Want to build a real estate site? Great idea but you’d better HURRY. By 2022, more than 70% of real estate companies have already had a website. With the current pandemic, more real estate owners are moving online. Knowing how to build a real estate website becomes an influential factor in the market.
Needless to say, the real estate industry has always been an attractive area for business ideas’ implementation. And if you want to build a real estate site, it’s a great niche.
Almost the entire real estate industry has moved online. Now the various properties search has become much faster and more convenient for customers.
In 2021 more than 97% of property buyers were using real estate websites to find their desired properties.
120+ million times people visit property sites and 36+ million unique visitors each month.
In this article, we’ll address how to build a real estate website with 8 core features to get ahead of the business competition.
Online Real Estate Market
The real estate market has been thriving for years. The metrics have only been growing. It is predicted that the revenue of the real estate business in the U.S. will come to nearly $543.7 billion by 2023.
In 2021, 98% of property sellers used property sites while the majority of real estate buyers were looking for property online.
Why Create a Real Estate Website
In the age of Internet dominance, a real estate website is simply a must-have. So, if you want to build a real estate site, it’s a good idea to move forward. Moreover, building a property site has a lot of benefits for business. Here are the main ones:
Your customers can access the information about the property, photos, and your guidance at any time they want. Having a RE site creates an online presence of your business.
Millennials are the main buying group of buying real property online. As studies show, Millennials prefer to search for properties online rather than go to property agencies. That is a big plus for you since once you build your real estate website you will be able to reach a whole new buying group in 2021.
No need for meeting and wasting time in traffic. RE sites need to have complete information about properties, the perfect property photos, and sometimes even a 360-degree view of the property. You can always communicate with the clients via online web forms or emails. It would be best if you stayed in touch with them.
Types of Real Estate Websites
The digitization of selling and renting out property started with promotional sites. The web property industry has merged with more business models, and the current online business market offers many more opportunities. It makes a considerable boost for various business marketing strategies. You need to choose the best option for your web platform. If you build a real estate site then you need to know everything about building a real estate site.
When the era of digitization started booming, many property agencies started building a real estate website where they would advertise their business company, post property offers, and arrange consultations.
This kind of property site almost hasn’t changed. The only thing that is changing is the use of UI and UX design. With UI and UX design, promotion sites became easier to use and navigate. For better business results, your site design must be mobile-oriented.
Examples: RE/MAX, Keller Williams Realty, Inc., Coldwell Banker, The Corcoran Group.
Property Listing Website
A property listing site is a platform where customers can find houses for sale or rent. Unlike a real estate marketplace, a property listing site usually doesn’t provide the ability to list an estate without an agent. Property listing sites were the first websites where various agents could list a property, not just property agents working with a single company.
Within the property listing site, buyers or renters can:
- search through listings to find a suitable property,
- view info, request a tour, or contact a property owner.
Such property site listing uses a multiple listing service (MLS), a system used by brokers, agents, or marketing companies to tap into the available estate business deals on the market. This system can be integrated with the help of IDX, an agreement between selling and buying agents to showcase multiple listing service properties online and across multiple business platforms.
Examples: Zoopla, RightMove, Realtor.
Real Estate Marketplaces
The real estate marketplace is a platform and a mediator between sellers/tenants and buyers/renters.
It is a more evolved site where both suppliers and consumers can use a web platform without limitations. Property owners can:
- list their estate on the site,
- determine their approximate home value by using an online web calculator and find the customers.
Customers, on the other hand, can:
- search to rent or buy a property
- view property photos, building plans, and property descriptions, as well as facts and information about the district.
Related: 8 costly call-to-action mistakes
Examples: Redfin, Trulia, Zillow, Airbnb.
The market of online marketplaces is booming now. It is expected that the total online marketplace revenue will account for $40.1 billion by 2022.
Speaking of selling and rental marketplaces, Zillow marketplace is the lead in the United States. It received 36 million visits a month in October 2021. Trulia is the second most famous real estate marketplace website, with approximately 23 million monthly visits. Yahoo! Homes is the third one with about 20 million monthly visits.
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Zillow’s success started when they decided to launch their famous Zestimate web calculator. Zestimate helped evaluate property value based on publicly available data. It made such a huge noise that, after five days, more than 2 million users visited the site.
Years later, another website called Trulia decided to launch a similar calculator. However, Trulia was sued and later acquired by Zillow.
There’s another segment of the real estate marketplace industry: temporary property rentals. The leader in temporary rentals is Airbnb. Similar to Zillow, Airbnb changed the way people rent accommodation. But, like Airbnb and its business alternatives occupy a large segment of the rental market, the rental market still has a web area for newcomers.
Property Management Websites
A property management website is a website where property owners can:
- manage their property and customers, such as renters or buyers
- make automated clearing house payments
- manage their accounting
- plan tenant screening
- provide logins for both tenants and owners.
Websites for property management can be focused on residential and commercial properties.
This kind of real estate website has many features. If you want to build your own property website for managing properties, try to include features like:
- lease renewal workflow,
- a system for monitoring rent payment,
- property maintenance,
- automatic tracking of insurance policy, and others.
Examples: Appfolio, Rentec Direct, TennantCloud, Yardi.
Real Estate Investing Websites
You need to know that real estate remains one of the best business investment options. It provides investors with passive income and serves as a relatively reliable long-term investment. This prospect makes the sphere alluring for many.
No wonder the demand for online web property investment platforms is growing.
With these types of websites, business investors can:
- participate in equity investment
- find property that is in the process of being built
- finds properties at a reduced price due to several issues.
If you want to know how to build a real estate investing website, later in the article we give the core features every property website should have to boost your business.
Examples: InveStore, Aktivo, Zinsbaustein.
Real Estate Aggregators
A property aggregator is a website that collects data from different websites and displays it on one. Aggregators are one of the most convenient ways to find a property to buy or rent. Just like any other real estate website, property aggregators also have filters.
Examples: Nestoria, Home.co.uk.
Real estate websites can also be classified by the user’s intention:
Selling and Buying Websites
Selling and buying real estate is probably the most common type of property site. This model is usually associated with a marketplace property website where there are sellers and buyers and the platform that connects both sides.
Business investors are trying to find the best deal there is. Why not give them this ability? Real estate websites that provide investors with the ability to find the most potentially lucrative opportunities for investing in properties could be well-received.
Managing a property can be tricky since a property owner can have several properties. Usually, this type of website addresses two sides: landlords and tenants. The functionality and interfaces for each are different.
Our research shows there are many real estate websites that focus only on renting, such as Trulia, Lovely, Rentals.com, Rentdigs and others. These websites include two sides: future tenants and landlords. In order to connect both sides after the contract has been signed, a renting website can also offer the ability to manage properties, as Walk Score does.
In addition, there are long- and short-term rentals. Usually, a property website offers both types of rentals. However, if you want to go niche, we suggest picking one.
Mixed Models of Real Estate Websites
Although a real estate website with a system for selling and buying is most common, a mixed website can also catch a lot of attention when deciding on how to make a real estate website. As a founder, you can include selling, buying and renting, or renting and managing. In any case, the features that you choose should make sense and fit well together.
Rules & Regulations
Oh boy! The Real Estate industry has it’s far share of rules too. And special systems in place to list properties. Like IDX for instance. If you build a real estate site then you MUST understand IDX.
What Is IDX?
Internet Data Exchange (IDX) is an umbrella term used to cover policies, standards, and software pertaining to the display of real estate listing information on websites.
Most importantly for agents and brokers, IDX is what enables members of a multiple listing service (MLS) to integrate real estate listings from the MLS database into their own websites.
But why exactly was IDX created? How does it work? How does it help you become a successful real estate agent? What does it cost to integrate IDX listings on your website?
We detail everything agents need to know about IDX below, including its origins, evolution, features and benefits, as well as how beginner real estate agents can get it set up on their sites.
How IDX Works
IDX is the software used by real estate professionals to add MLS listings to their website.
IDX establishes a data connection between your website and the MLS, imports listings, and displays them on your website. The listings are updated every few hours, so your audience always has access to the most recent listings and can contact you for information about the available properties.
On the other hand, web portals like Zillow and Trulia don’t use IDX. They get their information from other sources, including brokerage syndication. That’s why you’ll find the listings on portal sites are often not as comprehensive or as up-to-date as IDX data.
For example, studies have shown that 36% of the listings on Zillow and Trulia were no longer for sale, and around 20% of active listings in an MLS were missing.
Also, portal sites usually aim to provide leads to agents who sponsor individual listings, whereas IDX allows you to get the leads from all the listings on your website.
Once you’ve added listings to your site with IDX, standby to connect with buyers as they search the web for properties.
The Rules and Regulations for Using IDX
Just knowing how to build a real estate site isn’t enough. The main thing to know about IDX is you need to consult your MLS to understand their particular policies (which vary by each MLS) pertaining to use of their data on your real estate website via IDX. There are several ways you can get in trouble with your MLS should you misuse IDX data.
Examples of some prohibited uses include:
- Posting a seller’s listing when the seller has indicated to their agent they do not wish to have their home listed in IDX
- Failing to update IDX listings on your website
- Providing IDX listings and their information to outside parties not participating in the IDX exchange
- Altering the information included in IDX listings (e.g. property dimensions and features) to make them more appealing to your audience
- Showing listings on a website that aren’t approved for display by the MLS or listing broker
Achieving success in real estate isn’t solely defined by generating leads and closing deals — it’s also about following the rules, so research the guidelines and rules associated with IDX before you integrate listings on your website.
List of popular IDX services
Here’s a few, popular IDX software services. Now, there are a LOT more than I have listed but, these stand out:
- Showcase (they have a great WordPress plugin too!)
- Real Geeks (I think I just like the name)
- BoomTown (very popular but WAY TOO restrictive AND expensive!)
- IDX BROKER PLATINUM (the most used IDX software out there)
Get Your Ducks In A Row
So, if you’re planning on building a special real estate website for a client, get your ducks in a row. Learn the industry, at least a bit. Know and understand exactly what you are getting into. it may just be the door that opens into a whole new career in REAL ESTATE web services! I’ve built and worked on a few. So if you are looking to build a real estate site, comment below and maybe we can start a conversation.
I am the Nerd of Fortune. I have been hustling from home (part-time) for about 10 years & working exclusively from home for almost 4 years – and loving it! I am a firm believer in making ‘working from home’ a success for everyone…