Joomla for Real Estate Agents

In this post, we will discuss how real estate agents can use Joomla to build a website that serves their business. Before discussing which pages and functionalities should be included in such a website, let us examine what people expect when they visit the website of a real estate agent:

  • They expect to search the site by using one or more of the following filters:
    • Real estate type: The first thing that people filter their search on is the real estate type. For example, if they want a house, they don’t want to see an office. There are two real estate types: residential and commercial.
    • Real estate sub-type: After choosing the real estate type, people usually filter their search further by choosing the real-estate sub-type they are looking for. Residential real estate sub-types include (but are not limited to):

      • House
        • Detached
        • Semi-detached
      • Condo
      • Bungalow
      • Townhouse
      • Land
    • Location: Location, location, location! Location is by far the most important factor that people consider when buying or renting a real estate. People want to live/work in a place they know or they have heard of.

    • Rent or buy: This is a very important filter that people apply to their searches – this is because people usually have a set decision whether they want to buy or to rent prior to visiting the website. Note that their decision might change afterwards – but that doesn’t really matter because they can always switch between “Rent” and “Buy”.

    • Price: Price is also a very critical filter. People expect the price filter to be a range between a certain amount and another. For example, a visitor might search for houses that are no less than $200,000 and no more than $400,000.

    • Total space: Most people like larger houses – and all of them have a lower limit on what they would consider as “a livable area”. That’s why people expect to have a filter that allow them to specify the minimum (and perhaps) the maximum range of area in square feet (or square meters – if they are living outside the US and Canada).

    There are many other filters that can be applied to real estate, such as:

    • Number of rooms
    • Number of bathrooms
    • Number of floors
    • Furnished/Not furnished
    • Amenities
    • etc…
  • They expect to know something about the real estate agent they’re about to entrust with their monies. An About Me or About Us as well as How We Work pages are indispensable for the visitors to have insight about the real estate agent, his business, and how he conducts business.

  • They expect to read a guide on how to select the ideal property. This guide should be written by none other than the real estate agent.

  • They expect to see the listings that are close to them on the homepage. Website visitors these days are spoiled because many things are done for them – for example, many real estate websites automatically detect the person’s location and list the nearest properties to his place. People also expect to manually change/set the automatically chosen location to another one.

  • They expect to view some pictures of each and every property. It is a fact that listings with pictures sell much better than those that don’t have any picture. Additionally, pictures of products on any website will give the website a more professional look.

  • They expect to easily contact the real estate agent and to have his full contact information.

  • They expect to read testimonials from people who have dealt in the past with this real estate agent – this will give them a sense of confidence.

Now that we’ve covered what people expect when visiting the website of a real estate agent, let’s discuss which pages/functionalities should be included/implemented to build such as website in Joomla.

Let’s start with the simple things first:

  • The website must have an About Us page where the real estate agent (or agency) will list his achievements in the real estate world. This will simply be an article in Joomla.

  • The website must have another page, called How We Work, where the real estate agent explains how he deals with his customers and how are his fees broken down. Again, this is another article in Joomla.

  • An important page that should be included and that is read by those who are serious in their real estate hunt should be How to Choose a Property?. This is an informative page where the real estate agent explains (to his visitors) some techniques/strategies and best practices to select the ideal property. (Yes, you guessed it, this is another simple article in Joomla)

  • The website will need a dedicated Contact Us page where people will be able to see all the information they need about the real estate agent, and they’ll be able to fill in a form to contact the real estate agent. Joomla’s built-in Contact component should be used on this page. If the real estate agent wants to get fancy in his contact us form, then he can use a dynamic form generator such as RS Forms. In our opinion, the latter option is better and more professoinal.

  • The website will need to show the main contact information of the real estate agent (such as his name, his phone number, and his email – as well as a link to the Contact Us page) at all times in the left column or the right column (depending on the design) to simplify the process of contacting the agent. This functionality can be done using a custom HTML module and assigning it to the corresponding module position.

Now for the more complicated pages/functionality:

  • The website must have a listings database connected to Joomla (preferably located in the same database). The listings database will consist of a table that has all the information about all the listings. The owner of the website must have an easy interface where he can enter listings. That interface should be accessible from Joomla’s backend. These listings will be displayed on the homepage and on the search pages. Technically, an extension that will handle these listings should be created from scratch.
  • The website must automatically know the location of the visitor and display relevant listings on the homepage. This can be done by creating a Joomla extension that will detect the IP of the visitor, and then run this IP against a database that will return the location of the visitor. Once the location of the visitor is known (State and City, for example), then the listings database will be queried, and the listings close to the location of the visitor will be displayed.

  • The website must have a full search functionality on the left side (or the right side – depending on the design) where people can search for listings based on the type, the sub-type, the location, the price, etc… Every filter applied will automatically refresh the listings.

  • The page displaying the listings should have paging – and everytime someone clicks on a listing he should see the full information about the listing – including images of this listing (note: images of the listings should be watermarked with the name of the real estate agent). This functionality should be handled by the custom Joomla extension that we just discussed.

  • The website should allow the real estate agent to add testimonials from the backend – automatically populating/updating a Testimonials page on the website. Again, this will be developed as a custom extension.

Now that we have explained how to build a fully functional and professional website for real estate agents using Joomla – it is up to you (yes you!) to build it! If you need help, then that’s why we’re here for – just contact us! Our rates are affordable, we are very friendly, and we will do it for you in no time (usually this job will take us about 7 days or 56 hours to finish – please note that you have to supply the template as we don’t do any design work).

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