Feature Tools to Help Your Visitors

Services for Real Estate Pros with Way Out Web Dezign

In my experience, one of the biggest challenges for someone building a real estate website is coming up with a helpful selection of tools to feature on the website. In this post I will cover some possiible tools your site visitors might enjoy.

 Listing Search Tool

This one is a given, and most real estate websites have this tool in them. However, this feature can be provided in different ways.

The first is the more popular of the two. Agents usually provide access to the listing search tool through a link to a page that utilizes what is called an "iframe". This method allows the visitor to search listings on another website through a "frame" on the agent's website. While, usually less expensive to implement, this method has limitations. Since the data is not on the agent's website, it cannot be presented in any way other than how it is on the original site (the one inside the iframe). For example, let's say that the search tool has no way of searching for homes that are cabins. If you are using an iframe you cannot provide a way for your visitors to find that information. Enter, the data push.

The other method of providing a listing search to your site visitors is called a "data push" or "data feed". this method is more expensive to implement, but offers more freedom to utilize the information. Agents choosing to use this method, in most cases, need to have a professional developer handling their website. I won't explain all the details of how it works, but a simplified summary goes like this:

An agent can go through the local board of REALTORS to gain access to MLS data by means of a "push" or "feed". The data is pushed to the agent's daily where it is placed into the agent's own database. Since this information is now in a database controlled by the agent, the information can be sorted, filtered, and presented any way he chooses. This allows for greater flexibility in marketing your services.


This is a feature that is not always seen on websites but has great value from the visitors standpoint. In my opinion, you can never too many photos of properties as long as the page still loads relatively quickly. Often times, agents run slides of their featured properties allowing the slides to be clicked, once they are clicked, the viewer is taken to a page showing all their featured listings. Or, agents can feature a slideshow on the page of an existing property rotating photos of that property as a type of virtual tour.

Finance Tools

Perhaps the most commonly used finance tool in use is the mortgage calculator. This tool allows the visitor to "run the numbers" on a property or on their specific situation to get an idea of what their budget will handle. These types of tools help keep site visitors on the website because they do not need to go find the tool somewhere else.


mapping properties is also an effective way to help site visitors. Perhaps someone wants to know if a specifc property is located near a lake. If the agent maps the listings, the visitor knows that without having to dig up the information on their own.

These are not all of the tools that can be utilized to assist site visitors, there are many others. The main thing agents need to keep in mind is how they can fill the needs of the site visitor. If that is the focus, the website will be successful.

Comments (5)

Colleen Fischesser Northwest Property Shop
NextHome Experience - Chelan, WA
A Tradition of Trust in the Pacific NW since 1990!

Nice list Matt. People are very visual and really need photos photos and more photos. I've noticed lately some agents have "chat now" buttons or "send me a text" button. I think those could be helpful as well.


Dec 23, 2007 03:28 AM
Bill Gillhespy
16 Sunview Blvd - Fort Myers Beach, FL
Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos
Matt,  Excellent overview of this info.  I had heard some of the terms but wasn't sure how to make use of them.  Hope you have the best Christmas ever !
Dec 23, 2007 03:40 AM
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services
Matt -- our provides these to the agents, but not all the tools are available to the clients so we have a private service we use that has all these features and functions.  Thanks for the tips and Happy Holidays to you.
Dec 23, 2007 04:19 AM
Rosemary Brooks
BMC Real Estate - 209-910-3706 - Stockton, CA
The Mother & Daughter Realty Team
Great tips.  Bookmarked for later when I go back over my website and try to update it and make it more useful to the viewers.  Thanks for sharing.
Dec 28, 2007 05:18 AM
Matt Way
Way Out Web Dezign - Branson, MO
No problem Rosemary. Thanks for your kind words.
Dec 28, 2007 06:14 AM