Having your own website for your real estate business is a must these days. However, it is not enough to just have a website. It is imperative to make sure your website includes all the key elements every winning real estate website has.
That said, there are quite a few website solutions to choose from. Here are the most frequent ones:
- Hire a web designer to design a fully custom website from scratch for you.
- Purchase an existing website template and hire a developer to customize it for you.
- Sign up with a ready-to-use website solution that usually requires minimum setup.
- Build a website on your own by utilizing any of the free or paid website builders.
Each of the listed above options have a number of advantages and disadvantages. In addition, one solution might be more appropriate for you than another depending on what phase you are in at your business and what goal you are planning to achieve.
In this article we are going to discuss the fully custom-designed website option. We will go over the main advantages and disadvantages you should consider when planning to invest your hard-earned money in the custom website design.
However, before we dive in, let’s first get clear what a fully custom-designed website is. It is particularly important to me to address this matter because there are many website providers out there selling other, listed above, options as a fully custom-designed website.
The truth of the matter is that many real estate professionals think they are getting a fully custom website design while in reality they do not.
What Is a Fully Custom-Designed Website?
Simply put, fully custom-designed website is a website that is designed 100% from scratch based on your specific wants and needs. There is no pre-existing design or template involved in this process. A web designer literally draws 100% unique design from scratch exclusively for you.
Pros of Fully Custom Real Estate Website Design
Whenever you decide to invest in a fully custom-designed website, you rip the benefit of being the only one in the entire world who has this particular design. Unlike using an existing template which is most likely used by thousands of other real estate professionals around the world, your design stays exclusive to you making it 100% authentic and unique.
This should be of great importance for you if you are planning to develop your own brand identity to help you stand out among your competition. Branding is an extremely powerful marketing tool that makes your customers choose you instead of your competitors.
However, to be effective, your brand identity must be consistent throughout all the communication channels you use. Guess what, your website is one of them. With other website solutions, it will be challenging to project your authentic brand identity due to their limitations.
On the contrary, fully custom design will allow you to incorporate your authentic messaging throughout your website, thereby reinforcing your overall brand identity.
A huge advantage of a fully custom-designed website is flexibility of how far you want to take your design. Flexibility aspect is often an important consideration when trying to build something that is unique and not readily available anywhere else.
Having your website designed from scratch gives you that freedom of choice. Unlike existing templates which most of the time come with various limitations, when designing a fully custom website your imagination is the limit.
Cons of Fully Custom Real Estate Website Design
Having the luxury of manifesting your own vision through the website design comes at a premium. The process of fully custom website design can be broken down to a number of mandatory steps that involve other specialists besides web designer.
It is a very labor-intensive process, which is why it is significantly more expensive than other real estate website solutions available on the market. The starting price of a fully custom-designed website usually begins at $20-25k but can easily reach $100k price point if more ambitious functionalities are requested by the client.
When considering fully custom website design, timing should be taken into account. Since the custom web design process consists of multiple steps, which involve different specialists doing their part in a particular order, such projects take considerably more time compared to other solutions.
In general, a true fully custom-designed website project will take at least three months. And this is an overly optimistic timeline. Usually it takes longer, especially when a client requires sophisticated design and functionality.
It is important to understand that when it comes to fully custom design of a website, many people don’t realize that besides the design itself there are many other aspects involved throughout the process. One of the major ones is the development of a website.
A vast majority of consumers think that a web designer is the only person involved in the custom web design process. It is far from true. Web designer is only responsible for the visual aspect of a website. Once the design itself is finalized and approved by a client, a web developer comes in. Developer is the one who will be actually converting the visuals into web pages.
As with any web development, there are always bugs involved. In the custom web design cases, the bugs appear in the design itself as well as the functionality. For instance, integration of complex functionalities like MLS feed requires a lot of troubleshooting and optimization to display and function properly on a real estate website.
Oftentimes the company that designed the website will take care of all the major bugs and inconsistencies but there are always unexpected issues that pop up later.
As you can see fully custom website design comes with significant advantages and disadvantages. There is a chance that after reading this post and realizing what it takes to get your own fully designed real estate website, you might change your mind.
At the same time, you could find out that this is the only suitable solution for you to achieve your vision. Regardless, carefully weigh all the pros and cons of this solution before making the final decision.
Oleg Donets is a serial entrepreneur, technology and digital marketing strategist with a solid track record. Since 2013, he has been successfully helping numerous startups and established companies from a wide range of industries to launch, grow and scale their businesses by utilizing his innovative technology solutions and progressive marketing strategies. Oleg is a founder of Real Estate Bees, a cutting-edge technology & marketing platform for the real estate industry. Oleg is also a proud business mentor at SCORE, the nation’s largest nonprofit organization and a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration. You can find Oleg on LinkedIn.