Home Articles Research How to Have A Great Real Estate Website in 2020

How to Have A Great Real Estate Website in 2020

In this guide, I’m going to tell you everything you need to have on your real estate website to make it a success in 2020.

Before we get into the guide, here are five reasons you need a website for your real estate business. If you already know the power of a business website, skip to the next part.

5 reasons you need a website for your real estate business

1. Your customers are online

93% of people visit the web to start their home buying search according to the 2019 report from the National Association of Realtors®. The same report revealed that the Internet is where 50% of people found the home they purchased.

2. A website makes your job easier

Your website can generate leads, reduce your workload by automating certain tasks, and help visitors make informed buying decisions while you’re sleeping. Your website is your 24/7/365 digital secretary and salesperson.

3. Build your credibility

If you don’t have a website in 2020, you seem less credible than other agents that do. A business with no personal web presence is viewed as unprofessional.

4. Add value and build trust

You can build trust and add value by educating your clients on the buying and selling process, and providing detailed property listings.

5. Maintain your brand

You could work under a trusted brand (where some agents start), but what if you branch off? If you didn’t start with your own website, you’ll have to build from scratch. With your own site from the start, you’ll have an established space of your own, and when the transition happens, you’ll be set.


How to build an effective real estate website

The answer starts with a quote from Bill Gates in 1996 when he said, “Content is King.” His statement is still correct today. An effective real estate website has the right message and the right content; this is what is important to visitors. Of course, this doesn’t exclude fast download speeds and good web design.

What should your real estate website say?

After reading the 2019 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report by the National Association of Realtors® (download it here). The report gave some insight into the minds of buyers and sellers. Here are four tips gathered from the data:

Tip 1: Present yourself professionally

The important factors in choosing an agent described by homebuyers were the following: 

  • trustworthiness
  • experience
  • a good reputation
  • responsiveness
  • good communication skills
  • good knowledge of the neighborhood and market

This means your website should include some of the following: 

  • license(s)
  • years of experience
  • Contact info
  • photographs of your team 
  • Your memberships
  • trust factors like reviews, ratings, and testimonials
  • your knowledge of the neighborhood and market
  • social proof like social media follower count, subscribers count and more
  • your website should be easy to read and use

Tip 2: Make sure your real estate website includes these features…

The report listed the following website features most valued by buyers and sellers:

  • high-quality photos
  • detailed information about the property including floor plans 
  • video or virtual tours
  • agent contact information
  • a mobile-friendly website (most people used their smartphones when searching online)

Tip 3: Easy to find open-house dates and agent contact information

The report said that after visitors found a property that interested them, they contacted the agent and scheduled a walk-through of the home. This means that open-house dates should be prominently displayed on the property’s page, and if this isn’t possible, it should be easy for the visitor to contact the agent to schedule a viewing.

Tip 4: Post helpful articles

In the report, what buyers wanted most from their agent was help with the following:

  • finding the right home
  • negotiating the terms of sale and price
  • understanding the purchasing process
  • determining how much they could afford
  • information about financing

This means your real estate website should have content that helps your buyer in the above areas. You should include articles that address these subjects. You can also include a mortgage calculator to help buyers determine what they can afford.

You don’t have to write this information yourself—you can hire a copywriter—but this information should be there to add value and increase your credibility.

Some suggested web pages

Now that you know what’s important to have on your real estate website, let’s create a map of your site’s pages. This is where we get the term “site map” from. I suggest you have these key web pages on your real estate website.

Home page

The home page serves as your first online impression and an overview of the most important content on your site. Make sure most of the following content is found on this page. Be brief though, you can go into depth on other pages. 

  • Answer what type of agent you are and what services you provide.
  • Mention your license, years of experience, and knowledge of the areas you serve.
  • Your humanity is key. Show pictures of yourself, your office, and your team.
  • Your message should be focused on your readers. Use “you(r)” more than “I”, “us,” and “we.”
  • Display no more than three of your featured properties for sale or rent.
  • If allowing visitors to submit a listing is a goal, add a link to a form for them to do this.
  • Include trust and social proof factors (as mentioned above).

Property Pages

  • Each property listing should have large photos of the interior and exterior of the home
  • List the amount of beds and baths, price, location, square footage, features, amenities and other details
  • Include video and virtual tours 
  • Agent contact info is a must 
  • Open house dates (if applicable)

FAQs Page

List most of the common questions you’re asked and provide some brief answers on this page.

Informative Articles 

As mentioned above, post content on the following suggested subjects (you can use your blog for this):

  • How to find the right home
  • How the purchasing process works
  • Financing options
  • Where to find financing

About Page

Go in depth about yourself, background, licenses, affiliations, personality, and goals. Your team members can have similar pages or be included on the same page.

Services page

List all your services and the benefits of each. You can expand this information into sub-pages if necessary.

Contact page

Add all your contact information here: names and titles, emails, phone numbers, office address, map to office, office hours, social media links, and contact forms.

Additional key features your website must have:

Clean modern design

People judge by appearances first, so you need to look professional and modern. Modern design includes images that fill the screen, good color contrast, icons to support your message, and good typography.

Fast loading 

The short attention span of many users coupled with millions of other websites to choose from means most people won’t stick around if your website doesn’t show them something within 3 seconds. Make sure visitors see immediate progress upon entering your website like a logo, rendering images, and text. 

Mobile friendly

Visitors use their smartphones the most when searching the web. In 2020, a mobile friendly website is a must have. A visitor should not have to pinch, zoom, and drag to read your website. Its contents should fit neatly into any mobile device they’re using; this is better known as “responsive design.”

Security Trust Icon

Your website address should start with https meaning that any transactions between the website and the user is secure. You need this regardless if you’re selling products online. If you don’t have that security stamp, it lowers your credibility; and some browsers will say your website isn’t trustworthy.

Easy to navigate

Links to other pages should be neatly arranged and use simple labels which will make it easy for visitors to find what they’re looking for.


How do you get all this?

Now that you know what content to have on your website, and what each page should say, how do you build a website that includes all this? You have four options. I’ll explain the pros and cons of each with pricing at the end. Here’s an overview:

  1. Do-it-yourself
  2. Hire a web designer
  3. Buy a website theme
  4. Tailor a website theme

Option 1. Do it yourself

Popular do-it-yourself (DIY) web design platforms like Wix and Squarespace give you the tools to create your own website without writing any code. These are some of the cheapest solutions that’ll get you a website fast.

Pros: 

  • Professional site templates
  • You can do-it-yourself
  • Cheap monthly service charge. From free (with ads) to $20+/month
  • Hosting and address (domain name) included * 

*Hosting and a domain name is necessary to power your website. Usually you buy these separately.

Cons:

  • It can be time consuming editing the templates and designing your own website
  • If you’re not a designer, your website may not look the best
  • The DIY service may limit what you can do to your website
  • Upon leaving the service, you could lose your domain name and website files leaving you to start from scratch

Option 2. Hire a web designer

Hiring a web agency or web designer is a great option to get exactly what you want for your budget. Your site will be custom made to fit your brand and do everything you want it to do.

Pros:

  • Save time by having someone else design your site and provide a host of other services
  • Professional and custom design
  • Freedom to do whatever you want to your website
  • Freedom to manage the content yourself

Cons:

  • Could be expensive: Prices range from $2,000 to $10,000
  • Time: takes several weeks to build
  • Hosting and domain name is not included in the cost

Option 3. Buy a theme

A website theme is a pre-designed set of templates and features specific to your needs. Themes are designed to fit into a Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress which runs your website. A theme is a good option if you have a small budget. WordPress is free and most themes have an average cost of $49. Neal Chester has developed a WordPress theme for real estate agents.

Pros:

  • Low cost: average $49
  • Professionally designed
  • Includes features specifics to real estate business 
  • Freedom to do whatever you want to your website
  • You own your domain name and website files
  • Freedom to manage the content yourself
  • Customization options
  • Thousands of free and premium plugins to extend the functionality of your website

Cons:

  • Limited customization options: you may look similar to others who use the same theme
  • Some themes stop displaying parts of your content if you switch themes

Option 4. Tailor a theme 

Here, you get the benefits of option 3 with design services to fit your brand. This way you don’t look like others who use the same theme. With a tailored theme, your costs are significantly lower compared to buying services from a web designer because the website is already complete—the design just needs to be tweaked to fit you. Neal Chester provides theme tailoring.

Pros:

  • Cost less money than a web designer (see prices below)
  • Professionally and custom designed
  • Includes features specifics to real estate business 
  • Freedom to do whatever you want to your website
  • You own your domain name and website files
  • Freedom to manage the content yourself
  • Customization options
  • Thousands of free and premium plugins to extend the functionality of your website

Cost Comparison

Here’s a cost and time comparison for each option mentioned above.

cost Design Company,
Option 2
Theme Tailor,
Option 4
WordPress Theme,
Option 3
Do It Yourself,
Option 1
Domain name $15/year $15/year $15/year $15/year
Theme Included $49 $49 Included
Design services $5K+ (average) $499 DIY (limited) DIY
Your time Low Low Moderate High

With this information, I hope you learned something new. Check out some of my solutions below:

NEW Real Estate WordPress Theme

A clean and professional theme to showcase your properties and services. Features include:

  • Free Installation
  • Customization options
  • Mobile-friendly
  • Advanced search filters
  • Interactive map
  • Mortgage calculator
  • And more

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