The Art of Real Estate
The Role of Having a Website
Real Estate is one of the most profitable industries on the market. There's no point in boring you with the statistics, as there are thousands of blogs that went over these things a thousand times. However, we are going to get into some specifics, namely, what are the perks of having an online marketplace for your agency. Having an online presence has become even more crucial since the pandemic began, so it is even more apparent that having a backup plan if IRL visits become impossible is a very good call.
The Old vs New Way
Younger generations don't even imagine what people had to go through when they wanted to buy property. You had to go through tons of papers, contact real estate agents, go around their town a couple of times, just to see that this particular home is NOT what they expected...
Now you have everything on your phone: you can review photos, talk to previous owners, and even see 360 degrees photos of any room you'd like. Not every agency is that advanced, though. Let's go over some main points that will be relevant to you, the customer. And if you're an agent, you can use those points to try and stay competitive!
There are some basics that I want to cover before getting into specifics. Make sure not to overlook these tips as they are crucial for getting to the top of Google search results and better conversion rates with your leads.
People love with their eyes first, and that's a fact. You have to put some love into your UI and UX to see more success come your way.
You can have all the good properties in the world, the best agents, but if the design is not catchy and easy to use, it will hurt your business.
It's not a secret that most of the web traffic comes from mobile phones nowadays. That's why every website should be mobile-friendly, especially those that aim to provide housing for people.
Every page has to look perfect and fit to any device, but there are some guidelines on what devices and screen sizes should be prioritized.
There are many things that you could do to make your page speed performance better. If you already have a website, you might want to head to Google PageSpeed and test it there. Just enter the address and you're good to go, you will be greeted with insights and the score in a minute.
Why does that matter? For starters, the slow loading time will affect your ranking in search engines. Google rewards faster websites with a higher ranking.
Apart from Google, your customers may get confused and bored with a slow landing page and never go further, which negatively affects your conversions.
You can learn more on that topic on the Google Developers website, there is plenty of information on that matter!
With all the basics out of the way, let's dive into some industry-specific features that you might want to include in your website.
When you are in the search for a new home, you expect the agency to have some sort of a live search on their website. Although it may come as something simple and basic, it is one of, if not the most important features.
The search field should include filters that will allow you to quickly sort out properties that are of no interest to you, and the results need to be as detailed as possible. The ability to add the property to favorites is also a very good idea that will bring a better user experience to your customers.
Every listing on the website has to be linked to maps, which will help the customer to assess if the area will fully cater to their needs.
There are a lot of things that people consider when buying a new home: schools, entertainment, transportation, the list goes and on. It's their right to get as much information as quickly as possible, which will make the deal close time even quicker.
As I've stated in the first part, people love with their eyes first. What you absolutely must include as a feature is quality photography for every property you list.
You can talk to a professional about this one and hire a photographer to take photos for you, there are plenty of services that focus on real estate.
More advanced level, however, would be 360-degree photos, videos, and even some VR experiences. There are not so many people who will make use of VR, however, so it's best to focus on something simpler for the start, you will always have the chance to upgrade.
After we are done loving the pictures, we get to the texts. The absolute majority of people don't like reading through essays, so be sure to write the information that is essential first and some advancements after.
This way, even if somebody gets bored out of their mind after reading for a minute, they have already scanned through all the important info.
When you are doing something as stressful as finding a new home, you don't want to spend your time scrolling a million times to find something important.
Everything has to be presented in a way so everything can be reached easily. Your customers will thank you for that.
It is equally important to recognize and understand that there will people of different age groups and technical abilities, so not everybody will be able to quickly get the flow of your website.
After we are done reading, we turn to figures. We make decisions based on many factors, but nothing will be as important as financials.
That is where calculators come in, yet another hefty tool that will make your life easier. You might want to include several types of those on your website: mortgage, rent, refinance calculators, all of those will make your lead stay on your website a little bit longer, pushing them to make a decision.
Let's imagine that the lead has come a long way and is ready to contact you. For that, there have to be CTA (call-to-action) forms that will make that process easier.
Don't bore people with fields that you have to fill out, make those things one-click. Better yet, connect your website to chatbots and social media where customers would be able to easily connect with the agent.
There are certainly many other things that you can come up with, but the best advice that I can give is to create your website with the customer in mind.
Being customer-centered is the best thing you can do, and it will pay off.