If you’re toying with the idea of running your own real estate business, one of your first tasks is researching real estate company names. And we all know that no self-respecting agent can afford to choose a business name without first checking to make sure the matching domain name is available. Lucky for you, I’m fresh off a gig as the domains writer for the world’s largest domain registrar — so I have a few expert tips to share.
Business naming in the digital era
A long, long time ago, probably before you were born, naming a real estate agency was simple. All you had to do was add “real estate agency” to your last name and order a sign to hang over your office door. Next!
What’s more, building up a clientele was mostly a telephone-driven affair — and I mean the landline variety (remember those?). You also went to networking events, joined the Chamber of Commerce, and made friends at the local country club and neighborhood church. Over time, people came to know and trust you. Whenever anyone decided to move or needed office space, they thought of you.
You don’t need me to tell you that things have changed. Over 70 percent of the people surveyed by Bank of America in a recent report say they sleep with their smartphones (3 percent sleep with their phone in hand!).
So it shouldn’t come as any surprise that the majority of homebuyers turn to the web first when looking to buy a home. Heck, my husband and I look up trivia on our smartphones nonstop (what is the name of that guy who plays the lead in “Bosch?”). Of course people go online — probably from their phones — to research homes the minute they get the itch. That’s why your company name (and by default your domain name) need careful consideration.
Keep your consonants close, your vowels closer
Now I don’t know this for a fact, but my guess is that Flickr, Tumblr and the like got their company names because Flicker.com and Tumbler.com weren’t available when these businesses were started. Although it’s turned out well for these two, that’s not always the case.
Don’t get me wrong — I’m Czech and lived for years in a town with a Slavic history, where you can still see names like Svoboda (pronounced Sah-vah-boda) on storefronts. But I know that intentionally misspelling a domain name is asking for trouble because some (many?) people will type in the correct spelling when looking for your business online.
But what do you get when you type Tumbler.com into Google? A website that sells cups.
So let’s say you make like Tumblr and register a misspelling of a proper word for your agency’s official domain name. If the correctly spelled version of your domain name happens to be registered to someone else, your prospective clients will see their website, not yours, when they look for you online. How confusing for everyone.
Since you want to find a domain that coordinates, choosing real estate company names isn’t as easy as it first looked.
But back to the good news
Until recently, your digital naming choices were limited to .com. True, it’s still the most popular domain extension in the world and the one that people will automatically assume you have. The problem is, over the last 30 years, most of the best (i.e., shortest and most memorable) .com domain names have already been claimed.
Now, however, you have a whole bunch of domain extensions to choose from, some that even describe the kinds of services real estate agents provide. Check these out:
These new naming options are marketing gold. Think about it — how great would it be to own something like homes.forsale? “Homes for sale” are exactly the words many house hunters type into Google when looking for new digs. Same goes for “house” and “rent.” Really, what could be better or more memorable than a web address that mirrors your clients’ very thoughts?
Closing tips on real estate company names
Homes.forsale is already gone, but you still have tons of options. Remember — these new domains have only been around for a few years, so they’re wide open.
Here are some tips on finding a domain names that would make terrific real estate company names:
- Add your last name before .agency for a sleek, simple web address that will be easy for clients to remember.
- Get creative and try adding your city, neighborhood or street to .rent.
- Sprechen Sie Deutsch? Try .immobilien, the German word for real estate. Or .casa, if you cater to Spanish- or Italian-speaking house hunters.
Go ahead, give it a try:
If you need some help coming up with company name ideas, try out our Business Name Generator.
Troubleshooting domain names
In a perfect world, all real estate agents would get the real estate company names they want on their first try. Since this isn’t a perfect world, here are a couple of tips to help you get a web address you’ll be proud of for years to come.
I found a great name, but somebody else has it.
If you find the name you really want is taken already, you could always contact the owner and see if they’re interested in selling it. Or let us do it for you. You should know this may not be the most cost-effective choice, as owners can charge whatever they like for it.
I already have a domain name I’ve been using for my website.
If you’re among the 93 percent of NAR members who have a website, you’re already using a domain name for your web address. Maybe it was given to you when you joined your brokerage, or you chose it long ago. It now has marketing value, since your web address has become familiar to repeat and former clients over time. No need to touch it.
Let’s face it, Raleigh.rent is easier to remember and share with friends than facebook.com/Carly-Ballon-Wildwood-Realty-163257351671472/.
But if you promote your business on social media, you might want to consider getting another domain name that leads directly to your Facebook or Instagram page. Your spiffy new web address will take house hunters to whichever of your social profiles you choose.
Also published on Medium.