As a real estate agent, your website is one of your greatest tools. This digital business card speaks volumes about who you are as an agent and is often the first time potential clients learn about you.
Whether you are designing your first business site or are considering rebranding to an existing platform, there are several questions to consider before embarking on your website renovation.
Here we’ll take a look at the three website types, how to choose the best real estate website design for your business, and how you can develop your own sleek, award-winning website.
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In the early days of digital marketing, just having a website was enough to make a splash. Bold colors and text blocking were the norms, and most website developers had not yet honed their skills for nuanced designs and effortless navigation. But in today’s era of technological expertise, websites are judged in seconds. That means visitors to your site will form an opinion of you, and your ability to serve them, based on the first glimpse of your home page or property website.
According to research, you get as little as 50 milliseconds to make a digital impression before a potential client will decide to stick around for more or move on to another search engine result. If you are unsatisfied with your current site’s traffic and activity, consider a website redesign to increase lead generation, land new clients, and establish yourself as a stylish and savvy real estate expert.
The three main website types
Your real estate business and your approach to clients are unique, and it’s important that your website reflects that individuality. There are three real estate website design types you can choose from based on your experience, time constraints, and financial fluidity. Let’s take a look at template, semi-custom, and custom real estate website design options to help determine which works best for you.
Template real estate website design
Template refers to a pre-built website with a little more than a copy-and-paste function. You can insert photos and text into the template’s existing framework, and choose from a small selection of fonts and colors. There is little flexibility with moving sections or images, and mobile viewing may be questionable unless the template is optimized to be mobile responsive. The way your site appears on mobile devices is crucial – research from the National Association of Realtors shows 76% of prospective buyers use their phones or tablets to view homes.
These limited options are what keep costs so low, as templates do not require the design precision of a custom site. This can be a fine option if you have a limited budget, are comfortable with a basic look, and just need to get something pulled together quickly. Keep in mind, though, if you go with a template you may still need to work with a developer to integrate IDX software.
Semi-custom real estate website design
A semi-custom site combines the copy-and-paste features of the template with customizable sections allowing for HTML or CSS coding. Most of the code is already written, so semi-custom sites can be finished quickly. As with templates, you may still need to do IDX formatting yourself, or with the help of a developer. Semi-custom sites are best for those with some knowledge and patience for the design process, or agents with access to a knowledgeable developer.
In terms of cost, semi-custom sites are a bit misleading. You will often see these marketed as affordable alternatives for smaller businesses, but the seemingly bite-sized semi-custom site costs can add up. Each new feature you use, like an email list builder, can require an extra fee for the necessary plugin.
Custom real estate website design
Custom sites are the top tier of real estate website design options and offer the highest level of creative control. Ideal for agents, this real estate website design can be tailored entirely to your business, personality, and client approach, and there is no limit to design features. Custom designs can not only be structured for your specific target audience, but are also easily integrated with IDX software. First-class designers are worth their weight in gold, and while this option comes with a higher price point, Luxury Presence clients routinely credit custom sites with seriously leveling up their business.
Which real estate website design option should you choose?
As you’ve seen, each real estate website design option has benefits and drawbacks – the best fit for you depends on everything from how established you are as an agent to your target launch deadlines. Discussing your needs with a real estate marketing specialist will ensure you make the right decision for your brand. These are a few factors to consider:
If you work with a brokerage firm, you may need to adhere to branding guidelines concerning font, color, and layout. Strict formatting rules generally work best with a custom website, as this allows for comprehensive revisions. A template works well for those with more creative freedom over their personal site.
Website templates are perfect for agents who have a straightforward approach to their site. For those who wish to put a more tailored stamp on their digital platform, a custom option allows for more freedom with the creative elements of the real estate website design.
What kind of statement would you like to make with your site? As you’ve already seen, templates offer the most limited selection of design elements, while custom sites are virtually limitless. When choosing, consider what you wish to accomplish with your website. If you simply want to check web presence off your to-do list, a template might be fine. But if you are serious about lead generation, increased traffic, high conversions, and a seamless combination of form and function, the custom real estate website design option is an excellent investment.
Desired launch date
If you have a simple website design in mind and want to be up and running quickly, a placeholder template can serve you well. But if you have the time and would like to explore design features, a custom site is the perfect choice. Though, experienced real estate website design companies like Luxury Presence marry award-winning design with speed to deliver websites in as little as one to two weeks.
Specificity of features
While certain features are standard on templates, advanced features require a higher level of design skill. For example, Luxury Presence clients have gained impressive momentum with the home valuation tool. This kind of custom site detail generates strong seller leads and updates in real-time for an effortless user experience.
Where you are in your career may determine how much focus to put on your real estate website design. Established agents generally prefer custom sites, which offer ample opportunity to show off extensive portfolios and feature sleek property landing pages.
Custom websites are designed from the ground up with search engine optimization in mind, meaning your optimization features are fundamentally built into your site. Because they are tailored to your specific audience, custom sites boast higher search rankings and lower bounce rates. If organic traffic and lead generation are high on your list of priorities, a custom real estate website design is the best option.
The average person’s attention span is said to be eight seconds and dwindling. This means your website has only eight seconds to capture the interest of a prospective client, so your site’s performance is critical to your success. While the need for some website-building tools can fluctuate depending on the individual agent’s situation and the goals they choose to focus on, website performance and speed are always non-negotiable. Custom sites ensure seamless performance and quick response times, while templates can suffer from slow loading times, especially if your site requires several plugins.
Working with a professional real estate website design company
Once you have chosen the right real estate website design option for you, the next step is to find the perfect developer to bring your vision to life. So how do you choose the right website developer?
There are several businesses offering similar services, but take care when choosing. While firms like Agent Image, Boomtown, Cinc, and Curaytor are real estate-focused, not all provide complete marketing and management services.
For example, Agent Image focuses on internet marketing and does not offer maintenance essentials like customer relationship management, also known as CRM.
Placester provides extensive services but uses templates for many of its designs, as opposed to Luxury Presence which fully customizes each of its premium design frameworks to perfectly match your brand, so every agent can enjoy a unique real estate website design.
Luxury Presence features strong SEO practices, high-converting IDX integrated pages, and unparalleled lead generation strategically designed to take your business to the next level. The company is consistently recognized for its sophisticated designs and ability to help clients grow their businesses. Get started with a team of real estate marketing experts to start working on your new real estate website design.