As an estate agency, you are looking to generate more leads by creating brand awareness and promoting the property services that you offer. Being an expert in the property industry, you know that getting noticed online is key to become more successful. And as the internet is constantly evolving, you need to think of new ways to improve your website. It’s vital that you keep on top of your online presence to avoid falling behind the competition. We’ve outlined some property website must haves, to ensure that the user is able to enjoy their time finding a property with you.
If your website doesn’t offer the best user experience, you might as well hand them to your competitors. Put yourself in your clients’ shoes, if they visit your website, what do they expect to see? Users who are searching for a property expect estate agent websites to offer an easy way to search for properties, your latest featured properties or even a link to any service offers.
You know that the majority of users visiting your website will be looking to buy, rent or invest in a property. Ensure that you have a property search tool at the top of your property page, this will make a potential buyer stick around to see what you have to offer. If your website doesn’t offer a search tool, how will the user be able to find what they are looking for? Alternatively, if your property search tool is difficult to find and use, why? To get the optimal user experience, it’s important to help people find exactly what they want, with the least amount of clicks.
Here are some tips for creating the best property search tool.
There are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of houses for sale within a users requirements at any given time, so having to scroll through endless amounts wouldn’t make a client want to stay on your website. Users are becoming increasingly impatient and expect to see results quickly.
It’s important that you give the user the ability to specify their own requirements, meaning they get to cut out anything they know will not be of interest to them. This is nothing new, but providing an advanced filtering system can improve conversion rates massively.
Price range is a huge part of the filtering process. 99.9% of people will have a budget when it comes to buying a new house, so they are limited to what they are going to spend. Therefore, instead of them having to scroll through properties they know they are not going to be able to afford, they can narrow their search down to the margin they want to be looking at.
If there is a family of 5 looking for a home, the chances are a two-bedroom property is going to be far too small for them. So why would they want to look at houses or apartments that aren’t going to be suitable for the whole family? By allowing users to select how many bedrooms they’d like the property to have, they are more likely to find something they’d be interested in.
You can also have a map showing where the property is. The pinpoint location of a property is becoming more and more desirable in property searches as the users will be able to see the exact location of the property. This is particularly when a user is searching outside of a known area. By doing this, clients will gain a better understanding of where the house is based and the type of area it is in. It gives them an idea of what is around the area such as shops, parks and catchment schools.
Travel time is key when looking for a new house. The majority of house hunters have jobs, so they will be prioritising how long it will take them to go to and from work. Or if they have kids, it may be travel time to and from school. A good estate agent website can now base a search on the travel time to the areas you specify and can find you homes available within the distance you are looking for.
Showcasing your best properties will make them stand out to a user. You can do this by placing featured properties on your homepage where everyone can see. If someone visits your website to find their next home and their dream home is featured on your homepage, this could lead to a quick enquiry without the user even having to search. Offering featured properties gives an estate agent more control of what properties their users will see.
A draw map is a different and easy way for buyers to search for property. This allows users to search for a property by drawing around the area that they would like to target. This makes it easier and quicker for buyers who are not targeting an exact location to search by choosing the area they prefer, rather than doing separate searches or filtering a broader search.
This allows a user to draw a specific location on a map to narrow down what properties are available in that specific area. This has become a highly sought-after affordable estate agent website feature as it allows buyers to find a property exactly where they want!
Property alerts are a great way to keep users informed of new properties which are added to your website. A user may visit your website but not find exactly what they are looking for. They can select their chosen criteria and be notified when a property matching these criteria is added.
What if someone’s dream home is added to your website the day after they are browsing? Without property alerts, how would they be aware that you are selling their perfect home? With property alerts, a quick sale could be made, which is a win for everyone.
This feature is highly beneficial for the user and the estate agency for multiple reasons. An estate agency can build up a reputable ‘client’ database to later target the right audience about specific properties or services they may be interested in and this tool allows a user to save time continuously searching for the right property.
A property shortlist gives users the chance to add properties of interest into a shortlist so that they can come back to them later. Properties may be added to the shortlist for users to compare which they prefer, to show another party or simply come back at a later date.
Having this feature is a great way of giving users a reason to return to your website. Think about when you are online shopping, if you see something of interest and you can ‘add to wishlist’, would you be more likely to go back to this item than if you had to go through the search again trying to find what you were looking for?
Adding a property shortlist feature to your website promotes returning visitors and takes the hassle out of finding a liked property again.
By adding property statistics on your website, you can track how many views each property is receiving and how many times a property has appeared in a search. This allows you to see what users are doing on your site and what they are looking for. By keeping track of how many views a property receives, you can see what the majority of users are looking for which will help you determine why one property is receiving more interest than another.
For example, a property with the stylish front room showing as the featured image may be receiving a high number of views, while a very similar property showing the building exterior may not be receiving any views. In this case, you could simply change the featured image to gain more interest. Property statistics is all about seeing what works and what doesn’t work for you.
Arrange a Viewing
This allows users to arrange property viewings by simply choosing a time and submitting their details. If this is confirmed with the estate agent, they will then be notified. Not everyone can contact you within your opening hours, this feature is a great option so that users are able to arrange a viewing at a time that suits them.
If you are online shopping and the website is in a language that you don’t understand, would you stay on the site or find another? Don’t miss out on potential leads due to a language barrier on your website. If your website targets different nationalities then add the option to change the language in order to generate more conversions from all over the world.
Remember, if your estate agent website is available in more than one language, SEO best practices suggest using hreflang tags. They sound complicated, but they basically offer a technical solution to multiple languages.
The hreflang attribute tells Google which language you are using on a specific page. This, in turn, allows the search engine to deliver the best result to the user. Users will not be able to see the code as this will be implemented either in the on-page markup, the HTTP header or the sitemap.
The code will look a little something like this:
<link rel=”alternate” href=”http://example.com” hreflang=”en-us” />
<link rel=”alternate” href=”http://example.com” hreflang=”es-es” />
Call to Actions
Adding call to actions to your website is an essential tool for directing people to offers or special services you want to promote. They are prompts of suggesting that the user takes the desired action, whether that be to contact you, fill out a form or download a brochure.
Clients are the main focus when it comes to business, which is why it is important that you make sure your website has all of the features that help to make their experience an enjoyable one. By doing this, you should see an increase in leads as well as conversion.
To discover more about creating the perfect estate agent website, download our website checklist: https://www.propertywebmasters.com/estate-agent-web-checklist/