How to Make a Real Estate Website
The global economy has changed the way we shop and make purchasing decisions. Today’s customers are economizing and becoming more careful about their purchases. But how is that affecting the real estate industry?
A professionally developed real estate website may become a top-selling tool these days, especially if we consider that a big % of home buyers start looking for the best deals on the web.
Types of real estate websites
When building a real estate website, you should decide between two main types:
- Platforms for agents, companies, and homebuyers. These platforms allow private sellers and real estate agents to list properties and place ads. To make money, they charge listing fees or commission for transactions.
- Private real estate websites for companies and agents. These websites are thoroughly branded and are developed for a specific real estate company or a private agent. In turn, they can be classified into
- personal websites (for real estate agents who use a personal brand)
- niche websites (focused on selling a specific type of property)
- team websites (developed for a team of agents).
Real estate website builders or Custom real estate website development
There are two ways to build a real estate website. You may use freely available online website builders or hire a development company to create your project from scratch.
- Online website builders are easily accessible and don’t require programming skills or technical knowledge.
- There are a lot of website builders to choose from.
- Templates come with built-in functionality that can be easily customized.
- You don’t need to come up with a design and UI/UX or think through the user journey.
- Real estate websites created with the help of online website builders are usually responsive and mobile-friendly.
- The set of features provided by online website builders is often limited, regardless of the industry and type of project you want to create. As a rule, it’s difficult and costly to add something new on top of the predeveloped set of features, and sometimes it is even impossible.
- Real estate websites created using website builders are difficult to promote on Google, which requires websites to have their own domains, unique names, and clear code.
- As a rule, it’s harder to improve or customize a real estate website design using a website builder since the templates are static. What is more, the ready-made templates provided by online builders may already be used by your competitors and/or be outdated.
- Most importantly, it’s impossible to realize a specific idea or achieve a specific business goal with the help of predeveloped templates that aren’t tied to your company’s unique way of solving users’ problems, which is why you shouldn’t expect an outstanding user experience.
Building a real estate website from scratch allows you to overcome the main challenges related to meeting your audience’s expectations and satisfying the specific needs of your project. When looking for ways to develop a real estate website, consider the advantages and disadvantages of custom development as well.
- Developing a custom real estate platform allows for creativity and finding unique ways of solving users’ problems.
- You’re always welcome to adopt recent trends in real estate design and development.
- You don’t need to invest a fortune right after the first discussion with your development vendor. Instead, you can follow the LEAN development methodology, according to which you create features that are really needed for your project and carefully test them.
- Custom website development always takes a long time for steps such as market analysis, idea validation, working through unique design concepts, and testing your MVP.
- You’ll need to invest more money in development.
- You’ll need to carefully choose a development company with the necessary experience and expertise.
However, you should switch to custom website development if you want to create a quality realty project.
Let’s consider the features needed to build a top-notch real estate website. The set of required features will be unique for each project, but we’re going to list the basic ones that will be enough for an MVP.
- Add/delete/edit property descriptions
- Add images
- Add locations
- Analytical tools
- Lead capture form
- Blog functionality
- MLS listings
- Advanced search with lots of filters
- Map-based property listings
- Image gallery (carousel, slideshow)
- Map view
- Comparison list
- Button to schedule a visit
- Social sharing and testimonials
You don’t need to develop additional tools as part of the MVP. However, the features below will greatly contribute to a good UX and finalizing deals.
- Mortgage calculator
- 360-degree videos
- Design issues
- Usability and navigation
Three main real estate website development mistakes
- Ignoring mobile users.
- Ignoring SEO.
- Poor quality of images and property descriptions.
Real estate website development stages
Each real estate startup should go through the following stages of development, from coming up with an idea to launching on the market and achieving success.
Discovery stage - In this first stage, you need to analyse the business, clearly define the problem you’ll solve and suggest a solution.
Idea validation stage - At this stage, it’s necessary to validate your idea with the help of market and competitor research.
UX strategy stage - At this stage, it becomes possible to create high-fidelity prototypes of your real estate solution.
Design and development stage - During this stage the actual product is developed. Development is broken down into substages and sprints to clearly plan design and development workflows.
How much does it cost to build a real estate website?
Even though the stages of development are the same for all web projects, the feature set and price will always be different.
However, if you want to get a professionally built website that’s capable of lead generation, ready for SEO promotion, and appealing to your users, it may cost more. The changes in the global economy shouldn’t be an obstacle to real estate startup development. Strategic thinking, careful research, and collaboration with a reliable software development vendor will give you a solid chance to create and scale your project.