Top 5 Features Buyers Want From Your Real Estate Website

2008 National Association of Realtors® Home Buyer Profile Review & Commentary

It's no secret that your real estate website is critical to your business: you've probably already heard it mentioned that 87% of all buyers use the internet as part of their search (according to the National Association of Realtor's 2008 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers). But there is an even more important statistic that is rarely mentioned: 45% of all buyers went to the internet as their first step, before they contacted a real estate agent. To get a sense of how amazing this number is, compare it to the number of buyers who went to open houses as their first step: just 4%!

Home buyer first steps

Image Source: My Single Property Websites Data Source: 2008 National Association of Realtors Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers

What does this mean?

It means that not only are buyers using the internet in droves, but that a huge amount of them are unattached buyers! Give these buyers what they want, and you'll dramatically increase the odds that they'll choose you to work with. According to NAR's 2008 Profile, the five features below are what buyers want most from your real estate website:

  • Photos
  • Detailed Property Information
  • Virtual Tours
  • Real Estate Agent Contact Information
  • Neighborhood Information
Top 5 real estate website features

Image Source: My Single Property Websites Data Source: 2008 National Association of Realtors Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers


This one is pretty straightforward: if you only put your personal or brokerage listings on your site, make sure they have at least 5-10 high quality photos, and more if you are able. While they don't need to be taken by a professional photographer, they are the first thing most buyers see and should be representative of the quality of your service. Buyers are forming an impression of you: if you're unwilling to take a few good photos, how hard would you work on their home search?

Detailed Property Information

Try to paint a picture for potential buyers, and include as much detail about the flooring, appliances, etc, that you can find. Not to jump ahead to the fifth feature, but preparing 1-2 paragraphs about the different neighborhoods you serve can really fill out your description, and can be reused for other listings.

Virtual Tours

Virtual tours go beyond photos and detailed descriptions, and offer buyers a comprehensive view of the property. Single property websites combine the features of a virtual tour, along with the ability to set up a custom domain, upload documents, show the walkscore, etc. There are also many software programs that allow you to stitch your photos together to create your own 360 degree photos.

Real Estate Agent Contact Information

While almost all MLS regulations prevent you from including your contact info in your MLS listing, you're free to do as you please on your own website. Consider adding your contact info as a call to action in the last line of your description (ex. "Call Mary Johnson at 555-5555 to schedule a showing today!"). Don't just rely on your contact info being obvious: a variety of factors, such as the browser being used, the eyesight of the buyer, etc, can mean your regular contact info is missed. Also, with syndication being so popular these days, it never hurts to be doubly sure with something as critical as your contact info by placing it in the description.

Neighborhood Information

Getting back to what I wrote earlier, the property description is a great place to provide a concise paragraph or two about the neighborhood and location. Even better, create a separate page on your website for each neighborhood you serve, with a description and a few photos. Then, link to it every time you have a listing in that neighborhood, and also from your home page. Many buyers start by typing in the neighborhood instead of a specific house, so this is also a great way to rank higher for those terms and draw more buyers to your website.

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