Posted on May 17, 2018

12 Ways to Make Your Real Estate Website Outshine the Competition

According to the National Association of Realtors, 44% of home buyers look for properties online first, and 95% of home buyers use websites during their searches for a home. There are now thousands of real estate websites online. In fact, 90% of real estate firms already have websites. While ever more agents and agencies are beginning to build the ideal website for their clients and online visitors, and to improve their sales numbers.

Here are 12 ways to make your real estate website outshine the competition.

1. Display Multiple 360-Degree and High-Quality Images

Buyers are interested in seeing high-quality images that accurately represent a property. Make sure you stage your property photos and only include photos on your website that are recent and don’t include clutter or messy areas, so that they really capture all the rooms and unique elements of a property. Don’t include photos that are highly pixelated or blurry. And be sure to allow viewers to zoom in on photos whenever possible.

360-degree photos provide a panoramic view of rooms and exterior spaces, which will give the viewer a much more realistic perspective of the property and its spaces. 360-degree aerial views of the property’s grounds are also helpful when accentuating a property’s entire square footage and property lines and should be included whenever possible.

2. Offer Virtual Tours

Along with high-quality images, you should also include virtual tours of properties on your website. A virtual tour is a simulation of an existing property, usually composed of a sequence of videos or still images. Basically, the viewer will feel as if she or he is walking around inside or outside the property. Virtual tours are a great way for prospects to know whether they like the layout of a property before visiting it in person and are very helpful for individuals who are trying to purchase a property from out-of-state or from a different country.

3. Share Helpful Video Content

Include videos on your real estate website that offer added value to its visitors. In addition to showcasing specific properties through videos, you can also share videos introducing your realtor team and office operations. And, you can include educational videos that help first-time home buyers with the buying process and offer information on how to properly finance a home. Online users love “behind-the-scenes” videos and respond positively to online businesses with clear and transparent operations.

Videos also account for most of the traffic on the web nowadays, and they’re extremely effective when it comes to online marketing and promotions. If you’re not yet sold on the power of videos in marketing and online promotions, check out these stats compiled by HubSpot.

4. Provide Mobile-Optimized Contact Information

To increase leads and the number of active prospects you have, include a mobile-optimized phone number and email address on your real estate website. This way, users can click on your phone number from your website to call you directly from their smartphones without having to write your number down on a piece of paper or copy-paste it into their phone’s keypads. And, they’ll be able to click on your email address and send you an email directly from their mobile device too. Again, they won’t have to open new email inbox windows or copy-paste your email address to contact you.

If possible, you’ll want to consider including chat features on your real estate website too, so users can send you questions and get responses from you about listings and appointments in real time.

5. Link to MLS via IDX Searches and Permit Advanced Searches

According to Realtor Mag, including MLS (Multiple Listing Service) listings of properties on your website via IDX (Internet Data Exchange) is critical: “Give them a full IDX search or don’t bother having a website.”

Users don’t want to just search listings from your own office or agency, they want to know about everything that’s on the market. So, allow them to complete advanced searches via neighborhoods, costs, amenities, etc.

6. Allow Visitors to Book Appointments

Let your website visitors schedule showings or information sessions via your website. This is an especially important feature for first-time home buyers who will have a lot of questions, or for prospective clients who would like to schedule a meeting with you before they begin looking at properties in person.

7. Showcase Reviews and Recommendations

Most realtors rely on word-of-mouth to grow their business. So, don’t forget to include reviews and recommendations from happy customers on your website. It will immediately build trust with prospective clients who are searching for someone who is attentive to their needs and who will help them save money wherever possible.

8. Use Lead Capture Forms and Clear Calls to Action

A lot of users may be passively looking at listings on your website to see what’s on the market, especially those who are interested in selling their properties. So, use lead capture forms to gather their contact information so that you can follow up with them later. You can also ask your website visitors if they want to sign up for your market newsletter or other valuable information that you send out to contacts on your email lists.

In addition, be sure to include clear call-to-action buttons on your website such as, “explore listings,” “contact us,” “book an appointment,” etc. This is the best way to keep users continually visiting your website, and is a great way to capture more leads.

9. Publish Unique and Engaging Content

To stand apart from your competition online, be sure to include unique and engaging content on your website to keep your users continually visiting even if they aren’t currently “in the market.”

First, you’ll want to be sure you understand your target audience fully and what they care about, and then you’ll want to write website copy, blog posts, social media posts, and white papers (etc.) that will interest them. For instance, well researched white papers about bank-owned properties will probably be interesting to investors while do-it-yourself decorating hacks will probably be interesting to new condo owners.

10. Include an About Me or About Us Page

On your real estate website, you always want to showcase your credentials and how many years of experience you or your agency has. And, to build trust with your visitors, you’ll want to let visitors get the know you. So include a short bio about why you love real estate and a little bit of background about yourself. And, if your real estate website is for a firm or agency, showcase your team members and their bios too with links to their contact information.

11. Have an Allocated Resources Page

Whether your website visitors are first-time home buyers or not, provide them with as many resources as possible on your website. The real estate industry has changed in so many ways over the past decade and will continue to do so with advances in technology and other updated regulations and practices. So, make sure you offer information that’s helpful and relevant to your website visitors as they buy or sell a home or property. For instance, you might want to include information about property taxes, homeowners’ association fees, water and sewage information, best counties for schools, etc.

Buying or selling a property can be challenging and stressful, so offer content and resources that are easy to understand and very accessible so that your readers feel at ease. You’ll become more of a thought-leader too and an expert in your industry when you share a lot of helpful content and resources.

12. Ensure an Easy-to-Navigate and Mobile-Optimized Layout

The typical home buyer uses a mobile device when searching for a home, and future generations will expect to use their mobile devices throughout their home searches. Most realtors are beginning to use their mobile devices to complete a lot of tasks too (National Association of Realtors). Therefore, it is imperative that your real estate website is optimized for mobile devices and that it’s easy to view and navigate from a mobile device.

Do the things listed above as you build your real estate website, and you’ll undoubtedly outshine your competition.

 

Featured Image: Pixabay

Sources Cited

HubSpot.” The State of Video Marketing in 2018 [New Data],” https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/state-of-video-marketing-new-data. Accessed 4/13/2018.

National Association of Realtors. “Real Estate in a Digital Age: 2017 Report,” https://www.nar.realtor/sites/default/files/reports/2017/2017-real-estate-in-a-digital-age-03-10-2017.pdf. Accessed 4/13/2018.

Realtor Mag. “Best Practices for Your Real Estate Website Home Page,” http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2013/02/best-practices-for-your-real-estate-web-site-home-page. Accessed 4/13/2018.

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