As a realtor, having your own website is the first step to creating a successful business. But how exactly do you get started, especially if you don’t have much experience with technology? This post will cover everything you need to know about real estate agent websites and how to set one up.
What We’ll Cover
- Can Real Estate Agents Have Their Own Websites?
- Five Things You Need For Your Real Estate Agent Website
- What is an IDX, and How Do You Set it Up?
- What is the Best Real Estate Website?
- How Much Do Real Estate Agent Websites Cost?
- Six Steps to Starting a Real Estate DIY Website
- Hiring For Your Website
Can Real Estate Agents Have Their Own Websites?
Every realtor should have their own personal website, even if they are part of a team or brokerage. Not only is this a crucial step to growing your business, but it’s also a relatively cheap and straightforward task.
There are three main reasons that real estate agent websites are essential to have:
Consistent branding across your website, social media pages, and physical marketing materials gives you a professional image and helps you be seen as a successful realtor.
2. Educate Clients
Your website serves as an educational resource for your clients. You can provide helpful information on the buying or listing process or share listings in your local area directly on your site.
3. Leads and analytics
Lastly, a website is the best way to gather data to track your real estate business growth. Owning your own website lets you see how much traffic your site is getting, what people do on your site, and how many leads you are getting.
Five Things You Need For Your Real Estate Agent Website
1. Domain Name and Hosting
The first thing you need to purchase for your website is a domain name and hosting package. Typically, you can buy both of these as a package deal. I personally use Siteground to purchase domains and WordPress hosting packages.
2. Internet Data Exchange (IDX)
An IDX provider is the main method that most agents use to add MLS listings directly to their websites. You can find it either included in an all-in-one website platform, or you can purchase it separately and connect it to your own site for a monthly cost. One of the best IDX providers I’ve found is ShowcaseIDX. Their integration with WordPress is easy to use and is one of the best-looking IDX’s on the market.
3. Website Builder (WordPress)
Building a real estate website is not as hard as some may think, and it can easily be done without having any prior web design experience. WordPress makes it possible to build a website as a complete beginner. WordPress takes all of the custom-coding away and turns website building into a drag-and-drop experience.
This free tool typically comes installed on any WordPress hosting package with Siteground. Also, once you have WordPress installed you can upload and install themes that give your real estate website the look you’re going for.
I am a Thrive Themes member so I have access to all of their WordPress themes and tools. I like Thrive Themes because of their conversion-focused tools which make growing an email list and generating leads much easier than other themes.
4. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System
A CRM system is an online database that helps you automatically manage your leads and collect data. It syncs with your IDX so that both systems are updated with the latest information on your leads. Many IDX providers, including ShowcaseIDX, include their own basic CRM. However, if you’re looking for more functionality you can easily integrate an external CRM system into your IDX and website. Personally, I recommend like FollowUpBoss.
5. Quality Content
The most important aspect of real estate agent websites is providing your leads with value, in the form of quality content. This can be as simple as sharing listings in your local area, or as extensive as writing educational blog posts about real estate.
Creating content that’s SEO-friendly is an amazing way to generate free, consistent traffic and leads to your real estate website.
What is an IDX, and How Do You Set it Up?
IDX stands for Internet Data Exchange and is software used by realtors that work to display listings and information from the MLS onto your website.
Connecting an IDX to your website is important so that your leads can have access to the most recent listings. The IDX updates frequently, which makes it more accurate than sites like Zillow or Trulia.
In order to get an IDX on your own site, you will either need to purchase it from an IDX provider and integrate it onto your site or find an all-in-one system that already includes it.
What is the Best Real Estate Website?
The best real estate agent website depends on if you’re looking to build out a custom website for yourself as discussed above, or purchase an all-in-one solution. I’ll give you my take on both options.
Option 1: All-in-One Platform
All-in-one platforms provide you with your own website set up and ready to go. They typically already include your own domain name and come integrated with CRM and IDX systems. They require no extra setup. All you have to do is purchase the product, usually for a monthly subscription, and learn how to use the system.
While all-in-one platforms usually come with domain names, IDX, and CRM as part of the package, sometimes you will have to buy these things separately and connect it to the platform. This is also the case if you wanted a better CRM or IDX than what is included.
AgentFire is one of the best all-in-one platforms out there that helps real estate agents create a beautiful website in a matter of minutes. It features an easy-to-navigate website builder, marketing tools, and IDX and CRM add-ons.
Everything on your site can be easily accessed through one simple interface. AgentFire has different packages for agents, teams, and brokers, so you can find what best suits your needs. Their plan starts at $129 per month and when you use my link, you get a free 10-day trial.
kvCore has a great value for its price, though it is on the higher end. They give you your own customizable website with IDX included. They also have a multi-channel lead generation engine that allows you to track and sync leads from different sources. Other features include CRM, marketing automation, and analytics. Costs start at $500 to $800 per month depending on the package.
BoomTown (Top-of-the-line, Most Expensive)
BoomTown is the best all-in-one platform overall but is far more expensive than the other options on this list. It features tools such as lead generation, includes IDX and CRM systems, retargeting, and lead management services. In terms of cost, BoomTown is at the higher end with plans starting at $1,500 per month.
Option 2: DIY
The other option is to go the DIY route and build your own website. This will involve purchasing web hosting, a domain name, real estate specific themes for your website design, a CRM system, and an IDX provider.
Below, we’ll get into the six steps you need to take to set up your own real estate agent website if you decide to go this route.
While a DIY website might seem like more work upfront, you might want to consider going this route because there are a couple of benefits that you won’t be able to get with an all-in-one platform.
Ideally, you want to choose a platform that supports WordPress. There are other options, such as Wix and Squarespace, but WordPress is recommended because it has some of the better plugins and options to fully optimize your site.
Benefits to Owning Your Own Website
1. Complete Ownership
Purchasing your own hosting gives you full control and ownership of your website. While a website from an all-in-one platform is still yours, the platform will be the overall owner.
2. Better SEO Value
Purchasing hosting is better for building up your SEO and improving your site ranking. If your website is hosted through an all-in-one platform, then all of your SEO data is going to go to that site, rather than your own.
3. Greater Customizability
Website hosting gives you greater creative control, such as being able to integrate plugins or special features. In addition, if you ever happen to change brokerages, or IDX, or CRM providers, you can easily make those changes on your site with little to no interruption to your lead generation and SEO value.
How Much Do Real Estate Agent Websites Cost?
DIY real estate agent websites are often cheaper compared to all-in-one platforms, despite the fact that you have to buy all the components separately.
For example, here are some costs for the different components you’d need for a DIY website:
- Domain Name and Web Hosting - $7 per month through SiteGround.
- Theme - $19 per month through ThriveThemes.
- IDX - $59 per month through ShowcaseIDX.
- CRM - $69 per month through FollowUpBoss.
When you add these components up it equals around $150 per month. However, these tools will give you the ultimate flexibility to do whatever you want with your website, branding, and content.
If you compare this to the three all-in-one solutions mentioned above, you’ll see $150 per month is an amazing value for the power you’ll be getting.
AgentFire is a little less expensive than this DIY route at $129 per month, but you’ll have less flexibility when it comes to customization, design, and your CRM.
In terms of customizable design and CRM power, an equivalent all-in-one website to the DIY package above would be something like kvCORE, which costs around $500-$800 per month.
Six Steps to Starting a Real Estate DIY Website
1. Get Web Hosting and a Domain Name
As previously mentioned, choosing a domain name and paying monthly hosting is the first step to starting your own website. Ideally, look for website hosting that supports WordPress. I use SiteGround Shared WordPress Hosting to power my own website. The “StartUp” package is around $6.99/month, and is a great choice for new websites.
2. Install WordPress
WordPress is a popular platform for a reason. Most of the best plugins and themes can only be used on WordPress, and it’s an overall great choice for a simple, user-friendly platform.
With SiteGround WordPress Hosting, you can install WordPress to your domain and hosting package straight from the user dashboard once you are signed up. This will have your new website up and running within minutes.
3. Select a WordPress Theme
Next, you'll need to purchase a theme, which just changes the visual aspects of your site. Try to use a specific real estate theme, which is already tailored to a realtor’s goals. Some of them are also already optimized for an IDX (internet data exchange) feed, which lets you set up how you want listings to be displayed on your website.
You can find high-quality WordPress themes on sites such as ThemeForest. Each theme is available for a one-time purchase of around $40 to $50. A good option that I recommend is to become a member of Thrive Themes.
4. Subscribe To An IDX Provider
The IDX is an essential feature for real estate agent websites. The cost of this can range anywhere from $60 to $99 per month. A good option is ShowcaseIDX, which is usually $99 per month. (If you are an eXp agent, they have a special deal where you can use the service for $29.95 per month).
5. Download an IDX Plugin
Once you have chosen and paid for your IDX provider you have to connect it to your website. To do this, you need to download your provider’s plugin and connect it to WordPress. Once it’s set up, it will import all the housing data from your MLS to your website.
6. Choose a CRM System
You will need a CRM system if one is not already included with your IDX provider. If you purchase one separately, you will have to connect it to your IDX.
Connecting a third-party CRM system to your website and IDX provider is typically done through an API connection. API stands for Application Programming Interface and is basically just a code that you use to link two web applications together.
One reason you might want a separate CRM system from the one included with your IDX provider is to have access to more advanced features. An excellent CRM option is Followup Boss.
Who Can You Hire For Your Website?
You can always hire someone to set up your real estate agent website for you if the task seems too difficult. Platforms such as UpWork are great places to find freelancers who will do all the setup for you, so you can relax knowing you’ll get a quality website that's ready to go.
Search “WordPress Web Developer” on UpWork and you’ll find thousands of freelance workers that can easily help you set up your website. I used a freelancer to help me create my first real estate website and I paid around $400 total to get it up and running.
Final Thoughts on Real Estate Agent Websites
Real estate agent websites are the best way to generate and track leads, build your brand, and provide value to your clients. Having a good real estate website is the foundation for anything else you’ll do on and offline. If you’re serious about growing your real estate business, a website is definitely a must-have!
Leave me a comment down below and let me know if you have any questions about real estate agent websites.