How to Build a Real Estate Website: Features, Cost, Development, Example

4064 Updated 06.16.2022
Viktoriia Khytryk

Head of Inbound and Outbound Sales

5/5

Table of contents

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.

What is a Real Estate Web Application?

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Northell Case: AgentScout

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. 

It 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.

Why Should You Create 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.

Northell Experience in Realtor Website Development

photos mobile

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 clients, Agent Scout, a USA real estate platform, came to us with a ready-made site template and general product idea. He contacted us because his 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.

Banner clutch AgentsCout

AgentScout

The main challenge for us was to understand the logic of the platform and to simplify it. We had to take into account that the platform should include a large amount of data, and the determination of the user’s location should be automatic. Our goal was to make the platform understandable and easy to use.

Working on this project, we have completely changed and simplified the idea with which the client came to us. 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 client was satisfied with the work done. We will tell you more about this project later.

Real Estate Website Requirements in 2021 [Challenges] 

 

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 2021 for these types of web applications. Let’s take a closer look at each of them:

Onboarding

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. 

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Northell Case: AgentScout

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

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 Google PageSpeed, 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.

Great UX

Realtor 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.

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Northell Case: AgentScout

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.

Idea behind

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.

Automation

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. 

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Northell Case: AgentScout

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.

Real Estate Web Application Development: Top Features

Buyer Dashboard Buying Criteria

Northell Case: AgentScout

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 realtor website development:

Search 

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.

Content

Strong, selling and engaging content always has a positive impact on website performance. For a real estate project, the content should be not only selling but also useful. 

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Northell Case: AgentScout

It is vital to prove that your company is an expert and leader. Moreover, to prove not with the hackneyed words “We are professionals,” but to give facts that prove this. 

Visitors should understand who they are dealing with, what opportunities the company has, and what it can provide them if they decide to cooperate.

It is also essential to fill the site with good-quality photographs of the property. People love to look at the beautiful. If there are low-quality photos on your site, it is unlikely that your web application will inspire confidence among users.

Listings

Dashboard Admin

Northell Case: AgentScout

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.

Responsive design

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. 

However, it is necessary to provide the user with the essential functions of the website: menu, search, content, functionality for placing an advertisement, etc.

Real Estate Web Application Development: 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 realtor website development:

Automatic selection of the best agent

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Northell Case: AgentScout

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.

Calculation

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

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Northell Case: AgentScout

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.

Calendar

Dashboard Transactions See calendar

Northell Case: AgentScout

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 Choose Real Estate Platform Monetization?

 

 

How to build a real estate website that will help you earn additional money? After realtor 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.

Advertising

There are two types of advertising: contextual and banner. Let’s take a look at both of them.

Contextual advertising

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.

Banner advertising

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.

Consulting services 

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.

Real Estate Web Development: 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 realtor website development process better.

Product Idea and 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.

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
  • Questions

You can read more about creating such a document in our article How To Write The Design Specification? [Quick Guide]

Select 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.

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.

UX Design

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:

Dashboard Schedule Access

Northell Case: AgentScout

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.

UI 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.

Front-end Development

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.

Back-end Development

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.

QA

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.

Launch

All 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 launched. It is necessary to constantly provide support to the site, improve it, solve problems that users face, etc.

Real Estate Website Development Cost and Timeline

The cost of real estate web application development 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.

Product discovery UI/UX design Development QA
Eastern Europe $35-60/hr $35-60/hr $30-80/hr $25-50/hr
Western Europe $45-90/hr $45-100/hr $55-100/hr $30-65/hr
South America $25-55/hr <$45/hr $25-55/hr $20-40/hr

Let’s also consider how long it takes to create a real estate website. For your convenience, we calculated how much time each stage of real estate application development will take for different sizes of businesses:

Product discovery:

Enterprises: 60-120 hours.

Middle-size project: 30-60 hours.

Small projects: 15-30 hours.

UI/UX design:

Enterprises: 100-250 hours (UX), 200-300 hours (UI).

Middle-size project: 60-100 hours (UX), 55-110 hours (UI).

Small projects: 30-45 hours (UX), 25-50 (UI).

Development:

Enterprises: 20-50 hours (technical documentation), 250-500 hours (frontend), 300-600 hours (backend). 

Middle-size projects: 12-25 hours (technical documentation), 120-200 hours (frontend), 130-210 hours (backend).

Small projects: 8-10 hours (technical documentation), 70-90 hours (frontend), 80-100 hours (backend).

QA:

Enterprises: 80 hours.

Middle-size projects: 40-80 hours.

Small projects: 40 hours.

Having this information in mind, you can calculate the approximate development cost and timeline of the entire project.

Real Estate Web Application Development: 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.

FAQ

Which technology stack to choose?

We recommend using React and Node.js tech stacks.

What team do you need to develop an estate agent website?

For real estate web application development, you will need a team that consists of:

PM (Project Manager)
BA (Business Analyst)
UX designer
UI designer
Front-end developer
Back-end developer
QA engineer

How to redesign my real estate website?

To redesign your real estate website, you first need to define what exactly you want to change. Then, having collected all the necessary materials about your site, you can contact us. We will help you to redesign your website.

Can I start from MVP?

Yes, you can start with MVP. You can read more about this in our article How To Create a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)? [Startup Case Studies]

How do I develop my real estate platform after release?

Here we can advise you on several working options:

Blogs
Advertisements
Consultants
SEO specialists
Partnerships

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