Create the perfect real estate website with none of the work and worry of managing it yourself with SaaS.
Trying to build a website from scratch—whether it’s via off-the-shelf software, open-source tools such as WordPress, or doling out upwards of five figures to a dedicated developer—is not a simple undertaking. Unless you have an extensive IT background or endless amounts of capital, it can prove a daunting and overwhelming task.
And, if we’re completely honest, it’s an endeavor that you and your team probably have very little time for if you hope to grow your real estate business. This is why SaaS is such a valuable tool for enhancing your organization’s internet presence.
What is SaaS?
There’s no doubt you’ve heard about or seen the term SaaS—and there’s an even better chance you’re using some form of SaaS right now. But what is it exactly, and why does it make sense for your real estate website?
Well, if you’re of a certain age, you probably recall the dark ages of on-premises computer software—a time where you (or your IT department) had to buy a big box of discs and download that software to an office computer (and every other computer in your office).
If you can’t remember that far back, feel free to ignore that last statement and appreciate that cloud-based computing has eliminated the draconian exercise of physical on-site software management.
Why is that important? SaaS, or Software as a Service, is one of three core tiers of cloud-based computing. (Infrastructure as a Service and Platform as a Service are the other two). Together, they’ve simplified computing, including the development and management of highly polished, professional websites.
Specifically, SaaS is a business model in which third-party companies develop and host web-based applications. Those applications are then offered to consumers as a subscription-based service.
The SaaS approach to software management is the most widely used cloud application service today, with nearly 80% of businesses utilizing at least one SaaS application. 86% claim that almost all of their applications will be SaaS within the next three years.
And going back to our earlier statement that you probably already use some form of SaaS, if you utilize Google’s GSuite, Microsoft Office 365, Zoom, or Netflix, then you’re firmly entrenched with SaaS software.
With all of that in mind, let’s take a look at why SaaS is the right choice for your real estate website.
You Don’t Have to Sweat the Small Stuff
On-premise or open-source software requires a lot of work and constant attention. It’s almost akin to having a newborn baby that never grows up. But instead of feeding and rocking and changing, you have to constantly manage and update and upgrade. It’s a never-ending cycle that takes you away from building your client base and growing your business.
When employing SaaS as your website solution, the constant upkeep and maintenance is no longer your burden to carry.
You don’t have to make accommodations for hosting, infrastructure, and ongoing updates (hardware, software, security, or otherwise). There’s no need to lose sleep over whether your site design is responsive and optimized for use across all platforms and devices. Your SaaS website provider does all of this for you as part of your subscription plan.
Minimal Investment, High Return
Third-party SaaS website management also means substantial cost savings on your part. There’s no need to install pricey software on any of your devices. Instead, initial set-up and ongoing subscription fees are flexible. The amount you pay is based on the services you want, whether it’s to attract an audience, spotlight properties, sell a lifestyle, or all of the above.
And, because you don’t have to spend time fiddling with the software or worrying about infrastructure needs, you don’t need to employ an IT expert or team of specialists to manage it for you.
Now you can devote your time and resources to outreach, marketing, and client service and retention. After all, you got into real estate to help people buy and sell luxury properties, not manage a website.
Need Updates, Will Travel
That said, you still want to retain control over how your website looks and feels and the content with which it’s populated. This is the stuff you want to sweat. You know what your potential clients want to see and which pictures, videos, virtual tours, or social media campaigns will draw them in.
Additionally, do you want easy access to traffic and lead numbers? Or the ability to link your MLS feed to your agent or broker site to create new featured listings or enhance current ones? You can do all of this and more through a SaaS website.
Many of the best SaaS website providers offer intuitive dashboards, page builders, blog publishers, or listing managers—all-in-one, easy-to-use control centers that allow you to see who’s coming and going on your website and make timely updates that keep you one step ahead of the market.
Best of all, it’s accessible no matter where you are or regardless of what platform or device you’re using. That means regardless of your operating system (Microsoft Windows, Apple macOS, Linux, Android, Apple iOS), your internet browser (Microsoft Explorer or Edge, Google Chrome, Apple Safari, Mozilla’s Firefox), or the device you’re using (smartphone, tablet, laptop, PC), your website is accessible.
Make Your Site Your Own
SaaS might seem like a one-size-fits-all approach, and it’s true that there were once limits on the amount that SaaS personalization could provide across a broad reach of clients. However, technology has advanced to the point that the simplicity of a SaaS website masks deep customization capabilities.
In most instances, you and your service provider can create a site that is as broad or as narrow as your requirements demand. Many SaaS providers have an underlying structure that can create a multitude of different website designs while maintaining a consistent level of quality, features, and support across their entire platform.
Also, advancing integrations means that your SaaS website can connect with other third-party tools you’re already using. Services such as Zendesk, HubSpot, Mailchimp, Salesforce, or Office 365 blend seamlessly with your website, extending its functionality and usefulness for you and your team.
And yes, all that customization means you get the exact type of website you want. Prefer to focus on high-res photos and impressive video presentations? Done. Appreciate sites that offer personalized dashboards, integrations, reporting, and analytics features? Also done. Need a site that promotes you, your team, and your brand? SaaS website providers white-label your presentation better than anyone.
Data is the New Currency
Visits, views, leads, conversions—whatever the category, it all comes down to data. If you don’t possess the capabilities to accurately capture and make sense of the coming and goings on your website, then your site might as well be as empty as a vacant lot.
Because SaaS websites operate as a centralized platform, data capture and analytics is a far easier proposition than attempting to manage it all yourself. What your SaaS subscription gets you is actionable, real-time insights, viewable from your personalized dashboard. It also provides in-depth reporting capabilities that allow you to make sense of the data most meaningful to your operations.
Fits Like a Glove
Finally, what might be one of the most underrated benefits to a SaaS website might also prove one of its most advantageous: scalability. Without question, one of the primary draws for SaaS is that even small or newly minted real estate startups can possess a high-end website. And you can scale it and its functionality to keep your budget lean.
But, as you grow, your SaaS website easily scales with you. You can quickly and effortlessly add integrations, move up subscription pricing tiers (which means more bells and whistles), and broaden your website’s exposure.
In other words, much like a will-timed home improvement add-on, your website evolves as your real estate business does. So regardless if you find yourself in a growth stage, taking a wait-and-see approach to your future, or are amid a reorganization, your website will look and perform at its most optimal level to fit your needs.
When it comes time to create your real estate website, you have two options—do it yourself or let someone else do it for you. While having total control over your web presence is tempting, ask yourself if you have the time or resources to commit to the venture. Better yet, ask if you want to spend your real estate career building websites or helping clients fulfill their dreams of homeownership.
SaaS provides you just the right amount of flexibility, customization, and affordability to build a home on the internet that’s worthy of your brand. All you have to do is move in.