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Many people who want to buy or rent housing do not bother walking around offices or even ringing the ads of realtors. They google, go to agency websites, look at the available offers, and contact the manager. Those who want to get more clients and profit need a website. These are modern realities. But how to build a real estate website? We will tell you in our new article.
How to build a custom real estate website [General overview]
Today we will look at all the main aspects of creating a real estate website. In this article, we have collected all our experience and knowledge in developing real estate products. After reading this article, you will find answers to the following questions:
- How will your business benefit from creating a real estate website?
- How to build a real estate website from A to Z?
- What trends should you pay attention to in 2023?
- What are the main requirements for real estate websites in 2023?
- What are the main challenges you face in the process of creating a product?
- What basic and advanced features should you add to your real estate website?
- Which monetization strategy is better to choose?
- How much does it cost to build a real estate website and how long can it take you?
Also, in this article, you will learn a lot about our experience creating real estate websites, and our team will share their success secrets.
What is a Real Estate Web Application?
How to build a real estate website that will make a profit? Let’s first figure out what a real estate web application is.
A real estate web application is a multi-page business card or even a landing page. It all depends on the size of the business. There are a large number of types of real estate websites. For example, it can be a real estate marketplace, a site with a list of brokers, investment sites, property management websites, etc.
A real estate website can be a simple or complex project that implements links between a database of houses, realtors and clients. There should be a real estate catalog with descriptions, terms of cooperation, services, prices, feedback form, and other types of contacts. Also, a blog will not hurt. It will help expand the base of key phrases and provide helpful information to those wishing to buy or rent housing.
The main types of real estate websites you can build
You know how difficult it may be whether you’re the one who sells, purchases, or leases property. Each case has its own set of challenges, as does each job. As a result, we arrive at a very natural conclusion: build a real estate website for distinct user roles with varying capabilities.
Here are four of the most common types of real estate websites to consider:
Property listing websites
A real estate website where users may locate properties for sale or rent is known as a property listing website. In contrast to a real estate marketplace, for example, homeowners often need the assistance of an agent to advertise their property.
Real estate marketplaces
The real estate market acts as a go-between for homeowners and buyers/renters. Property owners may use the platform to advertise their estate, establish an approximate price, and attract clients. Buyers, on the other hand, may search for a property and view images, floor plans, and general descriptions.
Real estate aggregators
A real estate aggregator is a website that aggregates property advertising from many websites and puts them on one. Real estate aggregators are one of the most efficient models to discover a home to purchase or rent since they allow you to evaluate the price, location, size, and condition of many properties all in one spot.
Property management websites
Homeowners are the focus of property management websites. They are in complete control of their property and potential clients. Property management websites are often focused on residential and commercial properties.
However, there are still other different types of real estate websites that are popular. Our team worked on some such real estate projects:
- Real estate CRM website
- Real estate ERP website
- Marketing automation website
- Property management website
- Inventory management website
- Asset management website
- HOA management website
- Home valuation website
- Construction management website
- Accounting website
If you are planning to develop one of the types of real estate presented above, we are ready to help you with it. Contact us, and we will discuss your project!
Why should you build a custom real estate website?
Why is it so important today to create a custom real estate website? The fact is that today there are a huge number of real estate websites, and, unfortunately, they are all similar, and there is no uniqueness at all.
After studying your potential audience, you can offer them something new using custom website creation. People are tired of monotonous websites and landing pages. Today, people take their time to find something new and more valuable. By creating a custom real estate website, you can add unique functionality, make a great user experience and, as a result, attract a large number of customers.
Also, you need to remember that if you want to overtake your competitors and be number 1 in the real estate industry, you need to implement interesting technological solutions. Ready-made solutions limit businesses in many ways, so it is better to choose custom solutions.
How to Build a Real Estate Website With Northell? [Experience and Cases]
Our team has great experience in real estate web application development. We know how to design a real estate website that will attract customers’ attention and subsequently make a profit.
One of our customers, Agent Scout, a USA real estate platform, came to us with a ready-made site template and general product idea. They contacted us because their concept did not work, and our main task was to make sure that users could use the platform both for buying and selling real estate.
Our team collected all the entry requirements from our customer and identified specific challenges for further work:
- build a strong and clear product logic to make the user experience smoother;
- create a clear product information architecture to organize a large amount of data;
- automate the determination of the user’s location;
- reorganize all platform data to make the product understandable and easy to use.
Working on this project, we have completely changed and simplified the customer’s idea. Here are some of the results we achieved:
- We have improved the logic of the platform and made it easy to use.
- Our team сreated UI/UX design for the desktop version of the platform.
- We also created the design for some platform pages for the mobile version.
In general, the customer was satisfied with the work done. We will tell you more about this project later. Well, if you are looking for a team of professionals to whom you can entrust your project, contact us. We will be happy to discuss all the details of your project and offer our options for implementing your idea.
How to Build a Real Estate Website in 8 steps: Guide for Owners
Now is the time to discuss what steps real estate web application development consists of. The real estate web application development process is rather long and arduous.
However, our team has created a small guide based on their experience. In it, you will find answers to many of your questions regarding real estate web application development. You will also be able to organize the real estate website development process better.
Step 1. Build a Real Estate Website Idea and define your goals
How to design a real estate website and succeed? To make the real estate web application development process successful, start with an idea and define your goals.
Earlier, we have already talked a lot about how important a product’s idea and uniqueness are.
It would help if you also defined your goals. Why do you want to create a real estate website? What is your ultimate goal? What do you want to get in the end? Defining goals will help you build a plan correctly and all processes in general.
Step 2. Write real estate website requirements
Real estate website requirements are needed so that your development team has a clear idea of what needs to be created. Without precise requirements, you will rush from side to side. In this case, the real estate web application development process will turn into chaos.
Usually, the design requirements document includes the following things:
- Full project overview
- Main needs and goals
- Target audience
- Functional requirements and desired set of features
- Aesthetic aspects
- Non-functional details
- Recommendation and prohibitions
You can read more about creating such a document in our article How To Write The Design Specification? [Quick Guide].
Step 3: Hire design & development team
Next, you should find and hire a good design and development team. Many people ask the same question about how to design a real estate website quickly and efficiently. Our answer is to hire a good and reliable team.
You can find a great team using social networks (like Linkedin), ranking sites (like Clutch.co), or asking colleagues and friends. When hiring, it is essential to evaluate the team’s experience, portfolio, feedback from past clients, knowledge and skills.
To know more information about design and development team hiring, read our recent article How to Hire a Dedicated Software Development Team? You can also check this one: How to Outsource Product Development? [Guide + Tricks].
If you already have an idea for a future product and are ready to start translating it into reality, you can contact us. We will be happy to help you create a great solution.
Next, we will talk in more detail about the development steps.
Step 4. Start product discovery
One of the important stages of estate agent website development is product discovery. Product Discovery is a complex business process used in the development of new products in global companies. It is a clear statement of what needs to be developed to be interesting and useful to modern customers.
The process consists of smaller sub-processes that are closely related to each other. Product Discovery allows you to reflect the developer’s vision qualitatively, detail the needs of the target audience, and also answer key questions about the product:
- Is it worth solving the problem?
- Will the suggested solution work?
- Will customers use and enjoy this solution?
If at least one question is negative, then the developers go back to basics. The process consists of detailed work on the product’s properties and long surveys of representatives of the target audience.
All this continues until all 3 answers to the presented questions are positive. That will bring a final product to the market that will benefit customers and generate profits for product owners.
Step 5. Develop information architecture, wireframes and prototypes
Design is vital for successful estate agent website development. UX (User Experience) means the result of user interaction with the application interface. Interaction should be intuitive and consistent with user behavior patterns. Interface solutions should be consistent.
We, as users, do a lot of online activities without thinking. We perceive some sites easily, but from others, we want to “run away” because nothing is clear, and over every click, we have to think: “Am I pushing there?” or “Where is the return button?”
Thanks to the well-thought-out structure and the familiar arrangement of the main elements, it is possible to facilitate the user’s interaction with the real estate web application and not distract him from the target actions.
Smart UX design allows users with different capabilities to successfully use products. UX design can be divided into the following stages:
- Collecting preliminary data
- Target audience research
- Information architecture development
- Development of wireframes
For example, here are wireframes that we created for the Agent Scout project:
Understanding the UX design steps will make it easier for you to form expectations about the set of artifacts and the quality of the results of the collaboration between the analyst and the designer.
Step 6. Create interface design
User Interface is the external presentation of a software product and its physical properties. UI design is a graphical and functional implementation of the concept, all those ideas and solutions approved at the UX analysis stage.
For the successful implementation of the user interface, the following rules must be followed:
- all elements of the system are structured and interconnected;
- the architecture is respected, logically related elements are grouped (for example, the horizontal main menu of the website contains buttons for navigating to different sections, which, in turn, offer their menus with tabs);
- one general style is maintained;
- focusing on certain blocks or buttons (do not overload the appearance with content, distracting illustrations, and buttons, there should be free space);
- alignment of the components of the interface.
The task of UI designers during estate agent website development is not only creatively but also intelligently to work out the look of each page or screen. They pick up checkboxes, buttons, fonts and other visual elements.
At the same time, the button should be convenient and attractive. The text should be well readable. The forms should be laconic. Any error messages should not cause irritation and unwillingness for new actions.
Step 7. Start full-cycle real estate website development
Full-cycle real estate website development consists of front-end and back-end development. Let’s take a closer look at these processes.
Front-end development in estate agent website development is creating the public part of a web application, with which the user directly contacts, and functionality, which is usually performed on the client side.
The front-end developer is working to ensure that every button, icon, text, and window on the site not only stands in its place, does not overlap each other, and looks whole, but also that they fulfill their intended purpose.
For example, the button “contact the agent” opens the agent’s profile with his mail and phone number, and “go back” – returns to the previous page on which the user was.
The back-end is the software and hardware part of the project, while the front-end is the client side of the user interface to the software and hardware part of the project, that is, to the back-end.
In other words, the back-end is everything that happens on the server side, which remains invisible to the user (the server itself is also part of the back-end, only hardware). Hence, the name front is seen from the front, and the back is hidden from behind, invisible.
For example, you pay for consulting services on the website: enter the card details, click “pay,” and you see the inscription “your payment has been accepted for processing” – it was a front-end. How your money moves within the network is a back-end.
Accordingly, when the site owner sees a notification that an order has been received and the money has been credited to the account, this is again the front-end work.
Step 8. Test, deploy and maintain
How to build a real estate website that will work like a Swiss watch? After the real estate web application development process is completed, the testing phase begins.
The better you test your product and the more bugs you find, the better. It is worth spending more time at this stage than wasting time fixing errors and bugs when the product is launched. Also, if you avoid this stage or take it lightly, most likely, your site will not be in demand.
When all testing stages have been completed, and the world is ready to see your product. Do not forget that work on it does not end after your real estate web application is deployed. It is necessary to constantly provide support to the site, improve it, maintain it, solve problems that users face, etc.
2023 Trends to Keep in Mind When Building a Real Estate Website
In order for you to be able to build a real estate website that will be in demand and popular, you should know what the main design trends and functionalities that will drive the industry in 2023 are. Let’s look at some of them:
This innovation will make life easier for real estate professionals everywhere. By including this element in the website design, an agent will receive more showings. More showings equals more escrows in this business. Furthermore, prospective buyers can book appointments without first contacting an agent.
Multi-step contact form
It’s remarkable how few real estate websites employ this powerful multi-step contact form method. Instead, they have those long-form contact forms that turn consumers off when they discover how much information is required.
Of course, this does not apply to forms that simply require a few facts, such as name, email, and phone number. However, if you don’t want to keep getting spam submissions while still qualifying your prospects with screening questions, you should start using multi-step forms.
Advanced property search
Every professional real estate website should include a well-designed and adequately optimized user experience property search page.
Unfortunately, only a few real estate agents nowadays give excellent service to house buyers via their website’s home search capabilities.
According to the National Association of Realtors, firms rely heavily on third-party suppliers and vendors in areas like marketing, web development, IT solutions, accounting, and so on.
The real estate sector is similar to the other industries outlined by NAR.
In reality, there are multiple supplementary vendors engaged in every real estate transaction.
For example, while purchasing a home, in addition to the real estate agent, other vendors such as mortgage brokers, home inspectors, appraisers, title agents, home insurance, and the list go on and on.
The Main Requirements for Building a Real Estate Site
How to build a real estate website that will be in demand and will be able to overcome the competition? To create a real estate website, you need to know the basic requirements of 2023 for these types of web applications. Let’s take a closer look at each of them:
Real estate web applications, in most cases, include a lot of data, pages, images, etc. For users not to get confused on the site and find what they need, you should build good onboarding on the site. Users should learn how to use the website to find what they need in a few minutes.
The onboarding issue can be solved in different ways. For example, you can highlight the main platform parts, use mini-guides, test instructions, video tutorials, FAQs, etc.
Website optimization is a combination of specific methods and measures that allow you to bring a website to a leading position in the search engine results and get ahead of competitors. According to the Google Speed Test, page load speed for mobile and desktop should be 90+.
Search engine optimization of site pages is usually divided into two categories: internal and external optimization. Let’s consider in more detail what they are.
Internal optimization involves working with the structure of the site. The goal is to make it convenient and intuitive for the user. The structure in chaos will not attract anyone. It should help in finding the necessary information.
Building a link mass, namely: getting links to a site from other web resources, is called external optimization. Search engines are tough on viral links, so finding a good “donor” site is a real problem today. Links from trust-free thematic sites give excellent results.
Usually, an SEO specialist is in charge of website optimization.
Real estate website development includes great UX design. Design is the first thing you pay attention to when you open a web page or application. The user experience mainly depends on the design as well as how it contributes to brand awareness.
Today it is possible to create a visually beautiful website but not take into account the needs of a common user. User experience (UX) is an important determining factor because, without it, any tweaks will not be able to bring the required conversion.
UX design is a technique by which developers achieve the satisfaction of various user requests and their loyalty. The application should be user-friendly, understandable, and easy to use. The main emphasis is on ensuring that all users get pleasure from interacting with the software solution.
How to design a real estate website that will win users’ hearts? It is not enough to take a ready-made solution and simply redo it. In real estate web application development, an idea is a must. It should be new, not implemented before, and unique. Or it may be an idea that has been poorly implemented previously or not implemented at all. We mentioned earlier that modern users want and are looking for something new.
The idea should be simple. You need to be able to explain it easily. Therefore, you should think carefully about how your site will differ from hundreds of others. And you should do this before starting real estate web application development.
Real estate web applications consist of many different simple and complex processes. Some of them are listing properties for sale, checklists for improving the property, ordering other services through the website, signing documents, etc.
The essence of each new product is to be better than predecessors and competitors. The product should have advanced and automated business processes. That creates savings that ultimately affect revenue.
We recommend simplifying all these processes using modern technologies, namely automation. People value their time, so the faster they can go through this or that process, the better.
Scalable development architecture
Scalable product architecture with clean-code design is critical in the development of scalable real estate websites. The framework has an effect on the performance of the application (choose one that works best for you).
In order for your real estate website to be able to cope with a large number of users and you can scale your project in the future, take care of creating scalable architecture in advance. Think carefully about the structure of your website. All functionality and content of the website should be organized without extra and unnecessary components.
Customization allows users to choose what they want to view or set preferences for how information is structured or shown. It can improve user experience by allowing users to regulate their engagement.
Because each user is in charge, customization allows them to acquire exactly what they desire. The disadvantage is that many users are unsure of what they want and are unwilling to put in the effort required to customize the user interface to their tastes.
Personalization’s major purpose is to provide content and functionality that meets individual user demands or interests with no effort on the part of the targeted users. The system profiles the user and customizes the interface based on that profile. Personalization can transmit or highlight certain information, limit or allow access to certain tools, or streamline transactions and procedures by remembering user information.
On a real estate website, a user may see special property promotions for locations where this user is located. Such techniques show care for users and the desire of the business to help users quickly find what they need on the site.
How To Build a Real Estate Website and Succeed [The Main Challenges in 2023]
Well-defined information architecture
When building a property website, companies often forget about building a clear information architecture. However, this process should never be skipped. First, a well-formed information architecture will help build a real estate website that will run smoothly and according to all technical standards.
Secondly, real estate websites often contain a large amount of information, data and a variety of content. And in order for everything to be organized on your site and for users to easily find what they need, you should take care of the information architecture in advance.
Current technical standards
When building a property website, pay attention to modern technical standards. Standards are written and adopted by the W3C, a non-profit organization founded by Tim Berners-Lee.
It consists of many working groups: they include representatives from browser companies, major universities, research institutes, and other organizations. Participants discuss with browser developers the design and implementation of the API and then develop common standards.
Why should you follow modern technical web standards?
- They will help you create a highly functioning website
- You will receive ready-made and verified specifications
- You will find out what technologies and trends will be in demand in the future
Therefore, we recommend that you study and follow modern technical standards for building a real estate website.
Right technical stack
In fact, everything here is simpler than it might seem. If you cooperate with an experienced and knowledgeable development team with the choice of a stack for creating a site, you will not have any problems. However, remember that you need to pay special attention to this thing.
Choosing a tech stack to build your real-estate website will affect its future performance and scalability.
Unity of product and idea
In order to build a successful real estate website, you need to always make sure that your idea matches all the technical solutions during product development. If you clearly formulated the idea at the beginning of the site’s creation, stick to it until the end. If you deviate from your idea, you will most likely not be able to create a highly functional solution that will help users achieve their primary goals.
Proper implementation of features and their release
Very often, companies try to develop a product as quickly as possible and make mistakes in the implementation and release of all the main functionality hastily. Here we recommend developing features gradually and only after fully testing each feature release them. Don’t be in a rush to release the website because if it ends up not working the way you want it to, you’ll have to spend more time fixing it.
Detailed market analysis
Always research the market:
- It will help you study your competitors and understand what works and what doesn’t, what mistakes their websites have and what interesting things you would like to implement in your website.
- Market analysis will help you understand what is already implemented in the market and what new things you can bring to it.
- During the market analysis, you can be inspired by ideas and decide on the direction in which you will work.
Experienced development team
Choosing a design and development team for building a property website is a fairly common challenge for modern companies. We advise you not to rush into choosing, as your future product’s success will depend on your team’s quality.
In order to find a good real estate website development team, use social networks, rating sites or recommendations from your partners. Well, if you definitely do not want to make a mistake, contact us and we will discuss your project.
We also recommend that you read the following materials:
- How to Hire an Offshore Development Team?
- How to Hire Remote Developers in 2023? [Prices, Terms, Tips and Problems]
Basic Features: How to Build a Real Estate Website in 2023-25
Real estate application development includes the study and selection of the necessary features for the site. How to build a real estate website that will provide all the functionality users need? We have prepared a list of top features you should think about during real estate website development:
It is probably not necessary to go deeper and talk about how important a convenient real estate search is. Suppose the site does not provide the ability to search for an advertisement, a specific house, or apartment in a particular city and area. In that case, there can be no question of a good conversion of the project.
Listings are probably one of the main features a real estate website should have. Moreover, listings should be easy to use, filterable (by city, price, etc.), and contain only the most important information.
Filter by parameters
The real concern for the client is to give him the most important information immediately. Without forcing users to wander around the site, even if the site has thoughtful navigation and a lot of money has been invested in the design, be sure to place a filter by parameters on the site so that the client can immediately find the property they need. And it is better to place it as high as possible.
60% of users visit real estate websites through their smartphones, so the design must be responsive. Suppose the website is very large with many categories, a blog, a forum, etc. In that case, it is impossible to create an adaptive site with the maximum coverage of the information.
Location on a map
Linking your listings to Google Maps helps potential clients get the whole picture. Using a precise map location, they may see where the home is in relation to local facilities such as schools and key transportation hubs.
While Google Maps provides an easy-to-use static map, you might want to explore going a step further. You may identify local services and facilities with an aerial shot of the region, have a graphic designer make a specifically drawn map, or utilize real estate mapping software to create an interactive map with important information.
Integration of Internet data exchange
Broker Reciprocity is another term for Internet Data Exchange (IDX). IDX is a policy within the multiple listing service (MLS) that permits listings to be shared among different real estate companies in a given region that have joined up for such a service. Typically, they are cloud automation systems.
However, in the real estate industry, the word IDX is also used to represent the many tools and software that allow you to:
- Display any available MLS listings on your web pages.
- Allow clients to look for presently available properties (thus updating from your active database)
- Protect customers’ information by allowing them to select which agencies their information is shared with.
However, it is necessary to provide the user with the essential functions of the website: menu, search, content, functionality for placing an advertisement, etc.
How to Build a Real Estate Website [Advanced Features]
How to design a real estate website that will be unique? Based on the Agent Scout case, we have prepared a list of advanced features that can help you distinguish your site from the competition. Take them into account during real estate website development:
Automatic selection of the best agent
We can safely say that this feature shows concern for users. In the Agent Scout case, for example, the user who wants to buy or sell real estate is offered a choice of the 3 best agents for assistance. Users can evaluate their profiles and choose the most suitable one for them. Thus, the process of selling and buying real estate will become easy, fast, and, most importantly, effective.
The calculator is a very useful feature. For example, you can create a calculator using which users can calculate the approximate cost of selling their homes. People will know in advance what approximate amount of money they will receive after the deal. That is how the calculator we created for the Agent Scout platform looks like.
Checklist for the sale of real estate
This feature can help improve the process of selling real estate. For example, after appraising a property, the seller was advised to enhance the house’s condition to raise the selling price.
Everything that a person needs to do to improve the house’s condition will be displayed in the checklist. Checklists help make the sales process more organized and efficient. That is what checklists look like on the Agent Scout platform.
The calendar will help track every step of buying or selling real estate. Progress can be presented in the form of a chart or graph. For example, for Agent Scout, we created a Gantt chart that clearly shows the beginning and end of a particular process. That is how it looks on the website.
Suggestions for increasing the value of real estate
To increase the property’s value and price, the seller may need to fix or paint something, put things in order, etc. Agent Scout, for example, allows sellers to contact one of the real estate agents for a property appraisal. After the agent evaluates the property, he makes suggestions for improving the condition of the house. The seller, in turn, can accept or reject them. All this happens on the platform.
Search for contractors through the service
We said earlier that an easy search is crucial for a real estate website. However, it can be improved by adding the ability to search for contractors. Expanding the platform’s search capabilities increases the chances that users will become your clients and recommend the site to their friends and colleagues.
How to Build a Real Estate Website and What Monetization Strategy to choose
How to build a real estate website that will help you earn additional money? After real estate website development, you should think about its monetization. The ultimate goal of any resource is direct sales or the impact on their increase.
A website created with a focus on the needs and interests of the user can generate good income. However, it takes time and effort to get things done in the long term. Let’s consider several ways of real estate platform monetization:
Commission for sales
One of the good monetization options is a commission for sales. With each successful sale through your website, you will receive a certain amount equal to the commission.
You set the size of the commission yourself. We recommend setting a small commission for a start and increasing it a little with the growth and development of the website.
There are two types of advertising: contextual and banner. Let’s take a look at both of them.
Primary contextual advertising services, such as Google Adwords, offer site owners to generate income by placing advertisements. There are special affiliate programs. According to their rules, the owner receives the amount set in the affiliate program for clicks on ad units on the website.
Keep in mind that the services have requirements for the technical parameters of the sites participating in the program and the content. And of course, to make money on advertising, you need sufficient site traffic. Otherwise, there is simply no point in placing advertisements.
The essence of this method is in the placement of advertising banners on the pages of the site. You are paid for the number of displays. If the site has good traffic, this type of ad placement can generate good passive income.
Of course, you need to know when to stop and not litter the entire site with advertising – your users may not like it, and they will leave the site.
You can also earn additional money by providing consulting services to users. Let’s say a user of your site wants to get advice on the registration or sale of the property. You can make consultations on any issues paid, receiving additional profit from them.
How Much Money and Time Do You Need to Build a Real Estate Website
The cost of building a property website can vary greatly depending on the business size and the required functionality, so it is impossible to give an exact development figure.
However, we have compiled a table of approximate prices for different stages of development, depending on the country in which the design and development team is located.
Let’s also consider how long it takes to build a property website. For your convenience, we calculated how much time each stage of real estate application development will take for different sizes of businesses:
Having this information in mind, you can calculate the approximate development cost and timeline of the entire project.
How to build a real estate website [Summary]
How to design a real estate website and be successful? Real estate web application development is a challenging but exciting process. If you follow the information that we have given in this article, you will definitely be able to create a real estate website that will be popular.
If you are ready to start right now, then contact us. We will help you with all stages of product design and development and advise you on what needs to be done after the product is launched.
Which technology stack to choose?
What team do you need to develop an estate agent website?
PM (Project Manager)
BA (Business Analyst)
How to redesign my real estate website?
Can I start from MVP?
How do I develop my real estate platform after release?