Website customizations are incredibly powerful. They're the invention of something brand new—taking a language of code, then using it to thoughtfully craft features or functions that didn't exist before. It's like solving a complex puzzle that doesn't have an answer-key, baking a new dessert without a recipe, or constructing a house you've never seen the blueprints for.
Most importantly, customizations provide limitless opportunity. Real estate agents can create the exact site they want, bring their ideas to life, and have a web presence unlike anything else in the world. That's the reason why, at the end of the day, Real Estate Webmasters loves customizations.
But let's face it: website customizations aren't for everybody. They can be time-consuming and expensive, and if there's two things real estate agents don't love to spare, it's their time and money.
So, let's talk a little bit about when customizations make sense for a real estate agent, team, or brokerage...
When your clients or market have unique needs
We've created a suite of websites made to meet the needs of most buyers and sellers right out of the box. But there are niche agents out there who need something specific to best serve their own unique agents.
One excellent example of this is MilitaryHomeSearch.com, a site that caters specifically to military personel who are relocated to one of the five bases in the Colorado Springs area. This heavily customized site includes a lot of features that are made specifically for the target group to enhance their user experience.
We've also seen customizations for niches like condos, luxury homes, and resort communities.
When you want to highlight your brand
All real estate sites allow the opportunity for branding, but customizations can help a real estate agent or team take it to the next level. Reputations built on brand often require a higher level of personalization to reflect their style, language, and overall look.
You'll often see this on ultra-luxury sites, like FredrikEklund.com and AaronKirman.com, as well as large brokerage and franchise sites.
When your team covers a large territory
Brokerages that serve several large areas often find that they need to customize their site to properly divide and conquer their territories. It can be hard for users to digest large amounts of information in a traditional real estate site, and this is where custom navigation, maps, and very specific layouts can make a world of difference.
You'll see examples of brokerages that have used customizations like HighRises.com, DwellingWell.com, and JustinHavre.com.
When you have the budget for the work and maintenance
Finally, you need to be able to afford the work. The client cost involved with customizations is one of the main reasons a lot of web providers don't offer it; it's expensive to implement, and it's expensive to maintain. In addition, customizations often conflict with patches, which means free upgrades aren't possible once customizations have been implemented.
The best candidates for custom programming and design work are the ones who are willing to join a retainer program, which allows for ongoing "on demand" programming and design changes.
The amazing power of customizations for real estate websites
While customizations aren't for everybody, many real estate agents and teams who have implemented them have demonstrated their ability to produce phenomenal results. Customizations allow real estate teams to develop a site that meets all their needs, no matter how unique, and have the exact look and feel they desire.
For example, our T3 case study "Winning on the Web" demonstrates how Daniel Gale Sotheby's used customizations to double their online visitors and increase new leads by 500%—just by switching to a site that was customized for their needs. It's just one example of how powerful customizations can be for the right team.
Customizations can be incredible, bringing inspiration and vision into reality. If you want a site that's unlike anything anyone has ever seen and reflects your company at its very core, then customization might be right for you.