Getting your website right really matters. According to a 2015 survey by the National Association of Realtors, 88% of buyers searched online for a home — and 42 percent started their homebuying experience online.
After all the hard work you have done fixing up a property, one of your most important marketing tools is online. With that in mind, here are some of the basic features a real estate website should have.
1 – Be Visual
Captivating images are key to the success of your real estate website — and for making a sale. With the various kinds of technology available like modern cell phones to capture photos and videos, affordable point-and-shoot cameras, and digital editing tools, there’s no excuse for not giving shoppers a clear idea of exactly what you’re offering by including large, high-quality photographs.
Every room or living space should be shown– and don’t forget exterior shots of the front and back of the home and any landscaping. Ideally, present your pictures in a gallery format, so people can simply click to see a larger version.
2 – Be Helpful
Always make all the relevant information–like the home’s address and asking price–easy to find. Once you have done the hard work of intriguing potential buyers, don’t frustrate them by making them contact you for the price.
The property details you include online are second in importance to the photography, so be sure to tell everyone what makes this home special.
A few top selling points include:
- luxury features
- unique materials
- customized finishes
- designer touches
- extensive storage spaces
- in-law suites
- built-in technology
- energy-efficient enhancements
- impressive outdoor living spaces
In particular, upgrades in the kitchen can be a huge selling point, especially if there are new brand-name appliances, fancy countertops, or other high-end features like multiple dishwashers, a coffee bar, pizza oven, or wine storage.
While not as vital as the other aspects of your site, many buyers will appreciate a 360-degree virtual tour or video/slideshow, before-and-after property photos, floor plans, and map links. For some ideas, check out NashvilleFlipped.com from Troy Dean Shafer, host of “Nashville Flipped” on HGTV.
After you have successfully made a sale, that property can still help you. Update your listing to show that the home is no longer available, but keep the basic information and photographs online. These pages will increase your presence in search engines, and demonstrate to current buyers and agents the depth of your remodeling expertise.
3 – Be Organized
When building your website, arrange the content logically, organizing topics by category. For example, in the top navigation bar, you might have headings such as:
- Photos or Portfolio: Collect the best and most representative pictures of your various projects and put them in a gallery on a single page.
- Properties: If you have remodeled multiple buildings, give each one its own section on your site, and link to them all under this category.
- About: Explain who you are and what you do – this is your chance to sell yourself and your experience. Include client testimonials here – ideally with before-and-after photos – or if you have several endorsements, give them their own page.
- Local Resources: Helpful neighborhood information about schools, parks, businesses, etc.
- Contact: Offer a variety of ways to reach you, plus any social media pages and links to your profiles (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Zillow, Trulia, Redfin, Homesnap, Pinterest, etc.).
- Blog: If you like to write or offer advice, consider keeping a blog on your site. This can also feature videos, construction photos, and anything else that will entice visitors, build your reputation, and generate sales. For some blogging ideas, check out It’s Great to be Home and this feature on Remodelaholic.
4 – Be Professional
Can you create your website yourself? If you have previous web design experience and consider yourself to be at or near a professional level, absolutely. Otherwise, hiring a designer with experience on real estate sites will be well worth the investment.
When it comes to web hosting, skip the free websites that could make you seem amateur, or like you don’t care enough to invest in your own business. To find a good designer, your best bet is to look for businesses in the real estate, remodeling and construction markets, and see which sites really appeal to you. You can save these links to show a potential designer, or go straight to the source and contact the person or company behind the design.
5 – Be Available
Is it easy to find out how to contact you to ask questions or arrange a viewing? It will be if you include your email address and phone number in the footer of every page. Consider also adding an online contact form so people can send a message directly through your site.
Of course, respond to every lead promptly, and check your spam filter regularly in case a message didn’t make it into your inbox.
6 – Be Ready
By using lots of great pictures and being up front with the price and other important details, you are making it easy for buyers to fall in love with what you’re offering. At the same time, you will reduce the time spent on false leads — people who don’t like the location, need a certain feature that’s not available (like handicap access or a three-car garage), or simply can’t afford the cost.
So get your real estate website set up and get ready! With your construction skills, business savvy, and these guidelines, you’ll soon be able to update your site to reflect the home’s new status: SOLD.
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