The age of waiting for calls from prospective clients is over. To be successful moving into 2018, real estate agents have to have an effective web presence. Most home buyers and sellers now start the process of listing their home (and finding homes for sale) online. To accommodate their needs and increase your visibility, here are 5 must-have tools your real estate website should include.
1. An Intuitive Home Page
Naturally, your homepage tends to be the first spot that both home buyers and sellers land on. That means it has to be intuitive, not keeping your visitors for more than a couple seconds before offering them ways to navigate deeper into the site.
The home page should speak to both buyers and sellers. Large buttons should open different opportunities for each audience segment. Our online attention span is just 8 seconds short, which means that you have limited time to prompt action. The faster you can get your audience deeper into your website, the better.
2. A Natural, Map-Based Search
Especially home buyers will come to your website to search for available properties above all. And even sellers will do the same, seeking to gauge the market before listing their own home. That, in turn, makes your search function a crucial part of your real estate website.
Offer more than just a search bar where your audience can enter a street name or zip code. Instead, a map-based search can be more natural to your audience, allowing them to browse neighborhoods and surrounding areas. Ideally, filters on home variables such as bedrooms and price can make the search function even more natural.
3. Large Listing Photos and Other Visuals
When it comes to highlighting your listings, visuals are key. Our brains function on this level; in fact, visual content can increase audience recall of important information from 10 percent to almost 65 percent. Information is processed faster and retained more easily.
As a real estate agent, you have an undeniable opportunity in this area. Listings just beg to be shown off using visuals. Simple listing photos are a great idea and is essential for every home on your website. But consider going beyond that. For instance, a slideshow or video tour can draw potential homebuyers in to learn more.
4. Detailed Listing Pages with Home Values
Speaking of your individual listings: when it comes to the homes you’re looking to sell, make sure you get as detailed as possible. The more you know, and the more you can convey, the more credible the home will become in the eyes of your audience.
That means listing not just number and size of bedrooms, but also details about the neighborhood, school district, and more. Showcase not just the price of the home, but also its current (objective) market value and the property taxes. Give potential buyers a full picture, and they will thank you by giving you their trust.
5. Responsive and Mobile-Friendly Experience
Finally, consider how your audience is browsing your website. In our age of digital connectivity, they’re at least as (if not more) likely to pull up your website while driving past a home for sale as they are on desktop computer or laptop. Your online presence needs to account for that fact.
Above all, that means creating a website that functions equally well on screens of all sizes. Most larger companies have turned toward responsive design, which adjusts dynamically based on whether it’s viewed on a smartphone, tablet, or desktop. Everything about your website, from its design to its navigation and text, should be designed with mobile devices in mind.
Yes, individual real estate agents and small companies in the space have a chance to stand out among the big guns. But to get to that point, they have to get their website right. With the above tips, you can create a website that helps you compete with and even compare favorably against alternatives like Zillow and Realtor.com.