In today’s real estate world, most people start their home search online, and so capturing home buyers through a strong web presence is a key factor in generating more sales leads and selling more homes. But with so many different options for building a website, what are the most important features to include on your real estate website? For answers to that question, check out our list of 5 “Must-Have” Features on a Real Estate Website:
1. Choose an image-heavy design for your real estate website
Selling real estate is all about presentation and how a home looks when it’s put onto the market. When viewing a home or conducting a showing, home buyers want to see clean spaces and a property they can picture themselves living in should they opt to make an offer. A real estate website should be no different. Give home buyers a clean, neutral design that gives them great images of what they want to see: real estate for sale or rent.
Good Example: Dwell Real Estate –Sarasota, FL. Along with a fabulous image slider on the homepage, Dwell’s website features fantastic images on nearly every community and building page.
2. Allowing users to search real estate by map
Many home buyers, especially home buyers in larger markets, have very specific boundaries or neighborhoods they perform to live in. While many real estate websites will have different sections of their website dedicated to these areas, allowing users to search by map or even draw their own boundaries in which they want to search is a very useful tool for your real estate website to include.
Good Example: Sobborgo—Chicago, IL & Suburban Chicago. Along with a polygon search feature, Sobborgo allows home buyers throughout the Chicagoland region to run an advanced map search by selecting options from City, Property Type, Boundaries, Subdivison, Zip Code, or School fields.
3. Organization and easy navigation
For real estate agents serving multiple communities, making sure the flow of your website is simple and easy to navigate is perhaps the most critical aspect in ensuring users stay on your website to search for available homes in your area. If home buyers have to spend any time at all trying to figure out how to search for the property type they want or the location they desire, you can bet they’ll just move onto the next real estate website that’s easier for them to navigate.
Good Example: The Snyder Group—Jupiter, FL & Surrounding Palm Beach Area. Once reaching the Snyder Group’s homepage, home buyers can immediately see how the website’s sidebar is organized by community. If you’re a home buyer considering a condo for sale in Tequesta, for example, it shouldn’t take users long to figure out that all they need to do is scroll down the homepage until they reach the Tequesta search options to view available properties in that area.
4. Include community real estate statistics
As the old saying goes, a home is likely the largest investment you’ll make in your lifetime. Homebuyers want as much information as they can get before pulling the trigger on a home for sale. Make sure to include real estate statistics and housing market conditions somewhere on your real estate website. Failing to do so can result in home buyers seeking this information elsewhere and potentially losing those leads.
Good Example: The Hartnov Team—Orange County, CA. Included on The Hartnov Team’s “Community Statistics” page are some great real estate stats. In a glance, I can see how many homes are for sale in a given area, what listings are brand new to the market, monthly market trend statistics by community, sales stats for all of Orange County, and how many leases/rentals are available in the area as well.
5. Professionally designed call-to-action graphics
While attractive, high-end graphics on a website don’t always give you much in terms of SEO-value, call-to-action buttons and graphics can dramatically improve the user experience and increase your visitor-to-lead conversion. Not only do such graphics define the flow of a website, but they’re also a great way to break up a page and give it more of a “wow-factor,” which can also enable users to remember your site and keep coming back.
Good Example: Mark Z Home Selling Team—Detroit, MI. The homepage on Mark Z’s website is loaded with attractive call-to-action graphics and ways to entice home buyers to contact them during their home search. Every section on the homepage invited users to search real estate through different features on the website or contact the Mark Z team for a variety of services they offer.
Joe Heath is a graduate of Indiana University and also holds a Graduate Certificate in Real Estate Development from Drexel University. After working as a Market Research Associate and writing published Market Snapshots for Hanley Wood Market Intelligence in Chicago, Joe now works as a Web Marketing Specialist and is a managing partner at Real Estate Web Creation, LLC.