The real estate market is undergoing a major transition right now, and technology is driving this change. However, the US real estate market has been under the sole control of realtors for many years.
93% of Americans use real estate websites to find a house. However, only 7% of people didn’t use any online house hunting sites. Hence, the whole industry moved online.
44% of buyers all across the globe start their home search by looking online.
Regardless of how much local marketing you do, you need a website to attract and engage online leads.
The foundation of every successful real estate company is a solid, well-designed, SEO-driven website that integrates IDX (Internet Data Exchange) listings and pushes leads right into your CRM.
There is a significant shift, and the question is, “how to build a real estate website?”
Throughout this article, we’ll explain how to build a successful real estate platform and which features you should include.
We’ve got a lot to cover, so let’s get started!
What Is A Real Estate Platform?
A real estate platform is a virtual space where realtors, home buyers, and home sellers can connect and make a purchase or rental agreement.
Why have a real estate website?
Creating a real estate site ought to have a purpose first and foremost. Platforms for real estate are designed to solve a user’s problem – finding a new place quickly and easily.
Apps for real estate should:
- Offer enough options for potential buyers and renters;
- Make it easy to find the right property;
- Make it easy to contact a real estate agent;
- Let you research properties easily.
The most popular real estate sites are Compass, Zillow, Trulia, Zoopla. Websites like these have revolutionized the real estate market, opening it up to real consumers.
Different types of real estate websites
Whether you’re selling, buying, or renting a house, you know how stressful it can be. Every role comes with its own challenges. Hence, we come to a very logical conclusion – create real estate websites for different user roles with different functionality.
Here are four of the most popular types of real estate sites:
1. Online real estate marketplaces
A real estate marketplace connects buyers and sellers. The site lets property owners list their property, set the price, and find customers.
Meanwhile, customers can search for properties, check out photos, building plans, and overall descriptions.
Zillow, Redfin, Airbnb are some examples.
2. Websites for listing properties
Property listing sites allow people to find houses for sale or rent on real estate platforms. However, unlike a real estate marketplace, homeowners often cannot list their property without an agent.
Zoopla, RightMove, and Realtor are some examples.
3. Websites for property management
All property management websites are aimed at homeowners. This is because owners are in charge of their properties and can fully handle potential customers. Typically, property management websites focus on both residential and commercial properties.
Appfolio, TennantCloud, Yardi are examples.
Aggregators of real estate
It’s pretty obvious what a property aggregator is. The website collects real estate ads from different sites and displays them on one page.
A real estate aggregator is the easiest way to find homes to buy or rent since it lets you compare prices, locations, sizes, and conditions, all in one place.
Nestoria, LoopNet, Apartments.com are examples.
How Can Real Estate Websites Make Money?
Where does the revenue come from on real estate websites? You can monetize your real estate website in three ways. Pick one or mix them all.
Real estate marketplaces do well with listing fees. This is how it works: sellers pay a 1% fee to the platform before listing their property.
With this model, you charge homeowners a fixed monthly or yearly fee. Then, they can list as many properties as they want. It’s great for real estate marketplaces and property management sites.
One of the most well-known business models is paid advertising. Since the process is well-established, it is suitable for real estate platforms. In addition to earning money from advertising, you can target the offers to the right audience.
Steps to Building A Real Estate Website
1. Learn about the industry
In the Discovery stage, we learn about the market. In simple terms, we jump into the real estate industry, analyze the competition, find their strengths and weaknesses, and look for the prospective niches we can cover with the product.
2. Make sure you know your audience.
Finding out what people really want is the next step in making a real estate website that people will want to use. So we conduct user interviews, surveys, and focus groups to figure that out. The idea is to build a product that directly addresses users’ needs, not imaginary ones.
Our real estate website development process ends up with a roadmap that includes:
- Providing a solution; Hypotheses;
- Possible solutions;
- How to execute on your Business Ideas;
- Interviewing users;
- Creating a prototype;
- Putting it to the test
- A customer journey map
3. Select a Real Estate Website Type
When you find out the real needs of your users, choosing the type of website becomes much easier. Below are six popular types of websites:
- Marketplaces for real estate
- A property listing site
- Property management sites
- Aggregators of real estate
- Buying and selling websites
- Renting sites
They differ by what they offer to homebuyers, realtors, sellers, etc.
4. Come up with a design.
UX and UI are equally important when making a real estate website. The user experience at real estate sites is tailored to three user types:
There should be profiles for different roles on the website, and you should be able to switch roles. Well-designed UX makes websites easier to use. So make sure you hire a good UX designer.
Plus, you need a mobile-friendly design for better business results.
5. Build the MVP
Start with MVP (Member Value Plus) if you want a real estate website that solves a problem. So you can validate your idea cheap and fast, get real user feedback, and show investors and stakeholders that it’s a good idea.
6. Launch, test, and improve
It’s almost time to launch your real estate website, and the next step is to introduce it to the market. My favorite part is when you check how users interact with your product.
You get feedback, find improvements, put the product requirements in front of the team, implement changes, test.
Even though it seems huge, it should be part of any product development process. As part of the product development process, you can receive feedback. It’s not a good idea to wait until it’s done.
Top 3 things that will make your real estate platform stand out
You need the right functionality in your app to build a real estate website that works. I’ve put together a list of features already implemented in other real estate platforms:
1. Favorites Section
This custom feature allows you to add options from the search results to your favorites’ list, like putting products in a shopping cart.
It lets you weigh your options before buying/renting a house. The favorite list can also be used to analyze and suggest new properties.
2. Instant Messaging
Probably when users make a decision, they’ll want to get in touch with a realtor or home seller. Chatting in-app is the best way for users to communicate.
A new messaging app can cost a lot of time and money. So instead, you can use real-time messaging solutions like Twilio, Layer, and PubNub.
3. Appointment Booking Calendar
Having chosen an apartment or house, users will want to take a tour. But, first, they’d need to contact a realtor and make an appointment to see it. So, I think it would be a lot more convenient if you could check the app’s calendar for open slots.
Real estate has shifted online over the past few years. The majority of homebuyers search for homes on real estate websites. Therefore, real estate companies have no choice but to build real estate websites.
In this article, I’ve shared 6 tips on making a real estate website that people will like. In addition, you should follow the latest trends and add key features to make your website stand out.
If you want to know more about our experience or like to share an idea for the product, do not hesitate to contact us.
Now that you’ve built your real estate website, you can start to blog and use social media to generate leads.
Real Estate Website Guide