If there’s one question we hear often it’s how much should a real estate agent budget for a real estate website.
In a previous post, we talked about how real estate agents can select a website designer.
But when it comes to knowing what should be budgeted for a website, the hard truth is, unfortunately there is no black and white answer.
The budget you’ll allocate for a real estate website can depend on several different factors;
- Is the website being built with custom coding or will it built using a CMS template?
- Will the maintenance of the website be done in-house or by a web developer?
- Does the website require eCommerce functionalities such as inventory management and payment options?
… and those are just the basic factors which can determine what the budget could be.
Heck, for all you know, you might just need a complete redesign.
Regardless, determining the budget for a real estate website doesn’t come without some considerations on your part.
In this article, we’ll walk you through a few key items you should consider when deciding on a budget for your website.
Cheap, fast, and good - you can only ever have two
In marketing and branding, there’s an old concept that still rings true today - it’s simply referred to as “cheap, fast, and good”.
You can only ever have two options but you can’t have all three.
So, if you want a website that is of good quality and can be launched quickly, it’s not going to be cheap.
Or if you want a cheap website delivered quickly, you can almost guarantee that the end product won’t be good.
This is something to keep in mind when you’re deciding on how much time and money you’d like to spend on your website.
Common costs to consider for a real estate website
As we mentioned, there are quite a few factors to consider when coming up with a budget for your website. However, some common costs to consider are;
Registering a domain
A website domain is the main URL used by a site visitor to pull up your website.
For example, the RESAAS Blog uses the domain http://blog.resaas.com/.
When deciding to create a website, you’ll first need to register for a domain.
This process is relatively easy and inexpensive.
There are a number of websites where you can log on to search available domains and register for the domain of your choosing.
A best practice is to register your domain for as long as possible. This will ensure the domain won’t expire, rendering your website inactive.
Anticipated budget for a website domain: $5 - $50 per year
Website hosting server
A website hosting server allows for your website to be viewed online. Without it, your real estate website and the domain is virtually worthless.
The cost of securing your website on a web hosting server can vary depending on the server and the services they provide.
When it comes to hosting servers, however, you get what you pay for.
The cheaper hosting servers often aren’t secure and can go offline frequently. It’s best to do your research to compare which servers are the best.
Feel free to use this handy guide to compare possible servers for your website.
Anticipated budget for website hosting server: $5 - $30 per year
CMS template or custom code
Nowadays there are plenty of options to develop a website. The two most common are by hand-coding the website from scratch or using an existing website theme from a content management system, or what we call in the bizz, a CMS.
CMS’s such as Wix and SquareSpace allow for common folk to create beautifully designed websites without having to code.
However, many of these CMS platforms can be limiting when it comes to customizing certain functionalities of the website.
If your website requires loads of additional features you may want to turn to a CMS like WordPress. WordPress allows its users to access a plethora of additional features and plugins to truly customize a website.
As with anything, once you start adding bells and whistles - customizations and plugins - the budget tends to increase. It’s best to speak with a specialist to determine which CMS is best for your website and your business goals.
Anticipated budget for a CMS themed website or custom code: varies depending on the needs of your website
Not all websites are created equal.
Some websites just need a few pages with some basic content.
Other websites require facilitating consumer transactions, managing inventory, and logging confidential financial information.
For these websites, often referred to as eCommerce sites, the additional functionalities can increase the budget quite a bit as you may require custom eCommerce plugins and coding.
Anticipated budget for eCommerce functionalities: this can depend greatly on the needs of your eCommerce business
Developing a website is only half the battle.
The other half is maintaining the website regularly to ensure it continues to function well over time. This can include optimizing and updating the content and URL structures for maximum performance on search engines.
Outdated websites which have not been regularly maintained often suffer in search engine rankings and SEO.
Ongoing maintenance of a website is mandatory if you want to secure your website’s integrity and usability.
Anticipated budget for website maintenance: depending on the agreement in place, the cost for ongoing maintenance may be included in the cost for developing the website
An engaging, well-trafficked real estate website provides quality content to its visitors.
Not only that, but the content on a website should benefit the site’s SEO performance.
Hence why content is king.
Anticipated budget for website content: the cost of creating content for a website can vary depending on whether you have an in-house team to do this or if you require your web specialists to do this for you
Coming up with a budget for your website
As you’ve likely figured out by now, coming up with a budget for your website isn’t as easy as it seems.
You’ll first need to determine what the goals are for your real estate website.
However, even coming up with goals can feel overwhelming at times.
Your best bet is enlisting the help from an experienced website designer to determine what you need your website to do and how you want it to impact your real estate business.
Rachelle Brempong is the Digital Content Coordinator at RESAAS. She likes things. Most things. But not everything, that's just greedy. Check out her RESAAS profile ›