So you’re ready to take your real estate business online in the form of a stunning, attention-grabbing website. The question is, do you build your own real estate website or do you go the professionally developed route?
Although both options have their upsides, they’re not equally suitable to every real estate agent’s vision for their site.
In this article, we go over the pros and cons of DIYing your real estate website versus having it professionally developed, as well as the best options available for each option today.
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Weighing your options
The decision to build your own real estate website using a website builder shouldn’t be taken lightly. Although there are a lot of benefits to the DIY option, the choice comes with significant challenges and drawbacks.
To simplify the decision-making process, here are the most important pros and cons to consider if you want to build your own real estate website.
DIY website pros
- It costs less. Most DIY website builders have packages at a range of different price points. If you decide to build your own real estate website, you could save hundreds or even thousands of dollars compared.
- Your schedule is flexible. You can build your own real estate website on your own time while prioritizing pages and features that are most important to your business.
- You don’t need coding skills. With a real estate website builder, you don’t need any coding skills to create a professional-looking website. Most website builders use a drag-and-drop design interface that makes it simple to build your own real estate website.
DIY website cons
- Customization is limited. Although most website builders offer great customization features, they do have their limits. Due to the user-friendly nature of website builders, they can’t offer the same high level of customization as a professional web design company.
- It’s time-consuming. Despite the simple, user-friendly setup most website builders offer, creating the perfect website that reflects your brand image and caters to your ideal client can take a lot of time and effort.
- You have to stay on top of updates. Website builders rely heavily on plugins to provide the right features for you to build your own real estate website. Unfortunately, plugins need to be upgraded frequently to remain functional, and keeping track of the updates while maintaining their compatibility with your website can be tedious and frustrating.
- It requires a lot of research and learning. Website builders simplify the design process, but there’s a lot more that goes into building the perfect real estate website. Implementing SEO, integrating IDX, and setting up web traffic analytics all require research and going through numerous guides to complete effectively.
Popular DIY website builders
Not all website builders are suitable for you to build your own real estate website yourself. If you choose to go the DIY route, here are two of the best website builders available today.
Squarespace is a powerful, all-around website builder with much to offer if you want to build your own real estate website.
Its features include:
- Hundreds of customizable template designs
- Powerful design tools like built-in photo editing, animations, and video integration
- Custom code compatibility
- Direct linking to your social accounts
However, Squarespace also has significant limitations when it comes to creating real estate industry-specific designs. IDX integration, lead-capturing, SEO, and traffic conversion can all be difficult to manage compared to using a professional web design firm.
The most beginner-friendly option on this list, Wix is extremely easy to use while still offering a wide range of customization and functional tools to build your own real estate website.
Some of Wix’s standout features are:
- More than 800 templates to choose from
- Specialized SEO tools to help your website rank
- Excellent customer support
Despite its reputation as one of the best website builders on the market, there are limitations to Wix’s abilities.
When to outsource website development
The importance of a stunning website is difficult to overstate in the real estate industry. Over 90% of home buyers search online during the home buying process, which means the website serves as a powerful lead generation tool when built right.
Although some brokerages offer a free microsite for their agents to use, it’s usually only an extension of the brokerage’s brand and won’t do anything to help you establish your personal brand. So if you have your sights set on growing and scaling your real estate business and image in a meaningful way, a professional website is probably your best option.
Although professionally designed websites cost more and somewhat reduce the control you have over the design process, they offer significant benefits such as:
- Fully customizable designs. Professional website designers build your website from scratch, which gives them limitless customization abilities.
- Powerful lead generation and capturing capabilities. Web design firms in the real estate industry understand the importance of lead generation and conversion. Working with them gives you access to high-level tools to boost your lead-capturing abilities.
- Media-centric designs and optimization. Not all website builders can handle media-heavy designs or the optimization necessary to make these designs easy and quick to navigate. Professional website designers are pros at seamlessly integrating flawless media while keeping your website navigation fast across all types of devices.
- Powerful, professional finished product. No matter how much time and effort you put into your DIY website, without the right skills and software, you won’t be able to achieve the same polished, sleek appearance or overall aesthetic a professionally designed website offers.
- Responsive customer and technical support. Unlike website builders, professional design firms have highly experienced technical support teams to quickly fix bugs and resolve your problems and website-related queries.
Choosing a professionally developed real estate website
Below are the top six real estate website design firms in the industry today.
1. Luxury Presence
Luxury Presence is a comprehensive real estate website design and content creation firm specializing in real estate websites and marketing that’s optimized for lead generation and conversion. Catering to the luxury property market, the design team at Luxury Presence knows exactly what it takes to build a powerful real estate website that brings its clients’ ideas and visions to life.
The services and features that set Luxury Presence’s website design solution apart include:
- Award-winning designs
- Multi-device optimization
- High-converting IDX integration
- Industry-leading SEO
- Seamless CRM integration
- Custom property website capabilities
- Sleek CMA and listing presentation templates
Trusted by over 7,000 agents and teams, including 20 of the WSJ’s Top 100 Agents, Luxury Presence caters to every design request its clients have. In addition to creating stunning websites, the firm’s proprietary CMS, Presence™️ works similarly to a website builder and allows agents to make edits and design changes directly to their website on their own.
Boomtown is a comprehensive website design and online service provider that specializes in the real estate industry.
Some of Boomtown’s most popular features are:
- Lead nurturing tools and capabilities
- Advanced website analytics
- Intelligent CRM integration
- Comprehensive site customization abilities
Despite its powerful web services, the design process with Boomtown is much less personal and individualized than that of Luxury Presence.
With real estate lead generation at its core, CINC is a great choice for agents looking to prioritize traffic conversion while taking advantage of powerful online tools such as:
- Auto-optimized ads that boost lead quality
- Highly personalized IDX website integration
Unfortunately, customization is limited on CINC websites, and the IDX website they create to boost lead generation remains under their ownership.
4. Agent Image
With more than 20,000 websites launched for realtors and agencies, Agent Image is an excellent website design agency providing numerous sought-after features such as:
- Lead generation tools
- Responsive designs across multiple devices
- Ownership of a complete WordPress site
With speed as its top priority, Placester can have your custom real estate website up and running within a week. Despite this significant time constraint, the company still offers sought-after features like:
- Fully responsive designs across various devices
- Highly customizable designs and templates
- Comprehensive online support
With a focus on catering to both buyers and sellers, Curaytor offers unique web design services appreciated by thousands of agents nationwide.
Some of its most popular services and features include:
- Listing-centric designs
- SEO-friendly content and layouts
- Seamless IDX integration
- Customizable landing pages
It’s important to note that although Curaytor offers customizable websites, they are still built based on adjustable templates.
What are the pros and cons of using a DIY real estate website builder?
There are several pros and cons when it comes to using a real estate website builder to build your own real estate website:
The pros include:
- Lower costs
- Flexible design schedule
- You don’t need coding skills
While the cons include:
- Limited customization
- The process is time-consuming
- Updating plugins is tedious
- It has a steep learning curve
Do website builders own your real estate website?
Most website builders own your real estate website. As a result, you won’t be able to transfer your website to another platform once you’ve built it using a website builder.
How long does it take for a web designer to build a real estate website?
On average, building a great website takes a professional designer between two and four months, although times can vary depending on the design agency. Professional real estate website design companies like Luxury Presence can have your website up and running in as little as one to two weeks.
How many hours does it take to build a basic real estate website?
For a basic design, it takes between two and 20 hours to build your own real estate website using a real estate website builder.