fast and convenient way and get detailed listings accompanied by high-resolution images, quality videos, and maps. They should also be able to evaluate their preferred property immediately, learn what other clients think about the company, and easily contact an agent.
In other words, you should create a real estate website with your prospects in mind first and foremost. They should walk the entire way to a deal with no effort.
If you’re thinking of building a real estate website from square one or by using WordPress/another CMS, the seasoned PSD2HTML developers are always happy to offer you their unbeaten expertise. With a large number of successfully completed real estate website development projects, we guarantee the highest quality and smooth performance of your site.
Take your business to the next level with our assistance. Let’s discuss your ideas today!