If there is one thing that is constantly changing in the online world, it is how websites are being designed and developed. Each industry has its own specific design template that attracts users to become prospective paying customers in the future.
In the real estate business, which is considered to be more focused on commodities, websites should follow certain design trends that will potentially funnel in revenue. This industry is considered to be one of the most competitive online so it is a must that a real estate agent has a functional, highly-converting and appealing website.
The last thing that you should have if you are in this business is a website looking like it were designed by an elementary school student. It should be something that represents your brand in the best possible way. Brand image speaks thousands about your business so be careful of the design being incorporated to the website.
As times are changing, design trends and functionalities are also shifting. Some trends before have faded out and new ones have arrived. Your goal is to take advantage of these trends and at the same time make lots of money.
To help you with that, here are some of the top four recommended design trends and functionalities that will help rake in more income to your real estate business.
#1: Schedule Showing
This feature will simplify things for real estate agents out there. Incorporating this feature in the website design means that an agent will get to have more showings. In this industry, more showings translate to more escrows. Moreover, potential buyers can schedule appointments even without directly contacting an agent.
On the next step, a home buyer needs to select the date and time of the showing.
On the last step, a home buyer specifies their contact info and that’s it! The showing is scheduled online without the real estate agent being even involved in the scheduling process.
According to Showing Time, this design will enhance the communication line between agents and buyers in a cost effective way. It will also manage your schedule and prioritize customers with high payoff probability.
#2: Property Search
A well-designed and properly optimized for user experience property search page is essential for every successful real estate website. Unfortunately, these days, very few real estate professionals provide great experience to home shoppers through their website’s home search functionality.
Vast majority of real estate professionals offer their users a rather poor shopping experience due to unsophisticated technology that they are using for their website’s real estate IDX feed. Therefore, it is not a secret why tech giants such as Zillow, Trulia, RedFin and others dominate the online home shopping market.
The average real estate agent just cannot afford having comparable technology on their real estate websites like those monstrous companies with their multi-million technology and marketing budgets. Unfortunately, in order to compete in this ultra-competitive space, you must invest in your technology.
Here is a perfect example of a high-tech, well-designed and properly optimized home search functionality on the real estate website of a local agent, Kristina Morales. The home search is not only fast, intuitive and inviting but it also contains high-converting functionalities.
For instance, as home shoppers keep scrolling up and down, they will always see this nice sticky call-to-action element that constantly reminds them to contact the agent.
Such conversion elements, when used in proper places on property search pages can dramatically increase the number of leads. In this case, this functionality brings a decent amount of home showings which is translating into more escrows.
#3: Multi-step Contact Form
It is amazing how many real estate websites don’t utilize this effective technique of using multi-step contact forms. Instead they have those long form contact forms that scare users away when they see home much info they need to fill out.
Of course, it doesn’t apply to forms that ask only for a few details like name, email and phone. But, if you don’t want to keep getting a bunch of spam submissions while at the same time qualify your prospects with screening questions, you should start utilizing multi-step forms.
Here is a great example of a highly engaging multi-step contact form that consists of over 10 steps with various qualifying questions. The form does a great job of determining the motivation of a seller through its specific questions.
As reported by HouseCashin.com, a national real estate investing group, the conversion rate has increased 247% after implementation of that multi-step form as opposed to the old, one-page contact form. This is almost three times more inquiries! For a real estate as well as any other business such a drastic improvement might mean getting back in the black.
#4: Vendor Directory
According to the National Association of Realtors, businesses are highly dependent on third party suppliers and vendors, may it be in the field of marketing, web development, IT solutions, accounting and etc.
Real estate industry is no different from the industries mentioned by NAR. In fact, throughout the course of every real estate transaction, there are numerous supplemental vendors involved.
For instance, whenever one is planning to buy a home, besides the real estate agent, they will be using additional vendors such as mortgage brokers, home inspectors, appraisers, title agents, home insurance and list can go on and on.
Here is a great example of a vendor directory on a Houston-based real estate brokerage. You can see them listing all their preferred vendors that they already pre-screened and verified for their clients.
As described in this article, there are many other significant benefits for having a vendor directory on your real estate website. However, the main two are:
- You can instantly provide more value to your clients by saving a significant amount of their time needing to search all those supplemental vendors on their own.
- You can make money out of this by charging vendors who want to list their service on the website.
The goal of all real estate professionals is to make their business a profitable one. Real estate business is considered lucrative but if agents don’t have the right tools and strategy, they might have a hard time getting leads and actual clients.
There are tons of real estate agents in every market but only a few of them are making good living. If you are running a real estate website but do not get enough leads from it, perhaps you are doing things the wrong way. Start assessing your website and see what you can improve. Incorporating some of the functionalities above will be a big help.
About the Author: Oleg Donets is a serial entrepreneur, technology and digital marketing strategist with a solid track record. Since 2013, he has been successfully helping numerous startups and established companies from a wide range of industries to launch, grow and scale their businesses by utilizing his innovative technology solutions and progressive marketing strategies. Oleg is a founder of Real Estate Bees, a cutting-edge technology & marketing platform for the real estate industry. Oleg is also a proud business mentor at SCORE, the nation’s largest nonprofit organization and a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration. You can find Oleg on LinkedIn.