A real estate website isn’t like any other business website. It has needs specific to the industry, with property listings that are changing constantly and the need to develop a personal relationship with clients quickly. With more than 25 real estate and development websites under my belt, I’ve learned a thing or two about what makes a real estate website profitable and easy to work with for clients. Whether you’re an agent, a group or a developer, these are the features I’ve found to be most beneficial on real estate websites.
They Integrate With A Multiple Listing Service (MLS)
If you’ve been working in the real estate industry for long, you’re probably quite familiar with your local MLS (Multiple Listing Service). It’s a data feed of property listings in a particular area, generally managed by a real estate association. It’s the easiest way to gather and present information about properties to prospective buyers, especially as most real estate transactions now start with an internet search of some sort.
Most successful real estate websites utilize this tool because it takes the labor out of manually entering properties and all of their information. An MLS feed constantly updates as seller’s agents change the status, price and other information regarding properties. By using an MLS, these updates are automated and you don’t have to do anything manually. And with a custom MLS on your website, you can set listings to update as frequently as you want – whether that’s every day or every 15 minutes. You can also customize it, making it exactly how you want it to look and work.
They Allow Users to Filter and Search Properties Easily
Usability is key to a successful real estate website. Buyers should be able to find exactly what they’re looking for as soon as they land on your website. On the websites we create, this means having a search function right on the home page that allows users to filter for location, price and property type, or enter into an advanced search that includes filters like number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and stories or square footage and other attributes. Make it easy for buyers to weed out the properties they don’t want. You’ll save them time, and they’ll appreciate the thought you put into the process.
They Make Contacting You Easy
Don’t lose clients as they search your website for a way to make the next move. Be there for them as soon as they can to contact you about a property they want to buy or sell. The best solution? Add a scrolling header or footer to your website that includes direct contact info, a brief contact form, or a link to your contact page. This feature should exist on every page throughout your website so that you never miss an opportunity to hear from a potential client.
A note on contact forms: don’t make them too cumbersome. Include a few basic required fields like name, email, phone number and a preferred way to be contacted. If you like, you can include a couple other fields that will be helpful to you, but keep them optional to avoid turning contacts away due to a time crunch on their part.
They Invest iN Videos and Photography
This one should be a given – it’s hard to sell today without attractive photography and videos that highlight the advantages of your properties. The internet is where people start their search for properties or agents to sell with, and your images and videos are likely what they’ll notice first. The quality of your imagery speaks volumes of the way you do business, lending you trust and credibility from the outset.
To stay competitive, this means hiring a professional photographer at the very least and hiring drone photographers or virtual tour developers at the most.
They Use Blogs to Draw in Traffic From Search Engines
Blogs offer a steady (and free) stream of traffic to your website – when you do them right. The key is understanding what your audience is looking for on the internet and crafting blogs that answer those searches. Effective blogs will boost your SEO and build trust with your audience by providing free, helpful content.
Not sure what to write about? Think about what people moving to your area might want to know. Same with those looking to sell in your area. Some ideas might include:
- How Much is the Average Home Price in (Your Location)?
- The Hottest Neighborhoods in (Your Location)
- What Does the Market Look Like for Sellers in (Your Location) Right Now?
- Why Are People Moving to (Your Location)?
Do some research on your audience, and find topics that will speak directly to them.
My clients are consistently thrilled with their custom websites because they stand out amongst the competition, they offer ultimate flexibility in design and function, and, without a rigid template, clients can update their website easily, adding or removing features as needed. A custom website is just that - customized. A web design professional with experience in real estate will be able to analyze your business to structure a website that makes sense for your industry.
A custom website can be intimidating from an initial price standpoint. However, it's a long-term investment that will have a huge payoff.
Want to learn more about how you can make your real estate website work better for you? Let’s talk.
If you found this blog helpful, check out these other related topics:
- The Importance of Good Website Design
- 6 Web Design Trends for 2021
- Integrating the MLS Into Your Real Estate Website