Must-have Technology for Real Estate Websites

A letter from Jane

Hi! Jane here!

Once upon a time I worked in the real estate industry. My second job out of college, I grew into a regional coordinator role. Not only did I get to work with and support some amazing professionals and do some traveling, I was able to hone my design skills and learn a bit about marketing specific to that industry. In 2009, I started my own business and the rest is history. Attracting real estate clients licensed in Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania happened pretty organically. Encouraged by Swan-Boss Jenn, I wanted to share some of the technology for real estate websites that allows agents to keep up with the way buyers and sellers prefer to do business.
To put this in perspective, let’s look at the data:

Real Estate Agents in Delaware

Real Estate Agents in Maryland

Real Estate Agents in Pennsylvania

Wow. Talk about competition!

Technology for real estate websites sure has changed since I left the industry in 2009 — and so has buyer & seller expectations of their agent. Agents frequently struggle to make a decision on whether or not to invest in their own property search feature for their website.

Challenge #1 — As most things, it comes down to cost — hundreds to thousands of dollars for the luxury of keeping the buyer browsing on your website instead of competitors like trulia, zillow, etc. Getting leads on these sites is quite pricey.

Challenge #2 — Adding one that is attractive and easy to use while still providing all the advanced search filters like central air, number of bedrooms, square footage, lot size, garage, and so forth.

Challenge #3 — Although many leading real estate brokerages provide their agents with their own business cards, microsite, and lead capturing system, the downside is that you look the same as everyone else and things may not work the way you want.

Challenge #4 — If an agent ever decides to swap brokerages, they are going to lose access to all that branding and website features, at least how they knew them.

Let’s dive into what we recommend for our clients to give them that competitive edge while still keeping their brand and marketing independent — and looking just a bit nicer than everyone else. (What can I say? I’ve got a competitive spirit!)

Must-have Technology for Real Estate Websites

Design your real estate website as a Self Hosted WordPress (WP) —If you can dream it, the WP platform can do it. It also has sooo many integrations, practically making your website a personal assistant.

IDX software — Buyers can search directly on your website, keeping them inhouse and one step closer to calling you. After using a handful over the years, my favorite has been Showcase IDX. Why we like it:

    • It’s super attractive, much more than some competitors.
    • No setup fees (except for BrandSwan to install and configure on your behalf)
    • No credit card required to test drive
    • Starts at an affordable $60/mo.
    • It’s mobile friendly
    • Includes SEO optimization tools
    • Walkscore & Bikescore
    • Customized colors & fonts
    • Yes, this does in fact cover the Bright MLS!
    • And most importantly it includes an Integrated CRM — this is key to getting and following up with leads.
    • Want an example? Give our client peoples.properties a whirl.

e-Signing services like Dotloop and DocusignGetting contracts and other things signed electronically saves time and allows easy record-keeping for all parties. There are lots to choose from!

Virtual Tours — more than ever, being able to show a client a home virtually is paramount and here to stay. This allows buyers to view houses safely and choosing to visit ones that are truly contenders.

Zillow has a free app called Zillow 3d Home Tour. You can use this app to make your own virtual tours even if you don’t use Zillow. AND it works for both iphone and android.

Homes with virtual tours get 50% more saves and sell 10% faster

I hope what I’ve learned over the years helps. Don’t worry! Even though technology is here to stay, it doesn’t mean robots will be replacing real estate agents anytime soon. Your expertise, as always, is highly valued.

If you’re an agent looking to rebrand, remarket, and embrace web technology to get more clients, we’re your wingwomen.

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