The Problem With Real Estate Websites

Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

First, let me say that I know a whole lot of people disagree with me about this. But I still need to say it, and I hope those who disagree will at least consider my point of view.

So… onward.

What do you see first when you visit a real estate website? Most of the time the first thing you see is an advertisement for the community.


It’s true that in my 19 years selling real estate I did come in contact with a few people who were cruising the entire Northwest looking for a place to settle. Perhaps a half dozen over the years. They were looking at homes from Montana, across Idaho, into Washington, and down to Oregon. Frankly, they were not my ideal clients because they wasted a lot of my time before moving on to another state. They were definitely not serious buyers and I probably should not have taken time for them.

So yes, a few people will visit your website to learn about the community and decide if it’s the right place for them. But the majority of people who visit your website are there because they either already live in the community and want to move up, down, or out of Mom’s house - or because they know they want to relocate to that community.

So why should you present a “Chamber of Commerce page” on the most valuable piece of Internet real estate that you own? Doesn't the Chamber have its own site?

I believe you should not.

I believe this page should show why you are the agent in that community that buyers and sellers need on their side.

It does need to show what community you represent, just so that visitors know they’re in the right place, but I don’t believe its purpose should be to sell the community. It's purpose should be to bring you new clients and customers - in other words, it should be a prospecting tool.


That page should not only feature your name and your photograph, but should offer reasons why calling you will be a benefit to the buyers and sellers who visit your site. Every good agent has something special to offer, so write a couple of enticing paragraphs and let them lead into your buyer and seller pages.

Let your visitors know that they’ve just found a true professional who can and will help them achieve their goals.

Then, if there is one particular segment of the community that you claim as your territory, you could sing its praises.

The next mistake I see on many real estate websites is stinginess.

It’s natural for agents to want to capture the names of visitors to their sites. But when they rush into it and refuse to give up any information without “payment” in the form of the visitor’s contact information, it encourages that visitor to look elsewhere.

Instead of asking for that up-front payment, let visitors search the MLS. Give them some free advice. Show them that you have knowledge to impart and that you’re willing to share.

Shun the “canned” articles that appear on hundreds of sites and either write your own or have them written for you – and make sure they actually say something. Too many of the articles on real estate websites are just words with no value.I expect they're there more for SEO than for human visitors.

Then, after you’ve shown that what you have to say will be beneficial to your visitors, offer something of even greater value in exchange for their name and address.

By that time they’ll be eager to hear from you.

Wishing profitable leads to all,




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Tim Lorenz
TIM LORENZ - Elite Home Sales Team - Mission Viejo, CA
949 874-2247

Very good points and it is really true.  So maybe I should look again at my page.

Mar 27, 2010 05:17 PM #1
Kristyn Grewell
CENTURY 21 Goodyear Green Edmond, OK - Edmond, OK
Edmond, OK Homes, Oklahoma Relocation Services

I agree with you.  I think you'll be suprised how many will.

Mar 27, 2010 05:17 PM #2
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

Tim and Kristyn - Thanks. I'm glad you agree.

I always write what my clients ask for, but it really bothers me when what they want is a "Chamber of Commerce" home page.

Mar 27, 2010 05:24 PM #3
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services Inc - Gulf Breeze, FL
Buyers Agent 800-309-3414 Pace and Gulf Breeze,Fl.

Um, great point never really thought about it in that light. I think ours is pretty much on course though simple it works.

Mar 27, 2010 06:14 PM #4
Pat, Ben and Martin Mullikin
M3 Realty - Brookfield, WI

Good observations coming from wisdom.

Mar 27, 2010 06:27 PM #5
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

Joyce - sometimes simple is best. It lets your message shine through clearly.

Pat - thank you, I don't know that anyone has called me "wise" before.

Mar 27, 2010 06:51 PM #6
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

For the past 10 years, I have eschewed giving valuable time to one segment of the home buying public.

When a caller indicates that they are retiring sometime in the next 5 years and are planning to buy a small retirement home someplace between the New Jersey shore and Florida. . . . . .

As for Interent advertising, I follow a completely different system that works for me. 


Mar 27, 2010 09:54 PM #7
Brian Madigan
RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage (Toronto) - Toronto, ON
LL.B., Broker


I think you're right. That's the plan I follow. Right now, I have over 400 articles on my website that can be downloaded for free. I don't know who the people are.

The only ones I know, are the ones who actually contact me. That's a big time saver.


Mar 28, 2010 02:29 AM #9
Carra & Shae Riley
Brokers Guild Cherry Creek Ltd - Westminster, CO
Helping people Transition at all ages!

Marte....I believe websites should be informative, easily read, and portray your personality.  However one chooses to do that, if it works, it's right.

cosmic cow

Mar 28, 2010 03:48 AM #10
Leslie Prest
Leslie Prest, Prest Realty, Sales and Rentals in Payson, AZ - Payson, AZ
Owner, Assoc. Broker, Prest Realty, Payson,

Most of our buyers DO NOT already live here. hat said, I disagree withhaving EITHER an ad for the town OR an ad for you. I think giving the consumer the information they want should be tops.

Mar 28, 2010 06:07 AM #11
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

Lenn, if you've developed a system that works, cherish it!

Brian - Now you know you've got them reading. Why not offer something special in return for their names?

Carra - Exactly. I think people really want to know who you are before they invest their time talking to you. Your website offers an easy way to let them know. Even the articles you choose reflect your personality.

Mar 28, 2010 06:08 AM #12
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

Leslie, I didn't mean that all of them lived there - just that they either lived there or knew they wanted to locate there. Your site and your approach is slightly different from a straight real estate site, since you're offering both real estate sales and home rentals. I see why you need to offer visitors a choice of where to go next once they arrive...

Mar 28, 2010 08:21 AM #13
John Thomas
E3 Green HOMES - Boulder, CO
EcoBroker, MSEE, MBA

Nice article and to the point. It is amazing how many real estate websites have the same basic information of most other sites. Clients want value and when your product and service is different from the zillion others out there you shine in a favorable way. Clients are much more likely to come back.

Apr 02, 2010 01:56 PM #14
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

Good grief! A comment from April of 2010 that I completely missed.

I'm sorry John!

Oct 04, 2011 10:02 AM #15
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