When it comes to how much a real estate website should cost, there is no one right answer. This is definitely not a case of one-size-fits-all.
The cost will vary, depending on the size of your site, its complexity and whether or not you hire a web developer who is experienced in real estate websites.
There’s more than one way to build a website, and it can be difficult to determine a budget. Apart from who will actually build the site, there are many other factors you need to take into consideration. Like what type of hosting will you need? What is the cost of your IDX integration? Will you need any plug-ins for optimization?
Here’s what you should consider when determining the cost of your new real estate site:
Identify your priorities
Do you think it’s more important to have your website completed quickly, or to spend less money on it? Are you willing to let a professional customize your website if necessary?
Although it may seem like a large investment to use a real estate agency with in-house website developers like us, it almost always yields a high return. Fully-customized, optimized websites are undoubtedly going to generate more leads, suggest greater credibility, and allow you to have more control over your branding than DIY websites or freelancers.
Your priorities are specific to you and your agency. It’s up to you, your budget and your goals.
Understanding templates vs. semi-custom vs. fully-customized websites
A template website is a good option if you are completely self-sufficient, you just need a website to allow people to sign up for your email list, or to hold you over until you can afford a more comprehensive site. Template sites come pre-built and you only need to add your website copy and images.
These sites won’t allow you to move images or sections around as much as a fully custom site. This will make it difficult to be strategic about the content you place on your pages. Although you can likely change the fonts and colors to fit your brand, sometimes there are limits to even these choices. You may also not be able to control the mobile view of your website, which could hinder conversions – 70% web traffic is generated from mobile devices.
These websites are very basic and you shouldn’t expect to integrate any IDX tools. Even if you are able to, you will likely still need a developer to help with branding and customizing your IDX pages.
Semi-custom websites offer a mix of drag and drop templates and the ability to customize your website via HTML or CSS. Although you have some control over branding and functionality, there are potential issues with semi-custom websites. These sites often have hidden costs such as expensive plug-ins or widgets that allow you to build an email list, or use all the features of a particular theme.
These sites may be targeted at businesses with limited budgets, but the long-term costs of hosting them and all the extras you may need for any customizations are likely to exceed your initial estimate.
The best choice for real estate agents is a fully-customized site, especially one created by real estate website developers. These websites allow you to control how your website looks and functions, with IDX tools that can be easily integrated.
Agents on a tight budget or new agents might be hesitant to invest in fully-customized sites due to the higher upfront cost. However, there are ways you can keep the cost down.
A good real estate website developer will be able to integrate IDX technology, which is one of the best ways to lower the cost. General website developers will charge more to create the entire back-end architecture, databases and MLS integrations from scratch. This will result in a higher price and a lower quality website.
Older vendors that have their entire development system built on WordPress will also be important to keep an eye out for. This can make it extremely expensive to upgrade or update the code when it becomes obsolete. The service-based software that is offered by newer vendors allows you to keep your site updated and maintained.
Add the cost of your IDX tool to your budget
Real estate agents’ websites require efficient IDX tools. It’s important to consider the initial and ongoing costs of these tools if you want to have a clear picture of how much you will spend on a new site.
Your IDX tools may have vendor fees as well as upfront costs. This is because the MLS charges developers to use the data from their databases. There may also be a cost to adhere to different data standards across MLS systems. Maintaining the integration can be costly as data fields in the MLS can change frequently. Your developer can help you navigate these changes.
At RE Digital, we design fully-optimized websites that are clean, powerful, and drive results. They tell your story, include custom IDX search, and prioritize high-conversion. Get in touch with us to schedule a consultation.