Based on the needs of all four user groups, it is safe to say that a modern real estate site must have at least four functions in order to become successful.
# 1 Listing system
Zillow Property Information (not all, lower on the screen for more)
Listing is information about specific properties that users see on the site. You need to create a large database
of real estate
from such listings, as it is the cornerstone of your site and the main reason for its existence. But the problem is that at the start you will not have such a database of real estate (or permission to use someone else's). So you have to take it from somewhere.
How to create a real estate database:
- connect to existing listings (i.e. enter into an MLS contract);
- to unite with other sites, companies, real estate agents;
- track offers FSBO (For Sale By Owner);
- buy a base.
The best option is MLS. So you immediately get access to a large database of real estate, which will not lose relevance in a couple of weeks. Zillow and Trulia, which united the bases, allowed them to get 70% of the traffic on the real estate market in the United States.
# 2 View Property
The possibility of the initial inspection of the object using photos, video, 3D-models - one of the main functions of Zillow and similar sites. Thanks to this, users can eliminate 95% of potential options. And if you intend to create your own real estate website, make sure that the visualization of real estate objects was top notch.
Effect of professional photos
The main visualization tool is photography. They must be authentic, relevant and of high quality, as this affects at:
- User experience. Viewing quality photos pleases the eye, which increases the conversion and user engagement.
- The issuance of search engines. Increases the chances that your site will be higher in the search results of Google and other search engines.
- Brand reliance. Quality content shows that you are responsible for your responsibilities to users.
- User nerves. If the photos are cloudy, with highlights, the wrong scale and / or do not visualize important things, they will annoy your users.
The first to understand this is Airbnb.
Marketers of this site began to attract professional photographers to make high-quality pictures of real estate. This was one of the reasons why the Airbnb website and application lead the short term rental market. And so Airbnb can be sure that the photos are authentic and show all the important details.
How to provide maximum visual information
To obtain a competitive advantage and exceptional visualization of the appearance of real estate, high-quality photographs are not enough (although their presence is obligatory). Need to use new technology:
- 360 ° photos. In recent years, they have gained great popularity. With their help, are shown interiors, streets, panoramas of the windows. It is noteworthy that they are not difficult to do, just download the application for the smartphone and follow simple instructions.
- 3D video / panorama. Allows you to fully explore the architecture of the object before visiting it. To do this, use 3D-video, as in cinemas, and 3D-panorama - a computer model of the object.
- AR / VR. It allows you not only to visualize the object, but also to supplement it, for example, with other space planning or furniture. Today, good AR- / VR-glasses are relatively inexpensive (Oculus Rift S costs $ 400), in a few years their price will drop to $ 50-100, which will allow this technology to conquer the mass market (as it happened with smartphones).
Inspection of real estate
in the future will occur as follows: you sit on the sofa, wear VR glasses and give the command to fly to the right place where you can inspect the room using the built-in camera. At the same time at the bottom right of the screen you will have a 3D panorama for orientation on the terrain (like a mini-map in video games). And this is not fantasy, such systems already exist.
# 3 Property Search
Search filters for real estate buyers on the Zillow website
The search function is necessary for the user so that he can look through the entire base of real estate
and find one that fits his needs. And this function must meet two criteria: simplicity and relevance.
What search is relevant to user needs
Study the statistics of search queries on the topic of buying, selling and renting real estate, and you will understand the needs of your users. Divide these requests into two groups:
Where to place information about smart home technology
- Most Popular. Based on them, create a main window and search filters. This will allow you to create a search box that is not overloaded with unnecessary filters and elements, which will be sufficient for most.
- Less popular. Based on them, create an Advanced Search window, where you can filter out the options by more precise criteria, for example, the number of bathrooms, the minimum and maximum area, etc.
A survey of CNET and Coldwell Banker, conducted among Americans, showed that more than 80% of people when buying property would prefer an object with smart home technology, if the price does not bite. Creating a site like Zillow, you should keep this in mind and provide a section, a label or a field informing the user about the presence of such technologies in a particular house.
Typically, such information is placed in the "Other" section, but this is incorrect, considering the high interest of people. And the problem is that so far there are no uniform standards for displaying such information (what and how to indicate), which means that you need to invent or spy on someone. For example, in the California Regional MLS
, which offers to fill in five fields to describe the house's solar energy system: property, size, age, incoming and outgoing source.
The real estate sites will decide where to place such data. It can be assumed that in California this information will be visible, but in less sunny regions it is unlikely, since it is not relevant to the interests of local users. Thus, it can be assumed that it is not necessary to group information about smart technologies in one section. The best to make relevant information about such technologies on the main listing screen.
# 4 Property valuation
When someone buys or sells real estate, the first thing that interests him is the price. Neither of the parties wants to lose even 1 percent of the possible benefits or savings, since this is big money - thousands and even millions of dollars. Therefore, expert opinions are so popular, the figures are the average cost per square meter in the city (district, street).
An example of assessing the value of real estate through Zestimate
there is a special Zestimate calculator for this, estimating the value of real estate using statistical models, neural networks (machine learning) and big data. It gives approximate accuracy with an error of 5% (at the start was 14%) and is considered one of the best sources for determining the value of real estate in the United States and Europe. In other regions, the accuracy is lower because there is less sampling for big data.
Calculator.net Mortgage Calculator
Very often, people are interested in the possibility of buying a home in the mortgage and, accordingly, its cost. This tool also needs to be integrated into the real estate site. An example implementation can be found at Calculator.net
. If possible, you can implement direct access to credit products of popular banks (in a particular region, country).
# 5 Information about the region
70% of users of real estate sites begin searches with a local search query, as neighbors, infrastructure, crime rates, presence of schools and other similar things are more significant than the cost and / or condition of the object. And it is important that users have such information, preferably at the “one click” distance.