5 Steps to an Extremely Profitable Real Estate Website

Real estate websites are popping up all over the internet so when will you get on the boat? I hope before it’s too late. CNN and CNBC talk about the Real Estate market in a recession every day and how it probably won’t come out for another year or so. There is no better day than today to get off your butt and create a profitable real estate site for your business. Whether you are an agent, realtor, broker or landlord, you need to have a site for your business in order to compete and succeed. Below you will find five steps to a profitable real estate website.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask by following the link to my website in the author resource box at the bottom of this article.

1. Real Estate Website Design: The design of your real estate website should be simple, straight forward and logical. You will basically want to spoon feed information to your visitors. You will have less than 10 seconds to capture your visitor’s attention and keep them from clicking that nasty back button. If you don’t do this, your visitors will quickly realize that your site isn’t worth their time and they will click off of it just as quickly as they clicked on to it. So, how do you do this? I suggest starting with a blank slate. Either hire a professional website designer & developer to do the project for you (PLEASE DO NOT OUTSOURCE YOUR PROJECT OUT OF THE COUNTRY) or take on the project yourself. It might be a cost efficient way to produce your website, but you are hurting American jobs in the long run – one of the reasons why real estate in America is in a recession. Real estate web design is not a complicated task because it is basic and straight forward. I recommend using a site design that is professional, modern, clean, organized and classy. These are qualities that the average house buyer would probably like to see in their new home, so why not have them in your website? A good website design will consist of intuitive navigation, organized content/copy and use of professional images of happy people smiling.

2. Real Estate Domain Names: Choosing a domain name may be one of the easiest tasks and it may be one of your most difficult tasks at the same time. Consider hiring a professional website design company such as MJM Design in Cleveland, Ohio (Google MJM Design Cleveland) to pick out a quality domain name for your real estate website. Choosing a catchy domain name will help draw in visitors and we all know it, it’s a fundamental truth, the more visitors the more business you will bring in. It’s like fishing, if there’s no fish why put your hook in the water in the first place? Real estate domain names are sometimes hard to get because they are registered already. If you realize that the domain name that you absolutely must have is already registered, you can try contacting the owner of the domain name. How you ask? Well you would use a service called WhoIs which tells you the name, address, phone number and sometimes even the email address of the website owner. Otherwise, you might try GoDaddy’s Back Order service where GoDaddy will wait until the domain name is about to expire then try to register it immediately. This is most likely only effective if the domain name is about to expire which WhoIs will also tell you the date to.

3. Real Estate Website Hosting: Every site needs hosting, regardless if its eBay, Amazon or your website. Real estate web hosting is not a type of website hosting only created for real estate oriented websites. Website hosting accounts can be purchased from my company for as little as $240.00 per year which includes storage, unlimited email access, unlimited email accounts and unlimited databases. Real estate hosting allows you to link your Domain Name to your website. This means that when someone types into their web browser, http://www.yourrealestatewebsite.com it will take them directly to your site on your website hosting account.

4. Dynamic or Static Website Content?: This is a question of usability and interaction of your website with its visitors. Will your real estate design require a database to showcase available properties or apartments for rent? If so, then your website will be a dynamic website which pulls information from a database stored on your site hosting account. I recommend a PHP real estate script to run your website. These real estate scripts range in complexity from basic integration of a basic layout and table structure to a complex solution consisting of landlord contact forms, tell-a-friend forms, custom amenities list, Google Maps integration and more. Using a dynamic system also allows for easier updating as these systems usually consist of an administration panel which is protected by a secure username and password. The administration panel is where you will be able to login, navigate the categories of the website to change, modify and administrate different settings on your real estate website.

5. Converting Visitors into Customers: This fifth and final step covers converting your real estate visitors into actual customers or leads. When someone visits your website, they are basically nothing to you – completely useless unless you can capture their information to contact them. You can track your traffic through statistics programs that your real estate hosting company will provide you with. If your hosting company doesn’t provide you with the appropriate advanced traffic tracking software, then its time to move on. The most common way of capturing your customer’s contact information is through the use of a Contact Us page. This page usually consists of an HTML form where the visitor can fill in their name, phone number, email address and a message and click Submit to email you right from the website. Most visitors don’t prefer this style of generic contact form and would much rather use a custom “Request a Free Consultation” or “Have Us Call You Back” form. This makes them feel special and let them think they are getting something for free. Implementing one of these custom forms will help you get leads from your new real estate website.

I hope that the information contained in this article helped you understand the 5 basic steps to establishing a profitable real estate website and bringing a real return on your investment.

Real Estate Web Design – What You Need To Know

Real Estate Web Design:

Abstract: Real Estate Web Design experts review the needs of Realtors(R) and real estate brokers, and highlights the advantages of dynamic real estate websites.

The most successful real estate agents and brokers realize the value of their agency websites and are constantly working to improve them. Unfortunately, many agencies throughout the United States are still working with static websites that are difficult and costly to maintain.

But how do I upgrade? you ask. Often this is not a simple answer. You need to consider the needs of your business and your agents. How will you manage listings? Are you using a Multiple Listing Service (MLS)? Should your agents have access only to certain parts of your administration panel, and not others?

What about logging agent and visitor actions on your website? Here is what you should look for in any real estate management system you contract for:

Dynamic, searchable listings. If your listings are not currently in a database and searchable, they need to be. This feature is the reason so many homes are sold online. It’s the “shopping in your underwear” principle: if a web surfer can access information about your homes at 11pm, and in a bathrobe while watching ER, no less, a whole new window of opportunity is opened, allowing you to showcase your listings 24/7. He immediately emails you and sets up a showing; you arrive at your office the next day, get the email, call him, and you’re on your way to making another sale.

Easy contact methods. All the interactivity on the Net won’t help you if your potential client can’t get in touch with you. Make sure that your newly designed website has plenty of opportunity for users to click to your contact forms: a link from every listing, and multiple contact methods (phone, email, etc.). Don’t require too much information on the form, but make sure you get enough: at least a name, an email address, and a phone number. Also, don’t rely on straight email links to get the job done: many computer users do not have a default email program installed, so when they click on your link all they will find is a setup wizard–a confusing and annoying situation for many users.

Lead management. The other end of the line of communication must be tied in: your lead management system must dovetail perfectly with your website. If you have an existing lead management system, see if your web design company has already built an interface for it, or would be willing to build one for your website. If you do not have a lead management system, find a website system that will provide one for you, seamlessly integrated with the site itself, such as the AWS Real Estate Manager.

System logs System logs and user management and user management. Real estate agencies, unfortunately, are not immune to legal issues with personnel and properties. System logs help you track down what was done on your site, when, and by whom. Make sure that whatever real estate website you choose includes a system log that shows you key activity on your site. You’ll thank yourself later when a dispute arises.

Likewise, you’ll need to specifically manage which sections of your site certain agents are allowed to edit, and others they are not. The administration panel of your website should have a section for setting user permissions: whether a user can edit all listings, or only those assigned to him; whether he can add or delete other users on the system; how many listings he can have and how many images attached to each; whether he can access the system logs, etc. These features will help you properly regulate the bandwidth and quota your site uses so you won’t incur extra charges each month, as well as avoiding duplicate work and conflicts among agents.

Self-updating site pages. If you’ve outsourced updating of your real estate website to a web design company, you know how expensive it can get. Such updates need not reach so deep into your agency’s coffers. When researching your new site, see if it provides a tool to allow you to create whole website pages on your own.

But I can’t write webpage code! you say. You shouldn’t need to. If the site is designed correctly, you’ll have a form that walks you through the process of adding page data and content, complete with hyperlinks, images, font formatting, table creation and all the HTML essentials–with nothing required except a little aesthetic sense. For a good example of a system that accomplishes this, visit http://www.awsinternet.com/real_estate_solutions.html With such a system, you could easily save $2500 or more per year on outsourcing costs.

Whether you’re starting a new real estate agency or are looking for a new design for your real estate website, this information should help you find an effective system that will suit your business’s needs. Other items to consider are search engine friendliness of the website system, marketing skills the firm can bring to the table, and support. Armed with these questions, you can be sure you’re getting your money’s worth, and that you’ll encounter as few problems as possible with the implementation and maintenance of you new website.

Creative Financing For Real Estate Investing – Using Options

Powerful Leverage

If you are new to real estate investing, and you have not yet learned about using options, you are missing out on an incredible tool. Learning how to use options will enable you to hold large amounts of property with very little money. In fact, options offer one of the best leverage situations in the business. Once you learn this technique, you will be well on your way to turning many more deals that you ever did in the past.

An option is a unilateral agreement. It involves a buyer and a seller. However, it is binding only on the seller. You as the buyer make an offer to purchase this property sometime in the future, but you are not bound to do so. You could walk away at any moment.

The seller on the other hand, promises to accept a certain amount for the property at a designated time in the future, and that seller is obligated to follow through and honor the contract.

The option agreement could be set for anywhere from 3 to 6 months, or several years. Meanwhile, you have the property tied up, and you now have plenty of time to find the right buyer. During this time, you need not keep up the property nor do you have to pay any taxes.

Creating the Agreement

The option agreement will spell out several stipulations:

o Price (consideration) to be paid for the option

o Time – when the option will begin and when will it expire

o Strike Price – the mutually agreed upon purchase price of property during the option period

o Other terms and conditions of the option agreement

If you, as the buyer, decide at the end of the option period not to buy, you lose your initial deposit and that is it. No legal problems ensue as they might with a broken contract. This means you are not unduly entangled in a legal agreement that could create complications down the road.

For the option to work well, you must be fully aware of the prices in the area of your bargain property. Especially if you plan to hold the option for a couple of years. Make sure this is in a location where the prices will be on the increase.
Use Options to Flip or Hold

Now that you see the basics of how an option works, you can see how it would be possible to use options to control a piece property for short time. During that time, you can be seeking out a buyer (this might be another investor – perhaps a rehabber) and sell it for a higher price than the option amount. With this process you’ve made a quick profit with no out-of-pocket investment other than the small amount you put down to bind the option agreement.

One other strategy that you might consider in conjunction with the option, is to include a clause allowing you to sub-lease the property. This will be done during the option period. If you can find a renter for the property, now the mortgage payments are taken care of. In this day and age of multiple foreclosures in every neighborhood, you can easily find a seller who is strapped with payments and who would rather allow you to lease than have to struggle to make those monthly mortgage payments. You will have stepped in and helped to ease this seller’s pain. In a year or two, the tenant may qualify for a conventional loan, at which time you will purchase and sell at the same time and make a good profit.

When you use options to hold property, you are using one of the most powerful creative financing methods available. Take the time to do a little research and learn all you can about options.