Real Estate Websites: 17 Experts Share Their Thoughts for Agents Considering Their Own Site

Are real estate agent websites dead?

With all the talk of social media, Facebook ads, chatbots, and {insert latest shiny object}, it seems sometimes seems like having your own website is long past its prime.

But if you think Realtor websites are dead, you’re missing out on the real opportunity of modern real estate marketing. The truth? Having your own website is still going strong today, and is possibly the best strategy for your business.

Owning your own website

There’s a huge difference between subdomain websites on your broker’s website, a simple business card site, an all-in-one platform, and a website on your own URL on your own hosting account.

Some of these sites simply show that you “exist” and offer little functionality that clients will actually use, and others can are more like “renting” your site than “owning” your site (and personal brand).

According to NAR, agents change brokerages on average every 5 years. Ever feel like you’re starting over or having to rebuild momentum when changing brokerages? If your clients are used to going to yourname.brokersite.com and you do not have a current copy of your client database, you are.

real estate website trends

What do the expert say about building your real estate website?

I turned to 17 real estate marketing thought leaders from across the United States and asked them “Only a small percentage of agents have their own website (the percentage increases to approximately 33% if you look at the subdomain sites offered by a brokerage). What advice would you give a real estate agent considering building out their own WordPress website?“.

Here’s the 17 experts answers…

And what if you decide you want to go to a different brokerage? You can't bring that site with you if you are utilizing a broker provided site. I've been in the real estate industry for over 12 years now and you never know when you may need a change in brokerages and the last thing I ever wanted was to feel stuck and tied to a company because they controlled my marketing and websites. When you go custom, the possibilities are endless.

John Totin, Real Estate Guide at The Totin Group

(Showcase IDX Certified Partner)

My advice for all Realtors is to have their own custom website.

Be different, stand out and get custom! You control the design, content, look and feel of your site. And you own it! You may have to pay a small fee to sync your IDX and to host your site but it’s well worth the small investment and the site is completely yours.

And what if you decide you want to go to a different brokerage? You can’t bring that site with you if you are utilizing a broker provided site. I’ve been in the real estate industry for over 12 years now and you never know when you may need a change in brokerages and the last thing I ever wanted was to feel stuck and tied to a company because they controlled my marketing and websites. When you go custom, the possibilities are endless.


Having your own website is already a big step forward towards your personal branding and your lead ownership. You can change brokerage at any time (the average time a realtor stays with a brokerage is 5 years), that way you will retain full ownership of your marketing strategy, and your leads.

Charles Oreve, CEO at The X Concept

(Showcase IDX Certified Partner)

I will not give any advice, but will give you my point of view. Use a professional web developer! You are a specialist in the real estate market, we (Showcase IDX approved developers) are experts in building Real Estate Websites.

Having your own website is already a big step forward towards your personal branding and your lead ownership. You can change brokerage at any time (the average time a realtor stays with a brokerage is 5 years), that way you will retain full ownership of your marketing strategy, and your leads.

Using Showcase IDX is what will differentiations you from other agents using other IDX setups, Showcase IDX converts leads and ranks your website on google. Become a “Hyperlocal” expert, use SEO to your advantage, use neighborhoods instead of town and cities to limit the competition you will get on google searches.


Two critical things to include on your website is to highlight your unique advantage/expertise and to integrate an easy-to-use, mobile-friendly property search in order to keep the home buying process on your website. Everything else is secondary.

Robert Brock, Owner at Brock Creative Projects

(Showcase IDX Certified Partner)

Your site should be used to 1) establish yourself as a trusted, local expert and to 2) acquire leads. Don’t clutter your site with information, tools, or content that is distracting or makes it harder for the visitor to find what they’re actually looking for.

Two critical things to include on your website is to highlight your unique advantage/expertise and to integrate an easy-to-use, mobile-friendly property search in order to keep the home buying process on your website. Everything else is secondary.


You didn't go and buy a Lamborghini when you got your real estate license but you knew you needed a car.   You don't have to build a Zillow competitor in 2020 either, but you need a site.

Joshua Jarvis, Owner at 4rd Marketing

(Showcase IDX Certified Partner)

It’s 2020. You didn’t go and buy a Lamborghini when you got your real estate license but you knew you needed a car. You don’t have to build a Zillow competitor in 2020 either, but you need a site.

A WordPress site with Showcase IDX is one of the lowest cost ways to get a website up and running.


The advice I would give in building out your own WordPress site is to think of your website like its the house you live in.   Your home can always be improved. You may want to renovate your kitchen one day, expand your deck, or buy new furniture. We all know that the more you put into your home, the more you increase its value. The more love and effort you put into your home, the more people will remember it and will want to visit more often.   The same goes for your website! It is guaranteed that the more you put into your website, the more you will get out of it.

Sinoun Chea, Founder at Shiftweb Solutions

(Showcase IDX Certified Partner)

The advice I would give in building out your own WordPress site is to think of your website like its the house you live in.

Your home can always be improved. You may want to renovate your kitchen one day, expand your deck, or buy new furniture. We all know that the more you put into your home, the more you increase its value. The more love and effort you put into your home, the more people will remember it and will want to visit more often.

The same goes for your website! It is guaranteed that the more you put into your website, the more you will get out of it.


a website allows you to accumulate brand equity in an online property you "own".  If the day ever comes around and you change brokerages owning your own WordPress website allows for an easy migration while preserving all your brand equity.

Jason Johnson, Founder & Chief Marlin at Marlin Consulting Solutions

(Showcase IDX Certified Partner)

As an agent, most of your marketing dollars and time are spent building your individual brand. That is why it is important that you invest in a website that allows you to accumulate brand equity in an online property you “own”.

If the day ever comes around and you change brokerages owning your own WordPress website allows for an easy migration while preserving all your brand equity.


your website can be built as a "Work in progress". Get the main parts up and going, and then add enhancements as time and budgets allow.

Barry Carter, Founder at BC MarTech

(Showcase IDX Certified Partner)

Find someone who you can at least consult with. You’re going to run into things you have questions about, and having someone in your corner will keep you from spending hours and hours researching a solution.

Also, your website can be built as a “Work in progress”. Get the main parts up and going, and then add enhancements as time and budgets allow.


Having your own website will also build your credibility as an authority in the area, which will certainly increase targetted leads. Not just someone looking for an agent, but someone looking for you to be their agent.

Gerrick Phillips, Founder at DEV406

(Showcase IDX Certified Partner)

If you are considering building out your WordPress website, I would recommend going for it!

Right now is a good time to develop your new website and be generating content for the next year or more for that website. As we ease back into a system of being able to meet with potential clients and show more houses or properties in person, having a website for yourself could prove to be a very useful resource as times change.

Having your own website gives you an advantage over other agents. These advantages include better search visibility, better lead acquisition, and increased social proof. You’ll be able to increase your overall visibility to buyers and sellers by having content tied directly to your name. Ultimately, additional traffic will be driven to your listings as a result.

Having your own website will also build your credibility as an authority in the area, which will certainly increase targetted leads. Not just someone looking for an agent, but someone looking for you to be their agent. With so many social tools out there, having your own website will also give you the ability to extend your credibility and show social proof. You’ll be able to embed review tools from Facebook, Google My Business, etc right on your own website.

Using WordPress CMS for your website will give you an even greater advantage as it provides an easy-to-use interface that even beginners can understand quickly. You should not be intimidated by managing your website or be bound to a designer to make updates for you. Once your WordPress site is developed and integrated with useful plugins like Showcase IDX, it becomes easy to manage your listings, your blog, and your leads.


Building your own site allows you the freedom to tailor the web experience to your personal brand and your brand experience.  Also, your website can target and focus on the exact type of buyer and seller you want to work with.

Greg Taylor, Founder at Trinity Web Media

When you have your own web presence, you own a little corner of the Internet. Building your own site allows you the freedom to tailor the web experience to your personal brand and your brand experience.

Also, your website can target and focus on the exact type of buyer and seller you want to work with. By knowing and targeting your perfect audience with your own site, your cost per acquisition and/or lead will reduce drastically.


There is not a solution that will just provide you leads. All solutions need work, a WordPress site allows you to own your work which is different than a fully provided website.

Tim Emineth, Consultant at Personal SEO

(Showcase IDX Certified Partner)

Creating and owning your own solution can be daunting but provides you with the most flexibility. We have found that agents using full websites (all-in-one) solutions tend to outgrow them fairly quickly. This means you now have to go through the pain of copying and pasting all of your content into the new solution or WordPress website. This is a hidden cost that most people miss when switching from one platform to another.

The main issue is that marketing a website is hard work and something that needs to be done on a regular basis. There is not a solution that will just provide you leads. All solutions need work, a WordPress site allows you to own your work which is different than a fully provided website.


When you are building out a WordPress site that will be using an IDX, you want to avoid bloated themes & unnecessary plugins that add a lot of dependencies and extra code. Mult-purpose themes available on sites like Theme Forest might look like a great deal, but they add tons of features you do not need.

Raj Vasa, Director of Digital Marketing at District Interactive

(Showcase IDX Certified Partner)

When you are building out a WordPress site that will be using an IDX, you want to avoid bloated themes & unnecessary plugins that add a lot of dependencies and extra code. Mult-purpose themes available on sites like Theme Forest might look like a great deal, but they add tons of features you do not need.

Keep it simple, keep it clean, don’t add tons of plugins when functionality can be done without them, and focus on design & user experience. In this day and age, with static site generators & headless WordPress making a big splash due to speed & security, it is more important than ever to give users a great experience, especially on mobile.

In our testing, custom light-weight WordPress real estate websites outperform the template-based approach in almost all conversion metrics we track. It’s the difference between wearing a suit off the rack or having one tailor-made for you. Going that extra step can help separate you and your brand from the crowd.

In conclusion, when you are building a website, remember the main purpose is to convert unknown traffic into names. At its simplest form, a fast coherent website + opt-ins (e-mail lists, IDX, guides) = freedom from over-reliance on any 3rd party service (Google, FB, IG, Zillow). It allows you to market on your own terms, and choosing WordPress & Showcase IDX allows you to start at mid-field.


When a user visits your site they should be able to load in and find exactly what they are looking for within the first 30 seconds, otherwise, you may lose that potential client.

Filip Modracek, Founder at Radiant Hosting

(Showcase IDX Certified Partner)

The subdomain websites that brokerages offer their agents work, but they are not the best for showcasing how unique the agent is. Often times their designs are also lacking and they do not have that modern feel and look that most clients are used to. Customization is often times also an issue with these sites.

Unlike most subdomain websites, moving to a WordPress site powered by Showcase IDX will allow you to fully customize the experience for your clients and show them why you are the perfect agent for them.

My advice to any agent looking to get their own WordPress website is simply to build it with the client in mind. The website needs to have easy to navigate pages, and a mobile-friendly design. Remember more is not always better when it comes to WordPress. Putting too much info on pages or adding too many unstable plugins on your site will lower site performance, push away potential clients, and ruin the experience.

When a user visits your site they should be able to load in and find exactly what they are looking for within the first 30 seconds, otherwise, you may lose that potential client.

Sounds like too much work? Don’t stress, you can always get an agency to help you set everything up! Last but not least, you need a powerful IDX plugin. A plugin that not only performs well, but also looks great and fits modern website layouts. Our recommended IDX plugin is, of course, Showcase IDX. In our experience, the plugin has great performance and has that modern feel which can easily be implemented into any WordPress site.


Heather Farris, Pinterest Expert at Heather Farris & Co.

Real Estate Agents are so busy finding and serving clients that many of
them don’t take advantage of having their own website and marketing
themselves outside of their brokerage.

If I were to be asked by an agent what they should do for their WordPress site it would be to start simple and build it out. You don’t need fancy web design or logos to start getting in front of your audience. Start a blog right away and begin by answering the questions you get asked most frequently by your clients. Create simple Pinterest images and learn how to find and use Pinterest SEO to then pin your blog post to Pinterest. Do this consistently and even with a new blog you will have a cold audience built and coming to your new website in as little as 6 months.


James McGrath, Founder of the NYC Real Estate Brokerage Yoreevo

I’d certainly recommend all agents use this downtime to start a website.
It’s 2020 – if you don’t have a presence online, you might as well not
exist.
Unless a potential client is a referral (and often even if they are
a referral), the first thing they are going to do is search for you.

A simple website with a home page, about page, and blog is a great start. A blog, especially in markets lacking competition, can be a huge differentiator and bring in a lot of business.


Catherine Way, Digital Marketing Manager at Prime Plus Mortgages

My number one tip for realtors is to really focus on building a strong and
useful website for their clients.
That means learning SEO and optimizing
their site to help them bring any new clients to their site. For building
their site, agents should focus on what performs best, not what looks the
best. While a beautiful design is a necessity, having a clean and
well-formatted site with with a good IDX plugin is a must for any realtor.

If you are building your own website, you should start with a NEED list, what are your clients going to need, and how easy will you make it for them to obtain.


Brian Robben, CEO at Robben Media

Having your own website is simply the cost of doing business in 2020,
especially during this crazy time of quarantine.

A website is more informative and dynamic than a business card. Tell your story on your site. Show pictures of yourself and you representing clients successfully. If you’re up for it, record a quick video to show off your personality and give potential clients a preview of what it’s like to work with you.

And WordPress is simply the best for building a site. It’s super easy with theme support, plugins, and tutorial videos all over the internet, including YouTube. You won’t be disappointed.

Treat your website like a plant - it needs to be watered, whether that's with monthly SEO services or simply adding a page or blog post every other week yourself. It's easy when done right, it just requires consistent effort. Progress, not perfection!

James Gillentine, Founder at 28South Zips

(Showcase IDX Certified Partner)

Do it! If you’re an established agent, make the investment in something great that you own outright, that will last, and that properly showcases who you are.

If you’re a fairly new agent, go with something basic, and start building your presence slowly.

Treat your website like a plant – it needs to be watered, whether that’s with monthly SEO services or simply adding a page or blog post every other week yourself. It’s easy when done right, it just requires consistent effort. Progress, not perfection! You can do it!


Final Thoughts

Most of the expert real estate marketers featured in this post agreed on the following:

  • Having your own website where you own the URL, hosting, and home search is essential going forward for both the protection of your personal brand and generating leads.
  • If you want to have a long-term future in real estate, then you need to forget about focusing on how you can make easy money and instead give your users value and solve their real problems.
  • Use other marketing channels (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, email, etc.) to drive people to your website – as the hub of your marketing.
  • Going niche is important especially in bigger markets and with increased competition from large real estate portals.
  • Being an ‘authority’ is no longer an option but ESSENTIAL if you want to grow your real estate business in the future.

Ignore these real estate marketing trends at your own peril, but if you do, you may never make life-changing money from real estate in the future.

Before you go…

Is there something these experienced marketers have missed that you think should be included?

Any big trends you see coming that they missed?

Something that you’re worried about that could put you out of business?

Share your thoughts in the comments below today…


Author Details
Chief Marketing Officer
Entrepreneurial marketing leader that’s built and run organizations from start-up to over $500M annual revenue. He brings a unique combination of storytelling and innovation to the team, having led marketing for many brands. Kurt’s a regular conference speaker and workshop leader around modern marketing tactics that actually drive sales. In addition, he has been asked to coach and advise thousands of leaders, from startup founders to the President of the United States.

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