Developing a comprehensive Real Estate website can be a time-consuming process. Unfortunately not every agent has enough time to spend on building the website from scratch. This where website builders come to help real estate agents and teams build their webpages.
Many agents that I speak to wonder what is the fastest way to get the website out there, receive quality traffic and build brand awareness. Personally, for our clients, we suggest using WordPress as it gives almost endless opportunities for real estate agents and brokerages.
However, let’s look at the top website builders out there and compare their features.
Best Real Estate Website Builders 2020
Website builders are tools that allow the construction of websites without coding.
It’s an all-in-one solution:
- Drag and drop website editing
- Simple CRM
- Pre-built templates
If you are looking for a website solution and not sure which website builder to choose from, the DESA team compiled a handy list of the most popular real estate website builders with different features and price points.
Wix is a great website builder to create and publish real estate websites fast and relatively cheap. The lowest price available is $13 per month and can go as high as $39 per month. Overall, all required features you need for a real estate website can be found in the cheapest plan.
However, more expensive packages include more storage, advanced analytics and calendar appointments with a simple email automation system.
WIX – Lead Forms
Wix has its own lead generation features that transfer all leads to Wix CRM. However, if you are planning to integrate your own forms from the 3rd party website and try to track it with Google Analytics, it will be challenging. Unfortunately, for custom HTML forms, Wix uses <iframe> which makes it much more difficult to track GA events.
WIX – IDX Integration
Wix supports IDX integration but it is no super easy to implement compared to its competitors like Squarespace. Similar to custom lead forms, Wix uses <iframe> and whenever a user clicks on the listing inside the IDX, it opens a new window redirecting to a 3rd party website. It might be challenging for those who are trying to capture leads.
WIX – Final Thoughts
If you are looking for a cost-efficient solution for the real estate website, Wix is a great platform. However, it is important to keep in mind that if you are planning to expand the website functionality, you will need to purchase apps from the Wix Store. Therefore, your $13/month package would become $50+/month.
Squarespace has a huge variety of website templates that suits different business needs, including the real estate industry. It is important to understand that Squarespace (similar to Wix) is not built to serve only real estate agents. Therefore, it lacks several features like built-in CRM and designated landing pages for real estate lead capturing.
Since Squarespace is the main competitor of Wix, the pricing is similar: $16/month for Personal plan and $26/month for Business plan. If you decide to pay a premium price, you will get a free year of G-Suite, new design features and enhanced on-page lead capturing possibilities.
Squarespace – Lead Forms
As mentioned above, Squarespace is not completely suitable for the real estate industry, but still, it can be quite effective. You can create a simple lead form and include it on every webpage (or integrate 3rd party code), program a pop-up window with the form when a certain action is made or utilize an Announcement Bar with a required Call-to-Action.
Squarespace – IDX Integration
With Squarespace, you can easily integrate IDX with your website. The main difference between Squarespace and real estate specific website builder is that you will be required to subscribe to IDX provider (i.e. Ultimate IDX). This provider will act as a “bridge” between the Squarespace website and MLS. You will then need to install a designated IDX plugin that will give you full capabilities of a responsive MLS search right on your Squarespace website.
Squarespace – Final Thoughts
Overall, Squarespace provides the best not real estate specific website builder solution on the market. Along with competitive prices, it has almost endless capabilities in terms of design and functionality. There is no doubt that it is missing some features like CRM and more complicated lead forms, however, it is still a good solution for those real estate agents who are just starting their digital journey.
Web4Realty is a 3-in-one solution for real estate agents that includes the following features: website building, CRM platform and IDX listing integration. Since it is developed specifically for realtors, it is a bit more expensive than Wix or Squarespace, but much cheaper compared to Placester.
If you are interested in the website builder only, this will cost you $29/month. With a full-service CRM integrated, the plan will be $39/month. No contract in both scenarios.
Web4Realty – Lead Forms
Needless to say that it has customizable lead forms that can be integrated into the website pages. However, if you are planning to use 3rd party lead forms, you can also integrate those and send all leads to the CRM platform you currently have.
Web4Realty – IDX Integration
Web4Realty has a powerful listing search. SmartSearch IDX comes packed with easy-to-use filtering options, intuitive tools, and a gorgeous interface matched to your branding. The best part is that it allows you to create a custom-filtered list of homes and send it directly to your clients.
Web4Realty – Final Thoughts
Bottom line is that it is a good solution for the price Web4Realty has. Unfortunately, the website customization is not that powerful compared to Wix and almost every website built on Web4Realty looks the same. If you are not looking for a website with a unique design, it is a decent platform to stick to.
Placester has a balanced real estate website builder, including specific real estate features, that are required to take a business to the next level. Even though the price is much higher compared to Wix and Squarespace, the functionality makes Placester pricing worth it.
The cheapest package would cost $59/month and the most expensive will cost you $199/month (+set-up fee). Not to mention, along with free features, Placester offers paid add-ons, like Content Library Access and Open House Pro Premium
Placester – Lead Forms
Similar to Wix, Placester has its own CRM integrated with a website builder. You can place built-in lead forms on any website page. Moreover, set-up a trigger that will allow contact forms to show based on visitor website behaviour. Each lead capture form is fully customizable to fit your brand.
Placester – IDX Integration
As mentioned above, this website builder is specifically designed for the real estate niche. Therefore, IDX integration is native and ready to go. The only thing required from real estate agents is to connect their MLS listings with the Placester website.
Placester – Final Thoughts
Placester is a great all-in-one solution for real estate individual agents or teams. Being developed specifically for the real estate industry it covers almost all features that realtors may need. However, keep in mind that the website designing is not that flexible compared to Wix or Squarespace. So if you are looking for a super unique design, Placester is not the best choice.
If you are looking for a big team solution, BoomTown is here to assist you. It is the perfect solution for multiple real estate agents that offers features like lead distribution, team tracking and pipeline management.
Since it is more like an enterprise-level solution, it might seem a bit pricey. The cheapest plan that is great for 1-3 agents starting at $1000/month + $750 setup fee. For a big team, BoomTown offers an Advanced plan that costs $1500/month with a $1500 setup fee.
BoomTown – Lead Forms
Similar to Placester, BoomTown has fully customizable lead forms included in every plan. You can either integrate the form on every page or make a pop-up. Not to mention, you can easily create separate landing pages for lead capture. The main advantage of BoomTown CRM is that it allows you to distribute leads among your real estate agents and monitor how that agent follow-up with the lead.
BoomTown – IDX Integration
Like every real estate website builder, BoomTown has a native IDX integration built-in to the platform. While you pay an onboarding fee, the support team will help you integrate your MLS listing with BoomTown’s website.
BoomTown – Final Thoughts
If you are looking for a team solution, BoomTown is definitely your choice. Even though it is pricey, real estate teams need to make an investment in themselves to succeed in what they do.
WordPress – the most scalable and customizable solution
Now, as we went through the all-in-one website builder solutions, let’s talk about WordPress itself. It is the most complicated solution compared to its competitors mentioned above. However, if implemented correctly, WordPress has literally unlimited possibilities in creating your “dream” real estate website.
In this section, I will be talking about the reasons why you should start using WordPress as your website platform.
I cannot stress enough how important this is for any real estate agent. When you build a website on platforms like Wix or similar, you partly own it. Let’s pretend, the platform goes bankrupt and it disappears, so does your website.
With WordPress, as long as you pay for your hosting, the website will always be “live”, no matter what happens to it. Not to mention, you can easily transfer WordPress websites from one hosting site to another almost seamlessly.
Most of the real estate websites that rank on the first page of Google are there just because their websites were active for several months and even years.
It does not matter how small your WordPress website is in the beginning. You can easily scale it along with your business needs — free plugins will be there to assist you. This is an important WordPress feature that stands out from the rest.
WordPress templates allow you to create a professional real estate website layout that will fit your business needs.
There are over 4,000 free templates available in the WordPress repository.
Long story short, WordPress plugins are apps that can be seamlessly integrated into the website and expand its functionality. Do you need email marketing or integrate calendar appointment booking? There are dozens of plugins available for that. We will discuss plugins in detail a little bit further down. Stay tuned!
WordPress has in-built features that are optimized for Google crawling. However, if you are looking for an advanced plugin – Yoast SEO is your best friend. It helps you to configure your website appearance, sitemap and much more. Not to mention, Yoast SEO assists you with content writing, pointing out mistakes and errors in blog posts.
Except for a hosting price, working with your WordPress is completely free. Most of the plugins and templates are free, however, if you are looking for advanced plugins along with more sophisticated templates, it will usually cost around $20-$30. But overall, you can easily handle a WordPress website without any additional cost.
With all these plugins and templates, we all forgot that the main purpose of WordPress websites is to share blog content. With that being said, WordPress offers the best blogging experience of all platforms out there. You can fully format your blog post, add images, gallery, embed videos, include quotes and so much more. If you are planning to share your real estate knowledge with website visitors, WordPress is the way to go.
In general, it might seem a bit complicated to start with a WordPress website, compared to Wix or Squarespace. However, keep in mind that there are several drag & drop themes developed specifically for WordPress. This will make the process of designing a web page even easier!
WordPress is perfect for generating leads with custom-built forms. Further down I will showcase a great plugin that will help you create unique forms for your real estate website.
Most IDX services offer a designated WordPress plugin that helps integrate MLS listings in several clicks. I will also cover these plugins below!
For email marketing, there are a lot of opportunities. You can either integrate Mailchimp or Klaviyo if you get used to these platforms, or you could use a designated email marketing plugin to collect leads, send welcome emails and newsletters.
How could we miss it? Appointments are an important part of the real estate business. With WordPress, you can integrate calendar-booking either with a 3rd party platform (i.e. Calendly) or choose one of many plugins available in WordPress plugin store
Last but not least, is having the ability to store your leads in one place. Most major CRM platforms, like Hubspot or Salesforce, offer a WordPress plugin. If you are looking for a designated plugin, we suggest WP-CRM. This plugin is intended to significantly improve user management, easily create contact forms, and keep track of incoming shortcode form messages.
If you are looking for a custom solution, we have DESA CRM available for all our clients. Feel free to download our visual deck here.
TOP-6 WordPress Plugins for Real Estate Agents
WordPress is a sophisticated and powerful all-in-one solution, not only a website builder. With proper plugins, you can build a complete real estate ecosystem, including CRM, Email marketing, lead generation and much more!
Let’s look at TOP-6 WordPress plugins that every real estate agent needs to have.
Real Estate Pro is a premium plugin that allows you to add and manage listings, include client testimonials, capture leads and allow website visitors to search for properties right on your website. It also integrates easily with Mailchimp for custom email marketing campaigns.
Another IDX plugin for WordPress websites. Realtyna helps to manage property listings, RETS / IDX / VOW real estate options and scalable features. Support for all RETS based MLS providers in North America.
Sometimes real estate agents need to build unique contact forms and integrate those on their website. Gravity Forms handles it all. It has over 30 form templates and a wide variety of customization features if you need to build something personalized. Not to mention, Conditional Logic feature allows you to configure your form to show or hide fields, sections, pages or even the submit button based on user selections
Mailpoet is an email marketing plugin for WordPress websites. With MailPoet, website visitors can sign up as newsletter subscribers and build a mailing list. You are able to schedule newsletters, send them right away or set it up to send new blog post notifications automatically in just a few clicks. If you are producing blog content – this is a must-have plugin that helps to build trust and expertise with your potential clients.
While your clients are your main priority, do not forget to keep your website safe. UpdraftPlus makes it easy to backup your recent website copy into the cloud directly to Dropbox, Google Drive or other Cloud platforms. Automatically. This is a great addition to your WordPress website to stay worry-free and be able to restore a website wherever it is required.
Why have a website if Google does not rank it, right? This WordPress SEO plugin helps you with your search engine optimization. Yoast SEO does everything in its power to please both visitors and search engine spiders. After installation, you will start a step-by-step set-up process to make it easier for Yoast to understand your website and how to let Google crawl it for your benefits.
Best Real Estate WordPress Website Templates
If you decide to proceed with using a WordPress for real estate website, here are the best Real Estate WordPress templates to help you to build and design a great looking professional site within a couple of minutes.
Please keep in mind, since these are top-rated and most popular templates for real estate, they are not entirely free. However, the price is decent compared to the value these templates provide you.
Divi is one of the most popular WordPress templates and the ultimate WordPress page builder. This template is not built only for real estate purposes but can be used for any business niche. It has a rich variety of design possibilities and features, including drag & drop builder and custom CSS control for advanced users.
Like every website builder, Divi comes with a number of pre-built templates that you can customize without any coding skills. Moreover, it has a variety of typography options, unique design elements, landing page creation possibilities and much more.
The cost for this template starts at $89/year. If you are willing to use the same template for several years, there is an option to purchase a lifetime license for $249
Astra is a simple yet comprehensive WordPress template that fits perfectly the real estate business needs. The main advantage of Astra is lightweight including an ability to fully customize every template with elements that matter the most for agents.
Keep in mind that there are several PRO design features that are only available in more expensive packages: Sticky Header, Mega Menu, Fluid Layout etc.
There are several pricing options available, starting at $41/month. Astra also has an option to purchase a lifetime plan starting at $249, which is similar to Divi.
RealHomes is a custom-designed WordPress template specifically built for the real estate related website. It offers purpose oriented design with tons of useful features that a real estate business can benefit from.
Similar to previous website templates, RealHomes comes with a handy drag & drop visual builder to help you design any website page needed. Since it is a real estate template, it has the ability to add properties on the website and includes any information possible: title, description, images, videos and price. This template uses Google Maps to show listed properties right on the map, which is amazing!
If you decide to get this WordPress template, it will cost you $59 as a one-time fee.
Vellum is a fully responsive and SEO optimized template. Its unique structure lets you create any design, layout or style, all from a single theme. This isn’t a single theme, it’s a thousand themes in one.
Vellum comes with a variety of features to create mega menus, dynamic animations, custom icons, responsive menus, multiple columns, titles, and subtitles.
The one-time fee for this template is $79.
AgentPress is a premium WordPress template for individual real estate agents and teams. It comes with a designated plugin that allows you to add listings right to your website.
AgentPress comes with several colour schemes, widgets, backgrounds, fully-customizable headers, and theme options panel.
There are several packages available and the cheapest will cost you $99,95 for a lifetime licence.
DESA TEAM THOUGHTS
Every real estate agent has its own unique needs and possibilities. If you are just starting your real estate journey and not willing to spend time on building a website from scratch, installing plugins and building pages, we suggest you start with any website builder but WordPress.
But please keep in mind that if at any point, your business will start to grow rapidly, you might be required to shift to a more comprehensive solution like WordPress. In this situation, you will not be able to transfer your whole website to the new platform.