Real estate agents… if you think making a first impression in person is hard, try doing it online.
A study of over 2000 Americans by the Dollar Shave Club showed that you have about 27 seconds to make a good first impression in person.
7 in 10 people will form an opinion about you even before you speak.
Online, it only takes 0.05 seconds (50 milliseconds) for website visitors to judge if they like your website enough to read further, according to a study from researchers at Carleton University in Ottawa Canada.
A Stanford web credibility research also says 75% of users will make a snap judgement about a website’s credibility based on its design.
Now that might sound judgey but the truth is, it’s just economics.
The multitude of options available means we don’t need to put up with poorly constructed and un-informative websites.
So the questions this post will now tackle are…
What should a real estate website include?
How can you make sure it has the things your prospects need?
How do I make my real estate website stand out?
Read on to find out.
Make it easy for website visitors to find the information they need. A simple, easy to maneuver real estate web design is better than a pretty yet confusing one.
Related: Having trouble with your real estate web design? You don’t have to start from scratch! Check out the 20+ real estate website templates we have!
Personally, I love the femme appeal of the Classy theme, while one of our specialists, Ryan, prefers the Victory theme because of it’s clear uncluttered design.
For clear call to action buttons and beautifully displayed photos, our sales specialist Evelyn recommends the Elegant and Clear themes. However, for a minimalist yet elegant look, our graphic designer Victor prefers the Luxury theme.
Here’s what a real estate agent website design looks like using the Elegant theme:
And here’s what a realtors web design looks like using the Clear theme:
Related: You need to find a mortgage calculator plugin if your site runs on WordPress websites or similar generic site builders. Our PageManager tool, a real estate website builder, includes a mortgage and financing calculator already bundled in. No coding or installation necessary.
Related: Read this post about real estate SEO to learn how to get more prospects on your website from Google.
Now that your website doesn’t need an advanced degree to navigate, let’s move on to the next big question…
A lot of real estate agents are hesitant to niche down fearing they’d lose prospects.
In reality, it’s easier to miss out if you’re just like every other agent in your area.
If you’re in the market for investment advice and are looking to get into the stock market, would you listen to a generic financial advisor, or someone who’s spent years investing in stocks?
As a real estate agent, it would be easier for sellers and potential buyers to trust you if they know you have worked with people in a similar situation.
How do I make my real estate website stand out? What does niching down have to do with it?
Young singles prefer to work with someone who understands their lifestyle and budget constraints, while those buying a second home will appreciate someone who knows the logistical challenges of finding a new home before closing on the sale of their first property.
Real photos are better but if you have to use stock photos, at least find pictures of the area you serve. It would be weird for a Chicago real estate website to have a backdrop of the New York skyline. It’s a confusing disconnect for your visitors.
So for your home page real estate graphic design, choose pictures of iconic landmarks in your market.
For the neighborhood pages, use images of the streets, parks and buildings of that area. It’s easy to take pictures with a camera phone but you can also find them on stock photo websites, especially for popular neighborhoods.
Pro Tip: Hire real estate website designers or use editing tools to create photos of your neighborhood with your team and logos in them.
People only visit a real estate agent website to do one of the following:
Your visitors should be able to do these things easily, or else they’ll leave and go to another agent’s website or a property search marketplace like Trulia.
Make it easier for your online prospects to find the property they’re looking for by incorporating an “advanced search” function that could help them narrow down your listings based on their chosen criteria.
Pro Tip: Include search filters specific to your market. You can easily do this with real estate agent websites with IDX integration, like PageManager. For example, a “flood free” filter for real estate websites in Miami or Florida and “ski in/ski out” will be helpful for those in Aspen.
Your website visitors will love this feature! They don’t have to wait for a reply about their search, they can create a shortlist selection of properties in a few clicks.
Don’t just rely on what the seller provided you. Add some pizzazz to the listing by adding compelling descriptions of the different rooms and the house’s design.
You don’t have to design or build these features into your listing web page. Many real estate website templates have ready-made listing pages that already include features like these.
For instance, our “Contemporary” theme includes a virtual tours option, and even tabulated data of the property description for easy reading.
Your website should be a one-stop shop for all the properties available for sale in your area. You can’t just rely on your own listings alone.
This doesn’t need to be a herculean task where you manually import available listings every week to your site.
Using an Internet Data Display (IDX) will allow you to display listings of the MLS or other agents on your own website automatically.
A real estate website builder like PageManager has a built-in IDX website integration, so in many cases all you have to do is get the IDX links for your MLS and forward the links to us and we’ll set up the IDX links integration for you.
If you’re using WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, or any of the other generic website builders out there, you’ll need to find an IDX website integration plugin or real estate website templates that come with this feature, just to list other properties on your site.
Ask your real estate website builder or designer about the available plugins for more information. You may need to pay extra for this functionality.
Pro Tip: Watch this webinar by our Product Lead, Raza, to learn how you can maximize the use of IDX on your website. After watching this video, you’ll learn how to create custom listings that include properties in a specific neighborhood, how to optimize listings for your target market, and many more.
Using neighborhood pages means you’ll have a more structured website, where all properties and points of interest in that neighborhood are collected into one page.
Your website visitors won’t have to jump from one page after another to find out about the available schools, condos, parks, and other information about the town they’re researching.
Neighborhood pages are also a good source of online leads.
A study by HubSpot shows that websites with 10 to 12 landing pages, which are the neighborhood pages in the case of real estate websites, get up to 55% more leads than websites that don’t have as many pages.
Why is this the case? Why should your real estate web design include more neighborhood pages?
Because in many cases, prospective buyers search for properties in a specific city or town. No one will search “2 bedroom townhouse Chicago” — that’s too wide a search.
The more descriptive you are in writing neighborhood pages, the more you’ll attract prospects looking for those specific things in where they want to buy property.
So go ahead, write about what makes a neighborhood in your market a great place to live. Don’t be afraid to write that they’re good for families, or young professionals, or retirees. Write about the schools, parks, and gorgeous views in those areas.
Include lots of pictures, too. Real estate graphic design should also include pictures of the parks, schools, restaurants, and other points of interest in a neighborhood.
Don’t wait for someone to ask about what’s the best neighborhood if they wanna be near the beach. That’s not good customer service, and….
You’ll lose a lot of prospects that way! Chances are the majority of them will just go to another website in search of an answer instead of making the effort to send a message AND wait for a reply.
Websites are accessible 24/7 so it stands to reason that your visitors will expect that they can schedule a viewing appointment without waiting for office hours.
You can do this via a contact form or online calendar integration.
Don’t just leave this contact form at the contact page of your website! Sprinkle them where it’s relevant, such as the bottom of property listings, advanced search results, and in your neighborhood pages.
Don’t worry about coding or design while using real estate agency website templates. Most of these forms are easy to insert via a drag and drop function, or a copy and paste code that you can easily place into any part of your webpage.
It’s the next logical step after reading about a property or neighborhood — call you for more information, or set up an appointment to view the property.
Just don’t go overboard in what you’re asking on your contact forms. Get their first and last name, email/phone, property preferences (optional), along with their question for you.
Unbounce’s report confirms that people don’t like filling out forms. Reducing the form fields from 11 to just 4 questions lead to 120% more conversions. That means the more questions you ask on your forms, the more likely people won’t complete it!
Pro Tip: Some people hate filling out contact forms because they don’t want to get spam and other promotional email. Personally, I don’t fill out contact forms until I’m sure I can’t find what I’m looking for on my own.
The antidote for people like these are live chats. If you use a real estate website builder with a live chat tool, your visitors can ask questions directly without waiting for you to get back to them via email or text.
Reading testimonials are a big part of the decision making process when choosing to work with a real estate agent.
It’s the same with any other industry. People read up hotel and restaurant reviews, and Amazon book reviews. Of course, people will do even more due diligence when choosing someone to assist them in one of the biggest financial commitments of their life.
Be strategic on your use of testimonials though, don’t just place them willy-nilly on your site.
Have you noticed what all those testimonial placements above have in common? Each placement is relevant to the content on the page where it’s located, so the testimonial reinforces the claims you’ve made.
It’s simple. If you claim to be a seller’s agent with experience in getting top offers for condos in Seattle, you better have a testimonial to back it up. People will believe you more if others vouch for you.
Pro Tip: Choose real estate website templates that come with a “testimonial” box or tool, so you can easily place the reviews on different pages of your site. Note, not all free real estate WordPress themes have this feature.
There’s a misconception that as a real estate agent, your real estate web design and personal brand is just about you, that being authentic means focusing on yourself and the value you bring to the table.
That’s just one part of it.
For every service there’s a market. To be a successful agent, your service offering has to fit in with your chosen market’s needs.
All of this affects how you’ll modify the real estate website templates you use, or the images you commission from real estate website designers.
Show your potential clients that you understand their needs by making your real estate web design user-friendly and chock-full of information.