February 17, 2010

Real Estate Sites that Sell


Hostway Team

By Tammy Elizabeth Southin

“As an independent real estate agent, can my Web site compare to that of a larger agency?” Just like your small business, when it comes to a Web site, it is not the size that matters. Break through the monotony of similarity that agencies use, and build your Web site to separate the best from the rest.

Forget bricks or siding; buying a home is an emotional investment. Your Web site must reflect that at every opportunity by using the following elements that address a buyer’s practical and emotional motivations.

Never Be Camera Shy

Sellers want their property displayed and buyers expect it. Cute slogans such as "too new for photo" are no longer acceptable in today’s Internet market. Consider the following advice from a leading real estate agent who reminds his peers, “There is simply no excuse for not having for at least one photo, even a quick cell phone photo will do in a pinch.” Further involve readers with a sign-in for a visually appealing slide show collage.

Virtual Tours Intrigue Real Buyers

Adding a virtual video tour gives buyers a better sense of a property’s interior and exterior dimensions. Pulling the entire vista of a room together is an effective way for clients to ‘see’ themselves in a particular dwelling. Excited buyers picture themselves in a place and then look to you to make it happen.

Announce Your Specialties

Do you cater to the nervous first-time buyer? Specialize in urban condominiums or rural detached homes? Are your clients generally families, job transferees or empty-nesters? Is income property your area of expertise? Build your Web site around your specialties to attract the right buyers and sellers.

Be a Directory of Assistance

Anyone can say a place is close to schools, churches or shopping. Get your readers interacting with your site by offering added features such as locator maps. Potential buyers will appreciate a comprehensive report that goes beyond the names of schools and indicates public or private, elementary or secondary and average class sizes. Is the nearby shopping a corner store or a full-service mall? Tell buyers about the recreational facilities or social organizations to give a more complete sense of the neighborhood that will soon be called home.

Sign Them Up Early and Often

Encourage Internet surfers to sign up for valuable extras including free relocation guides, moving and selling tips, interesting articles about mortgage rates and property values, and newsletters. For example, ease first-time buyers’ jitters with great financial planning advice and you establish yourself as the best in the business.

You go the extra mile for your sellers and buyers, and your Web site should do the same. Pull in more leads for your business while the competitors push potential leads away with boredom and indifference.

About the Author

Tammy Elizabeth Southin is the president and creative director of Insurepronews Creative Solutions Inc., a small business offering customized newsletters and communication solutions to insurance brokers.

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