As a realtor, your website can make all the difference. It’s your digital business card, portfolio, and inbound salesperson who works 24/7/365.
The following guide covers the five essentials to create beautiful, functional real estate websites that actually sell. Best of all, your website will be able to scale, whether you have a few hundred or a few hundred thousand visitors per month.
We’ll be talking about UI (User Interface) and UX (User Experience) design essentials such as:
Skip if you’re a designer; stay if you’re a realtor.
Before we dive into the essentials, let’s answer this: do you even need a great website design?
According to Small Business Trends, about 34% of online businesses invest more than $10,000 on their websites.
Entrepreneurs and business executives only invest when there is an ROI to be had. A well-designed website can have a significant impact on income and profits. We don’t need to remind you that it’s 2021, and the world is online more than ever.
Every business has a website now. If you want to stand out professionally, your design makes all the difference.
So, how do you find a professional, classy real estate website design that showcases your personality without breaking the bank?
By ensuring that your site considers the following attributes: minimal, creative, interactive, usable, and optimized.
The days of clunky flashy sites are over; the “Less is More” trend has taken over.
The homepage has a yellow header and thoughtful web copy– even the clever italicization of the word ‘different’ instantly communicates the value of the sentence, and perhaps the brand. Similarly, your web copy should flow with your minimalistic theme. Long paragraphs, regardless of the site design, never really look good in a digital format.
Check out the ‘Buying’ section header:
“We provide expert insight to make buying a home a breeze.”
Get the idea? Simple, sweet, and to the point.
Minimalism requires you to think about the essence of the idea you’re looking to communicate.
For example, many real estate websites have long touchy glorious paragraphs and clichéd ‘happy family’ background images. Why? The idea is that families, which are usually prime targets for higher-ticket real estate sales, will associate the happiness of the families with the pictures with their own if they work with you.
Photo-heavy sites also load slower!
Our example site manages to accomplish a similar warm feeling with a sunny yellow color, subconsciously communicating peace and happiness, two important ideas for a home.
You, too, can use the same strategy.
Note for designers: Before embarking on the minimalism ship, make sure that you and your client are on the same page. Some people prefer heavy and image-heavy designs.
Source: Ginger Martin
Creativity is all about standing out from the competition.
Purposeful yet creative designs catch attention and retain viewers longer. User retention can go a long way to improve your Google ranking and site’s authority– just make sure you give them a reason to stick around once your creativity catches their eye!
Ginger Martin’s luxury real estate website design is a fascinating example. It presents Ginger as an expert realtor who knows her way around the luxury property.
The homepage presents a communities’ interactive collage:
Source: Ginger Martin
Observe the subtle animation – each community’s name expands and shows a brief introduction about it. This animation communicates an attention to detail, and such a small, but not insignificant touch differentiates this site from one that is completely static.
Note for realtors: Create a list of real estate website design ideas for your website developer. This way you’ll know what you need!
Source: Gary Finkelstein
Nobody’s going to buy from you if they don’t trust you.
The best way to build trust is with face-to-face interaction. But you can’t Skype all your website visitors, can you?
In this case, a real estate website should have something like the strategy Gary Finkelstein uses on his website.
Gary uses a video showing his everyday activities, office, clients, honors, and even his dog to interact with his visitors. He’s essentially creating a friendly ‘I’ve-seen-you-somewhere’ aura by letting you peek into his personal and professional life.
These personalized images throughout the site in an accessible, user-friendly manner help establish a feeling of familiarity and trust, which can often be tricky on the digital frontier.
Express yourself in a way your viewer would find relatable, as long as it maintains the user experience and doesn’t slow down your site too much!
Design and UI/UX must go hand in hand. The conversion process should be as simple as possible.
Corcoran is one of the top results for “Real Estate Agent in NYC” on Google; notice how intuitive its agent catalog/landing page is:
If you click one, here’s what you see:
They go straight into the critical information, such as current listings, contact listings, and office location.
The “Contact Agent” CTA (Call-to-Action) is a perfect example of excellent UI and UX.
UI: It stands out (color contrast and size).
UX: It helps the visitor contact Sherilyn if they want to right away.
Here’s how it goes:
Users can choose between calling, texting, emailing with no needlessly complicated requirements?
Don’t just add any CTA or tool to your website because you can.
Tailor them for your audience and what they’re actually looking for in the current phase of their journey.
Note that Corcoran’s design isn’t entirely perfect, either. Some steps simply have too many sequences, and the onboarding experience could be simplified at least by one step. There is always room for improvement when it comes to UI/UX!
The takeaway: help the users make decisions, don’t overcomplicate it for them.
Here are some usability features you should consider for your website:
Source: Coldwell Banker Realty
Last but foremost: search engine optimization.
Google is on the user’s team, so its job is to find the best, most relevant results for the user’s query. Let us explain.
See Coldwell Banker Realty is an outstandingly optimized website. Look at its metrics:
It ranks #1 for keywords like “Real estate agent in California”, and while the design isn’t great at all, it has a whopping 2.20m visitor monthly.
Why? It produces top-notch content (that helps the user) and SEO. Putting great content on the site is half of the job; the remaining 50% is to optimize it for Google.
What does SEO have to do with website design?
SEO should be part of your design process.
All the design essentials above aim at making the content easier for the user to interpret and interact with. They target trust-building and simplifying conversion processes, which are solid bases for SEO.
How to do SEO is beyond the scope of this article to cover. But essentially, it aligns your website with Google’s guidelines and standards. The better the optimization, the higher ranking chances you have.
Had your site been ranking for the keyword “Real estate agent in California”, we would’ve been discussing it instead of Coldwell. That’s the SEO magic.
Only by keeping Google’s guidelines in mind can you design a real estate site that can rank and drive millions of visitors every month.
Can you recall the five real estate website design essentials?
An ideal real estate website is well-optimized, useful, interactive, and minimal, and creative. Visitors should get what they want as quickly as possible, while understanding your brand’s values.
Remember not to go overboard with any of these essentials.
The key is to add the right amount of each to the mix and to create an overall amazing real estate website!