Many of the sales associated with real estate are based on first impressions alone. Buyers won’t pursue a property in earnest if they don’t fall in love with it the first time they see it. Research shows that people form lasting first impressions within the first 15 seconds of seeing something, which particularly applies to everything in real estate. Homeowners are encouraged to improve their curb appeal in order to greatly improve first impressions.
The same thing goes for your real estate website. Research from The National Association of Realtors shows that 69 percent of homebuyers begin their search for both properties and real estate agents online. If they like what they see on a website, they’ll make contact. If not, they’ll keep looking until they find something else.
The competition in the real estate business is too fierce not to put great care into your website. It should be visually appealing in both design and imagery. If it doesn’t meet that criteria now, here are some suggestions that can make all the difference.
- Use quality images that are compressed for a greater user experience.
At this point, no one needs reminding about the importance of high-quality images for real estate listings. We know that the quality of the image can be make or break. What’s more important to understand is how the size and quality of the image greatly affect the user experience. Using a compressed file size basically minimizes the number of bytes used without ruining the quality of the image. Doing so speeds up your site significantly and makes your site more enjoyable to visit.
- Use virtual tours to showcase featured properties.
Over the past two years, the use of virtual tours to promote properties online has grown significantly in popularity. Videos allow homebuyers to feel like they’re walking through a property without leaving their home. It’s the best method we have for online tours, and these videos should be done well to get the most out of them.
To dress up your virtual tours, here are some tips:
- Show off the floor plan first
- Make any improvements the focus
- Use more pictures
- Scrap any pictures that aren’t quality or retake them
- Use 3D to give a better view of the home
- Edit, edit edit
- Shop through website themes to find a flexible, beautiful option.
As a busy real estate agent, your focus should be more on the performance of the market and client needs rather than on building a great real estate site from scratch. Many website themes and templates are built specifically for use in the real estate sector. They’re optimized for imagery, map integration, social sharing, and more. These themes are both free and paid, and you can often find a free template that’s great quality if you’re willing to look.
Some favorites from the pros include:
- Prime Five Homes
- Erin Mills Life
- Beachwalk Properties
- Real Places
- WP Residence
Look for a template that will meet your unique real estate needs and provide the function of a well-designed real estate site without sacrificing the appearance.
- Test your website and make appropriate improvements.
Don’t skip this step. A huge part of growing your clientele and becoming more visible online is understanding what your audience wants in a great website experience. Through A/B testing, surveys, and other forms of gathering feedback, you can learn about client preferences and how to best optimize your website.
With the appropriate changes, you’ll improve the online experience and retain your clients.