If you’re reading this post, you are probably in the early stages of realizing that you do, in fact, need a personal real estate website to push your career to the next level. On the off chance you don’t believe me, maybe these fun stats will help:
- 70% of Buyers and 75% of Sellers found their Agent on the Internet (source)
- 90% of home buyers searched online during their home buying process (source)
- 72% of agents and broker associates have real estate agent websites. (source)
An important point to remember when developing your personal real estate website is that the idea of your website is not to compete with the big boys like Zillow or Redfin, but to build your brand, your reputation and showcase your specific listings.
How to Build A Personal Real Estate Website
HOW TO GET STARTED
You can build a real estate website pretty quickly by using templates. A lot of real estate templates are ready made to integrate with your listings, but there is a pretty steep learning curve. If you are not very tech-savvy and on a lower budget, I would recommend hiring someone to customize one of these templates for you. If you have a bigger budget, by all means, hire a developer to build you a custom website to your exact specifications.
- Hire a developer to custom build your website ($$$)
- Build it yourself with a template ($)
- Hire someone to customize a template for your website ($$)
Today we are going to focus on what you will need to build it yourself. We will not get into the technical side of it, we’ll save that for part two. Consider this just your initial recipe list.
1. Domain Name + Hosting: $50/Year
Everyone has their own opinion when it comes to choosing a hosting company. The easiest route for this recipe is to purchase Economy Hosting from GoDaddy for about $3.49/Month. A free domain name usually comes with your hosting purchase as well.
2. Install WordPress on Hosting: FREE
Login to GoDaddy, go to My Account > Hosting. Find your new hosting plan and click LAUNCH. You should now see an icon for “Install WordPress”, click it and follow the steps.
3. CHOOSE & BUY A THEME: $100
Again, you have options here, but for this recipe I am going to recommend a Real Estate Theme from StudioPress (or Agent Evolution). When you purchase from StudioPress, you’ll purchase both your theme and the Genesis Framework. Just trust me, you need both. If you purchase from Agent Evolution, you will STILL need to buy Genesis, here.
4. INSTALL GENESIS FRAMEWORK + YOUR THEME
Once you’ve completed your purchase and downloaded your files, you’ll need to log into WordPress (from step #2) and upload your new themes. In WordPress, on the left hand side, go to Appearance > Themes. Click “Add New”. Upload you .zip Genesis File FIRST. Then, upload either the StudioPress or Agent Evolution Theme you purchased, then “Activate”.
Congratulations! You now have the beginnings of a website. You can start adding pages (Home, About, Contact) and posts (for blogs). Once you setup a few pages, you’ll want to define a menu structure (Appearance > Menu).
HOW TO DISPLAY YOUR LISTINGS
Your next step would be to add your MLS Listings. With the Agent Themes, you have the ability to manually add listings. However, if you’d like to automatically have your listings displayed on your website (so much easier!), you’ll have to use a third party. I’m a particular fan of IDX Broker. The IDX Broker is an additional $40 – $60 monthly fee, but it takes all the hassle out of listing accuracy. It pulls listings directly from the MLS.
This is where it starts to get tricky. You’ll need to sign up for an IDX Broker Account, get approved and then add the IDX Broker Plugin for WordPress (Plugins > Add New > Search: IDX Broker). From there, I recommend hiring someone to help configure these pages for you or to follow the tutorial on the IDX Broker Support Page. The configuration will depend a lot of the theme.
YOUR REAL ESTATE WEBSITE CHECKLIST
Regardless of whether you are going it alone or hiring someone, I would highly recommend starting with this list of items to include on your website. These are items I like to see and be able to navigate to directly from the homepage.
- Clear & Easy Navigation
- Contact Information: Phone, Email & Address
- Social Media Icons
- Sharp and Impressive Images
- Quick Property Search
- Property Search by Neighborhood
- Property Search by Map
- Property Search by Location-Unique Features (Lakefront, Popular Schools or Golf Course)
- Email Capture Call to Action
- Your Featured Properties
- Pictures of You & Your Team
- About Page with Bios and History
- In The News Section or Articles About Your Team
- BONUS: Videos
- Information Targeted Towards (1) Buyers, (2) Sellers and (3) Renters