Back in 1995 one of the very first websites I did for an actual paying client was for a real estate agent. Within a few years I developed the manually coded site into an automated system which allowed any agent or broker to purchase the system and set it up on their server. By today’s standards it was highly rudimentary. Then there were the issues we ran into when the bigger organizations wanted to challenge some of our clients for perceived violations. So, for many years after that, most websites were provided only to developers, builders, investors, and individuals.
During my time with RETSO, originally called Real Estate Technology South, I met several fine organizations who stepped up to the plate and convinced the larger organizations that this was something that had to happen. So, beginning in about 2011 I once again began offering my services to real estate agents and brokers.
Big Advances with IDX for Real Estate Websites
One of the biggest advances in web based technology for real estate sales has been the introduction of the IDX. What originally caused a huge headache for many clients is not widely available, for a fee, from providers who are licensed to distribute local MLS information. The down side is there are many to choose from. The upside is there are many to choose from!
What an IDX does is allow me to embed in your website a full featured search system which allows visitors to search through all homes in the MLS directly from your site. Some are so well integrated that a visitor never knows exactly where that information comes from. Since they fit nicely into the styling and branding of your website, this makes it easy to keep your visitors as your customers. Many even offer built-in lead capture and Contact Management features.
Using WordPress for Real Estate Websites
As participant on the WordPress development forum, I am pleased to know even some of the future for WordPress before it is widely known. From what I see today (as we prepare to release WP 4.6), the web is reaching a level of maturity not seen in times past. As a real estate agent you are already busy. Adding the management of a website to your crazy schedule isn’t something that should even be entertained. With the combination of WordPress and a good IDX, you’ll find you rarely need to do more than just answer messages sent to you through your site. It’s not quite “picking up checks from the mailbox” but it’s close!
Social Media Integration for Real Estate Agents
When I visit real estate websites, one of the biggest missing links is social. Even when it is there it is often used incorrectly. Since I’m not giving away secrets here on this public blog, take a few minutes and let’s talk about how social can be put to better use than the average agent is making. Okay, here’s a hint: most people think they have to work for social media. I do my best to get social media to work for you. In other words, don’t let the tail wag the dog.