Make sure the house smells amazing. Strategically place plants and flowers. Offer a free truck to move. Get professional photography. All are great tips to help you sell your latest listing. But today’s real estate shoppers have more choices than ever to find their next home. How do you get them to your doorstep? More often than not they’re turning to search engines to find the right home, the right agent and the right finance package. That’s why it’s time to build a real estate website that will make your property the right pick.
An amazing real estate website helps you capture the attention of these new prospects in the market, as well as keep the attention of existing customers who are in the market for a new home.
Forty-four percent of all buyers looked online for properties for sale as the first step in their home-buying process, compared with only 17% who contacted a real estate agent as the first step. Ninety-three percent of all homebuyers overall used an online website in their home search — including 99% of millennials and 90% of older baby boomers.
Everything you need to build a real estate website
In this guide, we’ll review how to build your website using easy-to-use real estate website builders and templates, as well as the key features your website needs to win over the competition.
While you’re an amazing real estate agent or broker, that doesn’t mean that you’re going to have the necessary tech skills to build a real estate website. And since you’re busy showing homes, writing contracts and marketing new listings, you probably don’t want to take the time to get those tech skills.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t have a website that reflects your business acumen and lays the foundation for your real estate business.
Before you build your site, you’ll need two things: a domain name and hosting.
Once you have these two components, you can decide if you’d like to build your own real estate website, or work with a website designer to build it for you. If you want to be in control of your website layout, content and design, you may want to use a DIY real estate website builder. It’s also a lower-cost way to build your own website than hiring a custom website designer.
Before you start building your new real estate website, you’ll need a domain name. The domain name is what people type into the address bar of their browser to get to your website — like godaddy.com.
Buying a domain name is straightforward, especially when you use a trusted domain registrar. Whether you choose to purchase your domain through GoDaddy or another company, make sure that the registrar:
Is accredited by ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which is the governing body over domain name registrars.
Gives you full control over your domain. Some registrars will retain partial control, including adding their own contact information to part of the domain registration (making it hard to transfer it to a different registrar), or preventing you from pointing your domain to your desired hosting provider.
Provides high-quality support when you need it. Although you never expect something to go wrong, your registrar should be there to help you troubleshoot if it does. Verify customer service availability — before you buy! — so you don’t miss valuable traffic and customers because of a challenge with the registrar.
Offers additional domain options and pricing. Your domain is not likely to be the biggest expense of your real estate website. In fact, most domain extensions are available for $20 or less per year. There are other features like domain privacy, theft protection and automatic renewal to consider when picking a registrar.
Even with all of these considerations, the hardest and most important part is picking the right domain name for your real estate website.
You want your domain name to:
1. Be short and sweet. Your domain name isn’t the time to roll out your best puns. Save those for the open house!
You want your domain to be easy to remember, say and spell.
You’ll use it throughout your marketing — from bus shelters to radio ads and, of course, those “For Sale” signs in front of all your listings.
2. Include your location. Including your location in your domain is useful for your customers and search engines. For example, you may be selling real estate in Loveland, Ohio, but if you’re not clear on your site, you may start getting questions from Loveland, Colorado. Some location-based domain extensions available now include .nyc, .boston and .la.
3. Use new domain extensions. If your area doesn’t have a location-based extension yet, you also can get creative using other new domain extensions including:
4. Be unique. It’s tempting when you see a competitor doing well to try to follow in their footsteps. Online, it’s even more important to be distinct. An online visitor can’t remember the smell of home-baked sugar cookies you bring to every open house (instead of the standard vanilla citrus trick simmering on the stove), so you need other elements of your site to stand out. This can include your domain and brand name.
Determining if your domain name is available
Once you’ve created a short list of potential domain names, it’s time to see what’s available. Unfortunately, just plugging it into your browser doesn’t always work. Sometimes domains are owned but still go to a “site not found” page because the owner hasn’t actually built their website.
To find out if your top domain choice is available, use the GoDaddy domain search tool. Enter your preferred domain name in the search bar and one of two things will happen:
Your domain will be available. From here, you’ll be prompted to complete your domain registration and add it to your cart.
Your domain will already be owned. If this is the case, you’ll get a list of similar suggestions to choose from. You can choose one of these domains that meets the criteria above, or you can start a new search with another domain from your list.