Do I Need a Website As a Real Estate Agent?

March 20, 2024

Justin Kerby

The question: Do real estate agents need a website? 

First of all, a bit about our knowledge base. We're a marketing agency in Vancouver and Tampa, and have worked with hundreds of clients in the real estate industry. We know a thing or two about real estate websites, real estate marketing, and the PropTech scene.

Now, to answer the question at hand: 

If you literally use a Rolodex, have built a strong clientele over the last 50 years, and are looking to retire soon, you really don’t need a website. You’re probably good. But if that doesn’t sound like you, a custom website to showcase your talents is going to be one of the lowest cost, highest reward marketing efforts you can tackle.

Let’s walk through some of the most frequently asked questions we hear about real estate websites.

Can I just use the site my brokerage provides me?

Yep. Here’s the main benefit: It’s free (okay, not really, since the price is absolutely built into your office fees).

Here’s the major drawback: Other than showcasing your pretty face, it’s the exact same website as every other agent in your brokerage. The same website means the same copy, the same listings, and the same lack of customization. This matters, because Google and other major search engines don’t allow duplicate content to rank. Only the highest ranking page will ever see the light of day on Google. Good luck finding yourself anywhere near the top of search engines.

Free brokerage sites limit your ability to market yourself, plain and simple.

What is the goal of a personal real estate website?

To grow your brand, introduce yourself to prospective clients, and most importantly, drive business your way. You simply aren’t working towards any of those goals if you’re using a free site from your brokerage, you’re leaving money on the table.

Your personal website should be a place for you to communicate with buyers and sellers. Custom copywriting, custom lead magnets, and a custom blog will drive more clients to your business. Stock copywriting, stock photos, stock lead magnets, and a stock blog provided by your brokerage will not.

Do people really use the same lead magnets?

Oh yeah. It’s worse than you probably think. We’ve already mentioned that everyone with a brokerage-provided site is using the same CTAs (so almost no one will rank in search engines), but it goes deeper than that. Almost everyone using all-in-one real estate CMS platforms like MyRealPage and Avenue are also using duplicate content. Here are a few different websites from agents in British Columbia, notice anything similar?

A seller's guide!

Oh wait...

Oh no...


We'll save you the trouble of squinting, all of these lead magnets use the exact same copy.

This is just four of thousands, and it isn’t helping anyone. Well, I take that back. It’s lining the pockets of the CMS platform Presidents. The worst part is, these agents probably have no clue they're using a template and not receiving any real benefit from their lead magnets.

The language and copy used throughout these websites is all similar, if not identical to other agent’s sites. It’s not doing you any favours.

What kinds of real estate websites get the most traffic?

Custom-made sites with custom copywriting and custom photography perform best, full stop. Your clients are trusting you with the biggest financial decision of their lives, you should strive to communicate with them as only you can. Many agents excel at doing this in person and fail to do so online. But if you don’t connect online, you’ll be missing those in-person opportunities. Work with a Webflow Agency like ours to build you a site and content strategy that opens more doors. Literally.

What are the key components of a great real estate website?

Here’s an overview.

  1. IDX search
  2. Buyer and seller lead landing pages
  3. Neighbourhood guides
  4. School ratings
  5. Original blog content
  6. Various lead and contact forms
  7. Reviews and testimonials

Believe it or not, IDX search functionality is probably the least important of these seven pillars.

Why? Here’s a story. I’ve worked with REW (BC’s largest homesearch marketplace) since 2020, most recently as their Director of Content. Do you know how much time and money REW spends on SEO, making sure they rank at the top of Google for listings? A lot.

The listings on your website are never going to outperform the major brokerage’s main websites, or the’s and’s of the world. It’s a misguided strategy to place all of your marketing dollars into securing an IDX search functionality. We’d call it a nice to have, not a need to have.

Don’t believe me? Check your website analytics. People don’t come to your website to browse homes, they’re using portals. Cold, hard truth. But don’t despair, it’s not a bad thing.

The other six items on our list are must-haves.

Lead magnets, custom neighbourhood guides written by you (or your friendly neighbourhood brand & content studio, wink wink), school ratings, original blog content to build quality backlinks, contact forms and testimonials are non-negotiables. Together, they drive new visitors to your site with local SEO, encourage lead form submissions, and keep people coming back to hear your take on the market.

What do I need to keep in mind when designing my site?

There are six questions every great real estate website should answer. Without further ado.

  1. What can you do for me? Keep it simple.
  2. Why should I listen to you? This could include a short bio, your origin story, mission, and values.
  3. What makes you the expert? Use social proof including reviews, partner testimonials, media appearances, press coverage, etc.
  4. What do you do, exactly? Lay it all out for people in your own words.
  5. Where do I start? Give people the steps to take to get in touch with you.
  6. Why should I stick around? Link to other featured pages on your website, and try to drive traffic to your newsletter so that you can stay in touch.

All of the best real estate websites answer these six questions in one form or another. Work through the list as you design your site and make sure you don’t miss a step.

How long does it take to build a real estate website?

Our typical design, copywriting, and build timeframe is less than one month.

If you’re ready to chat through strategy, design concepts, and get started on a new website for your brand, we’re here to help. Let’s start a conversation.

Written by

Justin Kerby

Justin is the founder of Something Great Marketing, leading our Vancouver marketing agency. He specializes in content strategy, website design, and branding.

something great