Real estate agents and brokers used to rely on potential clients walking in the door looking for their next home. Now, like every other business, the first contact occurs online.
However, real estate is not like every other business, so real estate agencies need specialized web design and development to convert a basic contact into a potential client.
The best real estate websites are modern, easy to navigate, and reach their target audience–potential buyers, with a home search they will actually use. They take visitors on an exciting user journey to finding their next home.
These websites also have to inspire trust. After all, homebuyers are making a huge, life-changing decision. They need to feel confident in their real estate agent. A beautifully designed real estate website is a great way to kickstart that trusting relationship.
What Does It Take To Build a Successful Real Estate Site?
Building a successful real estate website with a beautiful and functional design is not overly complicated if your designer has built IDX sites before. It takes time, marketing strategy, user experience knowledge, and more than one website builder tool. It will also not be cheap.
However, don’t let that scare you. Investing in your real estate website and building it to your brand specifications is a surefire way to attract potential clients, build relationships, convert leads, showcase your professionalism, and keep them coming back to your website with automated listing alerts.
If web design is not your forte, there are real estate website designers and real estate web developers who can help. Sometimes, employing a real estate web design company will cover both bases of development and design, leaving you to do what you do best—selling real estate.
Let’s jump into 15 proven real estate website design ideas and tips that will help make you the go-to real estate professional in your area.
The balance between functionality and aesthetics is the key to a successful web design.
Like any website, finding a balance between design aesthetics and functionality is essential.
You want your real estate website design to be pleasing to the eye and provide the information your target audience needs to make an informed decision about your business. It should also have precise CTAs and usable lead-generation forms to help you convert potential clients into contracted clients.
A visually attractive website might be able to attract the eyeballs you need for your business—but the reality is that it’s not enough.
The design aspect of any real estate website is just as important. It’s the first element of your real estate website that potential clients will notice.
Visitors will see the layout of the page, how you present your information, and what kinds of images, fonts, and color schemes you use. This first impression is vital in connecting with users and illustrating the tone and voice of your business.
Modern web design practices are responsive and minimalistic. As a result, Internet users have come to expect not just beautiful but easy-to-navigate design, and your real estate website should reflect that.
The design will get people in the door, but it won’t be enough to keep them there. That’s where functionality comes into play. You need to make sure that people can find what they’re looking for quickly and easily. The best way to do this is to balance aesthetics and function.
Usability is a significant factor in how long a user stays on and engages with a website. The page layouts must make sense, all your menus and links must function, and you must have provided customers with answers to their questions when they first enter your site.
When all of these elements are designed with excellence, it boosts your online presence substantially in the minds of your target audience.
An example of a real estate website that is both beautifully designed and functional is Red Wagon Team. They use strategically placed CTAs, a useful contact form, and display a montage of beautiful interior spaces on the homepage. It’s clean, minimalistic, and informative. Anyone who visits this site will immediately understand who they are, what they do, and how to reach them.
Allow your users to navigate your website with ease.
While attractive real estate website design is important, the ability for easy navigation and content is even more critical. Website users value this feature more than any other aspect of a regular website, and it’s only second to the home search on your website in terms of importance.
This attitude makes perfect sense. If your website is challenging or confusing to navigate, users will leave it before completing any of the actions you want them to take.
Think of your real estate website as a small town your potential client is visiting for the first time. They are tired, hungry, and need to gas up the car. But if they can’t find a place to eat, a hotel to stay at, or the town’s gas station, they will leave and visit the next town over.
If you want people who visit your site to become customers, you’ll need to provide them with an easy-to-understand roadmap, directing them to search tools or contact forms.
Some excellent examples of real estate websites that do this well can be found in some of our live customer examples here https://showcaseidx.com/customer-idx-website-examples/ .
Equip your site with powerful search features.
Everybody is busy these days, including your prospects. You can save them time and make your site easier to navigate by providing powerful search tools.
Homebuyers are most interested in looking at property listings. Designing your site with an interactive search tool allows them to immediately type in the type of listing they are looking for. It’s also a good idea to include advanced search features that allow users to tailor their creative search to a specific area, home type, or property.
Suppose you have clients who are interested in commercial properties, distressed properties (usually investors), and equestrian properties or farms. In that case, you’ll also want your search tool to deliver these listings to your specialized clients. So, you’ll also want advanced search filters for this purpose.
Strategically add compelling CTAs to your website content.
We’ve talked a lot so far about making sure you add compelling CTAs throughout your real estate website to help users take the actions you want them to take. But what exactly is a CTA, and why are they important?
Calls-to-action, also known as CTAs, play a significant role in increasing the conversion rates of your landing pages because, by their very nature, they are designed to convert.
CTAs show up in website design in a variety of ways. They can be:
- Action buttons on your homepage that say “Read More”
- Social sharing buttons
- A contact form submission
- Something to encourage users to download helpful resources, such as a first-time homebuyer’s guide.
The contact option is one of the most critical CTAs for a real estate website. Why else would you build a beautiful, functional website and not include a way for potential buyers to contact you?
CTAs and other action elements should be simple, attractive, and prominent. They should also use specific copy to entice the user into completing the action.
Examples of Effective CTAs
The real estate investment firm Qubrik does CTAs well. A bright blue button that encourages you to check out their current project listings is one of the first things you see on their website.
Opendoor is another website with a strong CTA. Their CTA encourages users who want to sell their homes to input their addresses for a free offer. It’s located front and center on the top portion of their home page, so visitors can’t miss it.
Use optimized but high-quality images on your website.
Images help convey information about your real estate services, but they also increase engagement. Therefore, photos should be relevant to what you’re selling and help illustrate written content. They should also be optimized as a small file to keep your page from slowing down.
The website header is one of the first things users will see when they land on your real estate website. The most effective landing pages have crisp header photos and a clean layout to help grab your target audience’s attention.
Professional shots of well-decorated interiors on a real estate website are a great way to show people the product you are selling. Panoramic, 360-degree videos and photos are a helpful selling point because they allow users to “tour” attractive properties digitally.
Your website will look outdated and unprofessional if you use low-resolution images. Therefore, photos should be formatted for display on the web with a minimum resolution of 72 pixels per inch (ppi).
The following image size guidelines can help you avoid pixelated, blown-up, or distorted photos:
- Header images: 1024 x 768 pixels
- Logo images: 250 x 100 pixels
- Background images: 1920 x 1080 pixels
Lowering Bounce Rates
Using optimized and high-quality images on your website also directly affects the number of bounces your webpage receives.
A bounce occurs when a user visits your website, views a single page, and then leaves. Sometimes, you may want people to visit only one page on your site. However, many websites want people to stick around, look at what they’re offering, make a purchase or schedule a meeting with a real estate agent.
Images and videos with large file sizes cause web pages to load more slowly. The longer it takes for a page to load, the greater the chance a user will back out and visit another, faster site. In this case, you’ve lost business before they even had an opportunity to review your site or learn more about your business.
To prevent a potential client from bouncing, you can use an image compression plugin to ensure your image load time is kept to a minimum.
A great real estate website design example with optimized, high-resolution images is Mark Spain. The website is image-heavy, with a large header image and a dozen images of current listings. The site loads fast, and the photos are both relevant and tell a story about the company and the type of customer who might use its services.
Slifer Smith and Frampton and Core NYC are also excellent examples of how to use images on your website. They combine ample white space with minimal copy to let the beautiful photos do the storytelling.
Allow your users to scan content with ease.
Web users prefer to find their information as fast and efficiently as possible. As a result, web users only take in 28% of the text on a given webpage. Instead, they default to scanning the page for the information they want, generally in an F-shaped pattern.
What this means is that users begin scanning a webpage at the top left corner and scan horizontally across the page. Then, they repeat this movement slightly farther down the page. They move their eyes in a vertical pattern on the left side of the page.
Other scanning patterns can occur; however, the F-shaped pattern is the most common.
How To Make Your Website Scannable?
Not everyone has the time to read every bit of text on your website, so allow your users to scan content using simple navigation tools like tabs, buttons, and dropdown menus.
This user behavior presents many problems for businesses. Placing your value proposition at the top left corner of the landing page is vital to keep users on the page and quickly get them the information they’re looking for. Your value proposition will often be a CTA encouraging users to sign up for something or contact options for your real estate agents.
It is also wise to avoid large blocks of text with no subheadings, and use bulleted lists or images to break up the monotony. Website visitors won’t read intimidating blocks of text, no matter how valuable or important the information might be.
Other innovative navigation tools include dropdown menus, CTA buttons, and tabs that break up large volumes of information or text.
Embed an online appointment schedule on your website.
A critical aspect of any successful real estate business is setting up meetings with prospects. Implementing an online appointment scheduler can make conversion smooth and frictionless for your customers.
Online appointment schedulers are valuable for website visitors and real estate professionals alike. It makes it easy for customers to kickstart their real estate buying process without calling the office and making an appointment. It also automatically adds the meeting to both parties’ calendars.
Online schedulers often include reminder features as well. These digital reminders help diminish the number of no-shows that occur.
Keeping up with a digital calendar is much less stressful to manage. It frees up time you would typically spend making calls, coordinating schedules, and sending out exhaustive reminder emails. Using digital calendars will allow you or your staff to put their effort into other more important or pressing matters. Here are a couple options you could try out:
- Calendly: Calendly is one of the best real estate websites. It is an online hub for efficiently scheduling meetings in a clean, modern format. It also integrates easily with different social platforms, online meeting tools, and payment portals.
- Timify: Timify is another online booking platform that makes it easy for prospects and customers to self-schedule appointments with their agents. This online scheduler can be set up with automated appointment reminders for real estate agents and customers and syncs effortlessly with a wide range of online calendar platforms.
Optimize your pages for a better user experience.
I mentioned above that a website that takes too long to load turns off most users. On average, a user will spend between 45 to 54 seconds on a single website, which is tricky enough. However, if the page takes too long to load due to poor optimization, they might not spend more than a few seconds on your site.
Google offers a free website performance tool that any real estate company should take advantage of when optimizing their website. The goal should always be to achieve an excellent user experience and influence users to take a specific action. The following are some things to consider:
To successfully optimize your website to improve a user’s experience, you first need to address the amount of white space on your page. White space helps the design feel modern and uncluttered. It also makes it easier for users to navigate and focus on the information they’re looking for.
Buttons and Links
You should make any buttons or links on your site obvious so people understand they can get the answers they need by clicking there. As a reminder, all your CTAs should be attractive and prominent, and identify to the user what will happen if they click on them.
Page speed is also incredibly important for page optimization. We live in a face-paced world used to instant gratification. The desire for immediate answers and information holds for users on the internet, who will bail quickly if they don’t get it.
Choose a responsive and beautiful real estate theme for your website.
Themes and templates have a huge role to play in real estate websites’ overall design and functionality.
Website builders like WordPress, Wix, Duda, and Squarespace all allow you to download pre-made themes or templates, but only WordPress will work well with a modern IDX.
As a real estate company, you should find an image-centric theme that can be customized with integrations like meeting apps or an online scheduler.
Be sure to use a great real estate theme that contributes to an excellent user experience. Beauty and attractive design are part of building a good website. However, just because a theme looks nice doesn’t mean it will suit the needs of your real estate business.
You must select a theme with features suitable for your business’s nature and easy for the user to navigate.
Enhance your customer support by leveraging the power of chatbots.
Managing a 24/7 chat service isn’t feasible for most real estate companies. However, you can save time and precious hours by automating repetitive tasks such as answering common user questions with a chatbot.
Most chatbox tools manage the messaging service with a bot. First, you set up the questions and answers that might come up on the backend. Then, when customers come to your site and enter a question in the chatbox, an automatic answer populates.
Chatbots are ideal for identifying common questions about listings, service fees, billing, and other customer service inquiries. It can also help direct them to specific pages on your site or put them in direct contact with a real estate agent. Best of all, it is accessible anytime, so you never miss an opportunity to connect with a customer.
Integrate IDX into your website.
People love to shop, so why not allow them to do so on your website? Using an IDX integration is key for real estate websites that want to obtain more visitors and leads.
With IDX, your readers can view listings at their convenience.
Internet Data Exchange (IDX) is a software tool that allows brokers and agents to share listings. The tool helps small real estate agencies compete and cooperate with larger organizations. It also makes it easy for users to find the property listings they want from any site.
Most website builders and web developers allow for the addition of IDX plugins. These drag and drop plugins offer map searches, listing searches, lead capture tools, and responsive mobile features.
Some of the best IDX software tools include:
- Showcase IDX
- IDX Broker
Read How To Integrate Real Estate Listings on My Website for how to do this yourself. You can also find a comparison of Showcase IDX vs. IDX Broker vs. iHomefinder here.
Allow space for social proof.
Social proof, such as client testimonials and case studies, plays a key role in the decision-making process of potential clients. This concept is a psychological phenomenon that indicates to consumers they are making a good decision based on the positive experiences of others.
When making big purchases, such as buying a home or property, over 40% of consumers look to online reviews and influencer testimonials for guidance.
So, leverage the power of social proof by adding it to your website!
Take the positive reviews you’ve received on Google or social media and turn them into attractive real estate marketing tools. You can do this by creating a rotating carousel of positive reviews and placing them on your homepage or featuring them as social media posts.
Collaborating with other real estate industry experts, creating a large social media following, and displaying certifications are great ways to showcase social proof on your website.
Don’t forget about the mobile users!
Mobile traffic is growing rapidly, and it’s important to cater to this audience. There are over 5 billion mobile users throughout the world. They need access to your site’s information just like a laptop or desktop user does.
Mobile sites are just as important as your main website. You should always be mindful of how your site looks and functions when viewed on a smartphone. A real estate website with excellent mobile experience is more likely to improve visibility on search engines, increase lead generation and conversions, and boost sales.
Focus on fast.
Speed matters. It doesn’t matter if you sell houses or housewares—people want things now.
You must keep your real estate website up to date and moving fast to meet prospects’ demands and influence users.
Optimize your website for speed. Otherwise, your potential clients will buy their new home elsewhere.
If your website isn’t fast enough to provide users with the information they seek, they’ll look for it on someone else’s website.
Add video tours.
High-quality images are great, but the experience gets even better with video storytelling. So, add videos to your listing pages to provide a more immersive experience for your users. Even better, add 360-degree videos so your buyers can see where they’ll put their furniture.
Real estate websites increasingly rely on visuals such as panoramic and drone videos to sell properties because they entice people to actively engage with the content to learn more. They allow for a more immersive, more engaging experience for visitors.
For example, 3D property tours give users a better feel for the size and quirks of a property than a static, 2D image can. Likewise, drone videos help potential buyers visualize how their new property looks—and might even help close the deal when they can see their beautiful new backyard oasis from the air.
So, make sure you’re incorporating video storytelling to help you sell those listings.
Let’s address some frequently asked questions about real estate website design.
What questions should you ask when creating a website?
When creating a website, you need to understand your core audience, your business, your website goals, and what kind of website your real estate agency needs. It is also important to consider how you want the website to look and feel, different integrations or features you’d like to include, and what the CTAs will be. Here is an article with more questions to ask when hiring a website developer.
What are the most important things to consider when designing a web page?
The most important things to consider when designing a single web page are CTA placement, search tools, and value proposition placement. You should also consider the general layout and quality of images, white space, and copy. For your entire site, the answer is a modern IDX.
What are the qualities of a good website?
A good website is easy to skim, easy to navigate, and displays the most essential information potential customers need right up front.
What makes a website design bad?
A terrible website design does not balance relevant content with relevant imagery. It won’t have CTAs, lead generation forms, contact forms, or a way to search the site for listings. Poor real estate website designs make it difficult for the user to navigate and scan the site.
What should a website contain?
A real estate website should have the following:
- A simple web address
- Search bar
- Attractive, modern design
- Optimized, relevant images
- Useful content
- Contact form
- Business name and logo
- IDX integration for property listings
- Prominent CTAs
More details on those can be found in How To Make A Real Estate Website: A Guide