How to Build a Real Estate Website in 30 minutes
The right tools and knowledge can make anyone a successful entrepreneur in the field of real estate. The housing market is flourishing, each day creating more opportunities.
Today many businesses are transferring the most of the operation processes into digital format. New technologies affect everything and everyone. Nearly 35 years ago, 22% of home buyers used to buy newspapers and look through the printed pages, while other part used their friends as an information source. And what is happening now — the majority of potential buyers, namely 44% as it stated in the National Association of Realtors report, search for the properties online.
Such a leap in the industry results in new ways of doing business. One of them is real estate classified websites. This task could be possibly accomplished by everyone. People prefer to make contact online, and you can exploit this and make more profit.
And we are going to walk you through this process step by step and tell you how to upgrade your business spending a minimum amount of money and time.
Here is what you are going to learn:
- How hard is it to create a website like Zillow or Trulia?
- What tools to use to build a real estate website?
- What is the best platform to build a real estate website?
- How to build a website like Zillow?
- Is it possible to start a classified website for real estate?
- How does a real estate website work?
- How much would it cost to build a website like MLS.com?
How hard is it to create a website like Zillow or Trulia?
Have you ever heard about Zillow or Trulia websites? Well, if you are within the professional sphere, you must know that Zillow is one of the largest American database companies, founded in 2006. Trulia was acquired by Zillow Group in 2015. Today Zillow.com gets 195 million visits each month, and its income increased to $1.3 billion in 2018.
Success stories always make an incredible impression and motivate to set bigger goals. We are not going to share secrets on earning millions. But we can definitely share some knowledge with you on how to build a professional real estate website requiring the least seed money and about 30 minutes for launching.
Creating websites is no longer a field of technically skilled people. You do not need a specific education to learn how to start a digital project.
Our helpful guide, several versatile tools and a little bit of imagination — that’s a recipe of your own website, that in result can be no worse than Zillow. So answering the question, creating a website isn’t that hard as you thought it’d be. We are going to assure you of this.
What tools to use to build a real estate website?
As we already mentioned, you don’t need special skills or tons of unknown software. On the contrary, you can limit all the requirements up to 5 components of ready and simple to use tools.
All in all, you will need to use a service to register the domain name for your website and get hosting, one good content management system or site builder, pre-made design templates. Not a big list, isn’t it?
All of the tools are available on the Internet. Some of them are free, some are accessible at an affordable price. Your choice depends on your needs and financial capacity.
What is the best platform to build a real estate website?
Before we dive deep into the process of website creation, we want to provide you some information about the main link in the chain — CMS, what is our recommendation and why you should use it too.
The leading platform to build a website is WordPress. WordPress is literally one of the best options on the market. Talking technical language, WordPress is an open-source content management system. It is a website tool that is running online and allows you to construct a site of any style without coding. Basically, this is a collection of instruments that makes it easy to manage the structure and content of the site.
What is good about WordPress?
One of the biggest advantages is that it is free for anyone to download. WordPress is perfect for both beginners and pro. The intuitive and simple interface of the Admin dashboard makes it easy to manage and provides you with all the essential features and customization options.
More than 50,000 of powerful tools, plugins, and design templates are available for you to add even more value to the website. WordPress allows you to collect statistical data about your activity.
It also includes a strong content editor enabling you to easily manage multimedia content.
How to build a website like Zillow?
Let’s get started and find out what steps we need to follow to create our own real estate website.
Choosing the Domain Name
The first thing you will have to do is choosing the website’s name. The domain of your site is nothing but its unique address. There are lots of domain registrars to choose from. One of the most popular is GoDaddy. The registrar has about 19 million domains under management and is considered as the largest in the world. Try to use it to acquire the desired domain name.
But before doing it, think carefully about the name. We suggest you follow some simple steps while picking up an option. Identify several keywords that represent your site and idea and browse these options through the domain name generator. Select the best option provided by the domain generator. To make sure you picked up the right choice, just keep in mind that your best result should meet the following criteria:
- It should be short and clear to avoid mistyping.
- It has to be memorable, therefore – original and unique.
It’s always beneficial to have a .com website for your commercial real estate websites.
When you get the name which is available, you will see the price. Usually, the prices are not big and start at $8 for the first year.
Unique and creative yet simple things are easy to read and pronounce. Be creative and try to reflect the idea of your project through the name.
After you defined how your website will be called you can move to the next step. On this stage, you need to get a webspace or hosting.
By getting a web hosting you practically get a place on a webserver to store all of the website files. A hosting provider is also responsible for delivering these files once the browser makes a request to your website.
If you try to “google” web hosting provider the search results will show you thousands of options making it harder to make a choice. Considering that this service is paid, companies competing with each other providing services at a cheaper price trying to attract more customers.
We highly recommend Bluehost. The best hosting service usually means:
- maximum uptime;
- fast page-loading;
- proper support & troubleshooting.
These are the services that are necessary for the smooth and efficient functioning of your website. And Bluehost certainly meets all these requirements. Plus, it is available at an affordable fee, that starts at $3 per month.
All you need to do is select the plan that suits you, proceed to checkout and get your space.
The further step we need to take is installing the content management system. We already mentioned that our recommendation is WordPress. However, you can find many other options and select the one you like. But getting back to our approach, we need to install WordPress CMS first.
You can access the installation directly from the server panel. If you also choose Bluehost, then you can go to your Cpanel and navigate to the website section. Find the “Install WordPress” button there and click on it.
Provide your domain name when asked, and enter the email address and password for the WordPress login. Read and accept the service agreement and proceed with the installation.
A small tip from us: Even if you choose another hosting service instead of Bluehost, the installation steps are usually identical.
Getting a WP Theme
With WordPress installed it is the time to get a real estate theme. What is the theme? A theme is a collection of templates defining the appearance and display of a website.
While looking for the appropriate theme, do not concentrate only on design aspects. There are plenty of points you need to think about. These include monetization features, customization options, level of support and flexibility. It is better to make a list of the features you expect the theme to have and follow it when choosing.
Where to find the best WordPress themes? We suppose ThemeForest.net is an ultimate solution. This marketplace with nearly 50,000 of website templates for any purpose. The prices are also different, there are free products as well. Simply follow to the website, select the real estate category and search for options.
Our choice is HomePress real estate WordPress theme developed by StylemixThemes.
The theme is perfect for property-related business websites and designed specifically for a property listing directory and includes the following key features:
- Mobile friendly
- Search Engine optimized
- Prominent Contact information
- Click to call buttons
- Clean, uncluttered layouts
- IDX implementation
- Social login
- Lead magnets
- Homebuyer tools like a mortgage calculator
- Featured Listings
- Images galleries.
These are the essentials of a real estate website. And HomePress has all of them and even more.
After purchasing the theme, download its file and install it. HomePress comes with a bundle of premade demos. You can select any you like and import it just with one click. There are also different layouts available: single property pages, inventory pages, agent and agency templates.
At this point, you practically have your website live and ready to use. The only thing that’s left is to set it up and add content.
Adjust how your website looks
HomePress is supplied with Elementor page builder which makes it very easy to adjust the look and feel of the website.
Start from uploading your logo and changing titles on the website.
Next, you can change the colors. Advanced theme options simplify this process and give you full control of every detail.
Adding pages and page elements
The intuitive interface of the theme admin panel allows you to effortlessly add new pages and elements and set them up as you like. You can add sidebars and organize menu items, add media and text content.
The drag and drop toolset and a high level of customization turns website building fast and easy.
Adding properties to your website
Real estate websites are all about properties. So, once you finish customizing your website, you can move to the main part — adding content to your pages, namely, creating property listings.
You may have a question: is it possible to start a classified website for real estate?
The answer is Yes! It is typical for the real estate niche to have directory websites. Remember the statistics we mentioned about online searches. This is what makes it possible to create a classified website. However, a lot of marketing planning lays behind a successful Real Estate online business.
But before moving to the promotional part, let’s have a look at the option that makes it really simple to create a directory of property listings.
HomePress theme is powered by uListing plugin — listing and classified ads WordPress plugin, which allows you easily add property listings. uListing is a complete tool that does not require any supplementary software. In addition to this, HomePress supports IDX plugin integrations, which makes it even easier to import listings from your database. Besides this, you can add fields to property submission forms.
By creating a directory website, you may allow people to register on your platform and submit their listings as well. For proper control and monitoring, there are such features in uListing as user roles and subscription plans which help to limit users’ activities and a number of listings available for submission.
How does a real estate website work?
Naturally, you can create different types of websites with different approaches. Here are the most common categories:
- A website for a real estate agent
- A website for property agency
- Property directory website
Usually, websites that are dedicated to the agent and agency purposes perform the same function. They play the role of the profiles and lead generation tools. On such a website you can create a perfect representation of your services, create a great looking professional profile to attract visitors’ attention and make a contact.
This type of website works as an online platform to present your offline services.
However, when you create a real estate directory website, you can select another approach. In this type you allow other people to submit their properties for display on your website. You can set a price, in our case it is a subscription plan, which imposes a certain value for listings submissions. It is a completely different business framework, as you get your profit from the online operation.
Listing websites offer advantages for both buyers and sellers. As a seller, you can display your property to thousands of potential buyers. As a buyer, you enjoy the access to listings that match your particular needs, beyond price range and location.
What type of website to build depends on your needs. But HomePress is an ultimate theme for both options.
How much would it cost to build a website like MLS.com?
As we already told in the beginning website building can be an expensive initiative. Let’s have a look at the key development costs.
- Hosting and maintenance
- CMS integration
- Web development
- Web design
- Content creation
If you decide to hire a creative agency or some freelancers where every professional will be responsible for the specific part of the project, that might require investments.
But look through the steps again, aren’t they the same we described earlier? With that said, by using the tools we listed above you are more likely to build the website yourself quickly and really cheap. Yes, you may spend a valuable amount of time, learning how to use the product, but will be able to control every aspect of your workflow.
Still, answering the question: how much would it cost to build a website like MLS.com? Well, MLS.com is a listing service, with no exclusive design, but with advanced functionality. A similar site, considering its size, complexity and who is going to develop it, you can expect a total investment in the range of $5,000 – $15,000.
Or you have a second option, follow our small guide and you will spend no more than $100. And once you make it to the top, spend those $5,000 you saved on upgrading.