There are a growing number of companies out there who will create and host your Real Estate website. When we first started in Real Estate over 3 years ago, I researched a number of different options. However, most of the ones out there were just too similar looking, not customizable enough, or too expensive.
The first website we put up was hosted with Point2Agent - they were free, had a different look, and most importantly, it was really a customizable website. It looks like they have gone through a lot of changes over the past couple of years and I know of a lot of agents who use them who are generally quite pleased. Of course, as with all the hosting companies, they do have options to upgrade your website with added features for a fee. Still, it looks like Point2Agent is a great place to start up your website
The next place we moved our website to was Agent Image. This is a great service - really customizable and a great, professional look to the websites they put together. Their support department was always very responsive. However, this all came with a cost - they are kind of expensive to get started with. I feel it is worth the cost to get a professional website up and running. I got a lot of comments on how nice my website was.
After three years, I got tired of not being able to control my own website and make immediate changes and customizations. I finally decided to buy a copy of Dreamweaver and make my own website. After a lot of trial and error, I think I ended up with something pretty good - GETATL.com. It's hosted at Lunar Pages which has some cheap hosting plans. Designing and constructing your own website is not for the faint of heart. It takes a lot of time and energy just to maintain it. However, I love being in total control of everything on my website.
Having a website is a must in today's Real Estate market. A blog is almost becoming a must and I use Typepad for a couple of my blogs (atlagentintown.com and homeinatl.com). Typepad is a great service even for the novice.
I just recently ran across Active Rain and think it is a great supplement to my other online activities. In today's world, you really need to have multiple online presences.