HOW TO DESIGN A REAL ESTATE WEBSITE

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15
Jun 2018

In our digital age, if you are not present online, you do not exist for most people. Having a page on social media has also proven not to be enough: people tend to trust the companies that have their own websites. However, it is not enough to use a website builder like Wix or Squarespace. Your website should be the embodiment of your corporate spirit. Besides, it should have all the features and information that your visitors (who are your potential clients) may need.

This is especially true about real estate websites — designing a custom website is the only way to win over your visitors’ hearts and, consequently, gain more clients. Bear in mind that we are not talking only about the user interface, we are talking about the craft of creating the user experience that is seamless, intuitive and pleasant. Without a proper user experience, you can say goodbye to good conversion rates and expanding your client database.

That said, we invite you to find out how to design a real estate website your potential clients will love.

Real Estate Web Design: 6 Key Steps

First things first. Before we begin our review of the 6 key web design steps, we must point out that every step consists of two stages. During the first one (which is called the divergent stage), you come up with as many ideas as possible. Then, during the convergent stage, you have to analyze and weigh in on every one of the possible solutions in order to focus on the single one that you consider to be the best option. As the result, you will get a finished element at the end of every step (e.g., the website structure, the prototype, etc.).

Now, let’s take a look at the 6 steps for web design in detail.

1. Determining The Idea & Structure

First of all, you need to determine the main idea of the website and which sections it should have. In order to come up with the idea, think about why your company is unique and how it differs from others. You need to understand what information on your website will impress its visitors.

Once you’ve determined the idea and the main need your website will fulfill for its users (e.g., help the users choose the property online), you can move on to the website structure.

First, you need to consider what information you need to add to your website: contacts, available property, ‘about us’ page, etc. Then, ask yourself: is it possible to squeeze all of this into one page? If you hesitate, it is better to opt for a multi-page website. Based on what information you want to put, create the website structure that reflects the sections and the overall website map.

2. Doing Your Research

Now, your task is to take a look at your competitors’ websites and analyze the information there, not the visuals. Pay attention to the menu structure, what sections there are, what content is posted, etc.

In case you are struggling to find websites that occupy the same niche as your future website will, take a look at the websites from the similar niches.

Also, find websites that can be inspiring to you in terms of the visuals (they don’t have to occupy the same niche as the company) in order to know what is trending right now in the world of web design.

3. Designing The Prototype

Your next step is to create a prototype — your visualization of the blocks the site will consist of. Basically, it is your visual scenario. Your task is to draw the sequence of various screens the user will see. You do not need to draw every detail — it should be a schematic sketch. Don’t make the sketch too big — leave some space around the drawing for comments.

Tip: consider your visual scenario to be a presentation for the user. You need to amaze the user first, then tell him or her who you are, share what advantages you have and encourage him or her to contact you.

4. Creating The Content

Before starting designing the website itself, you need to have all the content you need for it. Otherwise, you may have to make last-time changes that can be costly.

First, gather all the information you already have: presentations, leaflets, etc. Now, answer this question: why is my company good?

Storytelling deserves its own article as it is a huge topic that can’t be covered in one paragraph. However, we can give several tips on how to write the content the website visitors will enjoy reading:

  • use numbers: people love impressive statistics;
  • avoid clichés and vague phrases like “our team of dedicated professionals”;
  • don’t forget about reviews and testimonials;
  • describe what problems you can solve for your clients;
  • be brief: don’t write 1,000 words describing how good you are on your line of business. Instead, write several short paragraphs up to 100-150 words each;
  • don’t hesitate to present your team — this is how you can personalize your company, and people tend to trust other people rather than a faceless company;
  • create a CTA (call to action) and put it where it can be easily seen.

In case you don’t have a person that would be really good at writing texts on your team, we suggest you hire a copywriter.

5. Time To Design!

Now it is time to design the website itself. Start with the main page and use the style you create for it when designing other web pages. The cover, or the first screen the user sees, is the first impression your website will make. So, choose a high-quality unconventional picture and a catchy headline.

As for the general tips on design, you should note that flat design is the main trend that is dominating the industry. So, don’t try to save on custom flat illustrations.

Once you’re done with designing the main page, you need to add the menu. It shouldn’t be too big, and the names of the sections shouldn’t be longer than three words. Don’t add more than 5 links to the menu.

The choice of font is crucial, so pay attention to the fonts you use. They should be unique and reflect the overall idea of the website. One font should be enough; however, you can combine two if you want to make a powerful first impression.

Remember that you also need to design the mobile version of the website (if you don’t want to lose those who will browse your website on their smartphones, of course).

One crucial tip: be minimalistic. Don’t overload your website with animations and images, and remember to leave enough white space. Use one or two colors.

 

6. Implementation

Once you are satisfied with the design, you can start building the website itself. It all starts with the HTML and CSS markup to create the ‘face’ of the website. Then, a developer uses a content management system to turn the HTML page into a template that you can manage by posting new content, deleting certain content elements, etc. The most popular CMSs are WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla. Once it’s done, you can finally fill the website with the content you have prepared.

Real Estate Website Design: Must-Have Sections

Creating the website structure is the step that can determine your website’s future. However, if you have never been engaged in real estate website design, you may feel a bit lost. So, to help you gain confidence regarding the website map, we have prepared the list of the sections your website definitely has to have.

Let’s start with the obvious sections:

  • Contact Us: put all the info that can be used to reach out to you. This section can include the address(es) of your office(s), the phone number(s), the email address, how to contact you via instant messengers, etc.;
  • About Us: describe who you are, what your company’s mission is, what the advantages of working with you are, who is on your team, etc.;
  • Blog: if you want to be interesting for your visitors and show your expertise, we strongly recommend you to create a blog and regularly update it with articles that can be engaging for your target audience.

You should also consider adding the real estate catalog to your website. Basically, this catalog should provide all the information about the property you are offering. Thus, you can help your potential clients choose the property that fits their requirements without engaging a real estate agent. All that a real estate agent needs to do is to show the property and close the deal.

The catalog should include the following features to make the user experience impeccable:

  • filters: the whole purpose of adding a catalog is to let users find the property they need. So, add as many filters as possible. For instance, you definitely should enable filtering by the price, the number of rooms, the location, the square meters, etc. Don’t forget about sorting the property by the price or the relevancy, etc.;
  • map widget: you can integrate your website with Google Maps, add basic information about the real estate (location, price, etc.) and add links to the page with the full information about the property. If you determine the location of the user automatically, you can enhance the user experience by displaying the nearby property;
  • a page with the detailed information about the property: here, you should put all the information that can be relevant. This should include the photos, price, type (house or apartment), location, description, etc.

It is not obligatory to add a real estate catalog to your website; however, adding this section has a lot of pros:

  • the website visitors can choose the property that meets their demands on their own at any time — this saves their time and your real estate agents’ efforts;
  • users are also likely to have a higher level of trust if they see what property you are offering;
  • you can also make an additional profit by providing the users with an opportunity to post their property that they are selling or renting out for a fee.

Real Estate Landing Page Design: When You Should Opt For It

As we have mentioned above, you need to weigh in on what website you actually need: a one-pager or a multi-page website. There can be various reasons for deciding to create a landing page:

  • you are not going to provide your users with an online catalog: instead, you want your potential clients to reach out to you and describe what kind of help they need from you;
  • you do not have enough time to invest in a multi-page website design and development;
  • you have tight budget constraints;
  • you need a website with little content that would serve as your company’s business card.

If at least one of these reasons resonates with you, it is better to have a high-quality landing page rather than a low-quality multi-page website full of bugs.

Real Estate Agent Website Design: Must-Know Tips

Surely, not only real estate companies need a website. If you are an independent real estate agent, you need a website that would represent you online as much as a real estate company does.

The process of designing such a website has its peculiarities as well. Here are some tips for real estate agent website design that you should pay attention to:

  • consider creating a landing page: unless you have a lot of resources to invest in a real estate catalog and many offers to add to it, opt for a landing page;
  • focus on your brand: if you are a solo real estate agent, you just have to have a personal brand that would make people want to trust you. Determine the two or three key character traits that you want to communicate to the visitors: for instance, reliability or professionalism;
  • make it personal: the content of your website should be written from the first-person point of view. When users read it, they should feel like you are talking to them — so, avoid clichés and use simple language.

Real Estate Website Design Company: How To Choose The Best One

Now that you know what it takes to design a truly good real estate website, you may realize that you can’t pull it off on your own. So, your best option is to find the website design company that will bring your ideas to life.

Choosing a website design company for such a crucial task as creating your company’s website is quite tricky. The most common problems you may encounter during cooperation with a design company are:

  • they don’t meet the deadlines: this the most common issue. So, dedicate some time to reaching out to the company’s former clients and ask them whether the company keeps its promises;
  • the company’s designers are not experts in their lines of work: unfortunately, sometimes designers learn how to do their job while working on your project. So, always ask about designers’ experience, especially in the field of real estate website design;
  • they may just disappear: yes, sometimes it happens. In order to avoid such an unpleasant scenario, we advise you to do a proper research on the company.

Best Real Estate Website Design Companies: What Are They Like?

In order to help you out and make your search easier, we have prepared the list of 4 key criteria for a website design company that will be a reliable partner and will cater to your needs.

  • The company signs an agreement with you.

If the website design company doesn’t mention signing an agreement and wants to start designing right away, just turn around and leave. Words mean nothing in the business world unless they are put into an agreement. Make sure that the agreement is clear and legally correct.

Besides, you can also ask for a typical agreement and, in case you would like to, enquire whether the company is willing to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

  • The company offers the fixed price cooperation model.

This means that the company is confident and knows what it takes to build a website. Such pricing model provides you with predictability and transparency — you can rest assured knowing there won’t be any unpleasant surprises when the bill arrives.

  • The company (and its employees) has the relevant experience.

First of all, check out the company’s website and testimonials provided there. Look for a company that has experience in designing real estate websites as this process has its peculiarities. Besides, check reviews on other websites. You can also reach out to the company’s former clients to make sure their testimonials are true.

Before starting to work, ask about the experience of every team member in his or her line of work to avoid the situation when the designers learn how to do their job while working on your project.

  • The company’s website contains its portfolio.

The best way to know what to expect from cooperating with a certain website design company is to look through the websites it’s already designed in the past. While you are looking through them, evaluate your own user experience. If it is pleasant to use the website, this company can be a reliable partner for creating one for you. Here represents all company’s case studies and development solutions for Building and Real Estate.

The Bottom Line

Designing a real estate website is not a piece of cake, so you should entrust only those who are experienced in this field and reliable with this task. The quality of the website will determine your further success, so it is not a wise decision to save on the real estate website design company services. Pay close attention to the key criteria that can ensure your cooperation will be successful and pleasant.

Are you willing to get a website that will guarantee your success? Reach out to us to discuss your needs and requirements right now!

Thank you for your interest!

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