Building relationships are vital when you’re a successful real estate agent or broker. Homebuyers are placing their trust in you and the advice and information you give them. When you meet with clients in person, you conduct the conversation in a way that establishes trust.
It’s very important that you design or reinvent your website in a way that lets the prospective client know they can trust you.
Your real estate website must also establish trust, especially when you consider that 70-80% of people research a business online before contacting or visiting them. Your site has to be more than a collection of listings and general data. According to the National Association of Realtors®, up to 92% of buyers use the web in their quest for a new home.
Want your website to be the go-to real estate website for homebuyers in your area?
7 Essential Features for Successful Real Estate Websites
1. Aesthetic Quality
The appearance of your website is important even though it would surprise many to know it’s not the most important factor in a successful website. Your real estate web platform should be visually appealing, easy to read, well-organized and not too busy or cluttered. Zillow offers a site that’s designed is stunning both on a computer and mobile device. A website with a professional, attractive appearance instills confidence in potential clients.
Just as a website is expected to be visually pleasing, it must function well and have all of the expected basics too. The website should be quick-loading and easy to navigate with no broken links or error messages. The website of Kim Spears is a wonderful example of this.
It should also have all of the features the visitor expects on a real estate website.
- Registration: Visitors should be able to sign up for an account on your website and post listings. As your website grows in popularity, it could become the website to use to list your home and get it sold.
- Calendar: Calendars can be included on the site for a variety of uses from internal appointments and meetings to the display of public and community events.
- Favorites: A feature that allows users to favorite properties they are interested in or wish to visit.
- Listings and Photos: All of your listings, with complete information, should appear on the site with quality photos that make the potential buyer want to see more.
- Local Information: A site section where you feature information about the geographic area. People looking for a new home might like to know there’s a good school system in a given neighborhood if it’s a quiet village or a bustling urban area.
- Maps: Feature maps of the area on the site to give potential buyers even more information about a location that interests them.
- Messaging: A message utility gives visitors a way to ask quick, easy questions live on the website.
- Payments: A website feature allowing clients to send payments.
3. Expanded Search Capabilities
One of the most important things your website must have is a very user-friendly way to search properties so they can find what they’re looking for quickly. Your website will need a basic IDX search bar with lots of options for advanced specific searches for things like the number of rooms, number of bathrooms, square feet, amenities, and more. The key is for the visitor to be able to find exactly what they are looking for with a minimum amount of navigation. The Realtor does a great job with search.
Once a listing is retrieved, it should provide very detailed property and neighborhood information. An option for users to save their search results is a real bonus and a time-saver your visitors will really appreciate. There should be contact information visible when any listing is displayed. The ability to contact you or an agent should be one click away.
4. Responsive Design
Did you know that over 50% of all search engines queries are made from mobile devices? That means if you don’t have a website formatted for mobile phone or tablet viewing, or it looks terrible there, you stand to lose about half of your business.
Responsive design means a website is designed to look great and function well across all computers and devices. All images and videos should be crisp and visually appealing no matter how you’re viewing the website. Avi Dan-Goor does a wonderful job with their responsive website design.
5. Relevant Quality Content
If you were moving to a given neighborhood, what information would you like to have about it? Put yourself in your customer’s head and provide them with current, relevant content about the area, local resources, financial resources, and the community. Provide educational material also about the home buying process and anything else you might think would be of interest to your audience.
Including a blog on your website that you update on a fairly regular basis is a great way to accomplish this. Also, in using a steady stream of using fresh, relevant content you boost your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) efforts for a great bonus! Melanie Gromov’s real estate site does a great job with content.
Interacting with visitors to your site as soon as possible is imperative. Within 24 hours is a good rule of thumb. Auto-responders can be used to provide some information for queries. Also, give visitors as many options for contact as you can whether it is online chat, email, phone, or social media venue. Take a look at the contact page of Brandi Pratt’s real estate site for a good example.
Now that we know a high percentage of people research a business online before contacting or utilizing them, the first question should be this: how do visitors find us online? They find our real estate businesses through the search engines.
It becomes important to know how to rank your website on the search engines. The goal is to have your website listed on the first page of search results the visitor receives when they look up buying or selling a home in your area. The very top position if possible. If your site isn’t on the front page, it’s important to learn how to get it there.
Many items on this list above improve your search engine ranking like having a fast-loading website, blog posts with fresh, relevant content of value to your audience, including videos and photos, and having a responsive web design. There are a few more things you can do to improve your SEO marketing efforts.
Get listed in the bigger directories like Zillow, Trulia, Redfin, Homes.com, and more. The directory sites receive a lot of traffic which could find its way to you.
Learn all about local SEO and how you can use it to promote your website.
If you have a bio or page on your broker’s site, optimize it for your name.
Use social media to interact with potential clients.
With careful planning and by putting yourself in the place of audience you hope to grow, you can craft a website that will be a valuable tool in your real estate business.