It is not enough to simply have a website. In order to be effective, and contribute to an easier and quicker home-buying process for the buyer, your website must be thoughtfully designed, intuitive, updated frequently, and user friendly. When buyers visit real estate website they want to know:
- What is happening in my market?
- What is my home worth?
- Can I search for a new home?
Here is our list of the most important features for your website to help you successfully market as a real estate agent.
1. Lots of property photos and description
Photographs and detailed property information are considered the two most valuable Web site features by buyers and sellers according to a survey by the National Association of REALTORS®.
2. Searchable listings
Buyers want to see properties. Provide access to your area's MLS listings using an Internet Data Exchange says Mike Barnett, CRS®, a-PRO®, Vice President of Technology for InternetCrusade. Let visitors know you're there to help them as soon as they find properties they like.
3. Updated links
Make sure hyperlinks are working and link to the most current information available; when visitors get snagged on broken links or see you don't keep your site updated, you lose credibility.
4. Type that's accurate and easy-to-read
As tempting as it may be to experiment with colored or textured backgrounds or to use light-colored text on a dark background the best sites stick with easy-to-read black text on a light background. Proofread for misspellings and make sure words aren't overlapping an image, which impedes readability.
5. Customer-centric content
Your Web site should tell prospects what's in it for them. "Consumers aren't impressed when they see a picture of a [practitioner) posing with a phone to his ear" says Marc Davison, Executive Vice President of VREO Software, a real estate software company in San Luis Obispo that has surveyed consumers. "They're saying 'Show me the properties.'"
6. Information prospects can use
The best sites go beyond mortgage calculators and local weather to provide information that's truly valued by the niche customer. For example if you prospect in a condominium project, publish bylaws and tenant rules and let all the residents know they can find the information on your site.
Consumers should be able to take a quick look at your home page and know how to contact you, how to search for homes, and where to find resources for buying or selling. Flashing graphics, slow-loading animation, and too many links will slow them down.
It doesn't matter how much great information you provide if it's buried. Don't make visitors scroll down several screens to find contact information, listing-search tools, or neighborhood data. Organize content into categories and provide clear links on the home page. A site map helps consumers find what they're looking for.
9. A consistent look
Use the same typefaces, type sizes, design elements, and navigation tools on every page of the Web site. It's great to have different sections for buyers and sellers but don't make the sections look like entirely different sites.
10. Short, snappy copy
Use digestible bites of information when explaining how you got into the business and what awards you've won. Bullet points and short paragraphs work best. And don't put your mission statement or biography on the home page.
Written and Published by: VanEd