How to make a website for a real estate agent?
October 30, 2007 11:49 AM   Subscribe

What's an easy way to develop an inexpensive website for a real estate agent?

I'm not the real estate agent, but my dad is. He has no experience with website maintenance, but he's a good computer learner overall. I have my own domain name, and I know how to go about getting cheap hosting, so I can walk him through that bit. My big problem is setting up the design of the website. I've only used the user friendly blogger and wordpress, and a blog isn't exactly what my dad needs. The website must at least display the following:

1.) a listing of my dad's houses

2.) contact info.

3.) an "about me" type of page

My dad's a new agent, and he doesn't have a lot of money to work with, so hiring out help is not a realistic option. My hope is that someone will have suggestions for a template or a way to manipulate a template, so that he can add a listing as easily as making a blog post.
posted by english lit.ter bug to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Install wordpress. The index page has his contact info. The subpage lists the 'blog' -- each house is an 'article', use categories to provide 'keywords' like 2-bedroom, etc. It's all really easy to do with a default installation.
posted by SpecialK at 11:54 AM on October 30, 2007

You (he) definitely needs a CMS. Take a look at OpenSourceCMS,, which basically has umpteen of 'em installed and provides a public admin account so you can take any of them for a test drive. They're arranged by function, and I'd start with the Portal category, maybe also checking out E-Commerce (though without the whole shopping-cart issue) and Wikis.

SpecialK's got a good point, too, though. WP is very user-friendly, and the most recent version supports tags in addition to categories. The only thing would be finding a good theme (presumably he's not cut out to design one of his own) that breaks out of the usual blog format to display the listings how he wants 'em.
posted by electric_counterpoint at 12:01 PM on October 30, 2007

I think I'd just put his profile on Zillow or That's where the buyers are going to be, and the sites are already hooked into the MLS system.

If he is going to blog regularly about the local market and try to build a reputation as a local expert, then a blog makes sense. If he just needs a place to plant his profile and listings, I'd go where the rest of the real estate world already is online.
posted by COD at 12:11 PM on October 30, 2007

Forgot to add, I would get a memorable domain for email purposes, and just point it at his profile at Zillow for web.
posted by COD at 12:12 PM on October 30, 2007

If you don't want to follow the suggestions above (which all seem pretty good), another option would be to pay someone to code a small site for him.

This type of problem is perfect for php with a MySQL database, and really shouldn't take all that long for someone with knowledge of both.
posted by drezdn at 12:27 PM on October 30, 2007

2nding the Wordpress suggestion. It's the solution that's going to require the least customization for your needs. You could probably have it up and running in an hour.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 12:51 PM on October 30, 2007

RealTown's Internet Crusade has lots of stuff like this, just for real estate pros.

I've never heard anything bad about them in my time in the industry.
posted by beezy at 2:19 PM on October 30, 2007

Curiously, I was the original author of OpenRealty, the project that eventually became Open-Realty. I haven't kept up too actively with the project, but that's probably what you're looking for -- a cms specifically for real estate. There are a number of plugins that allow you to suck up MLS data (if you want it), but for just adding / searching property data, that'll be more or less what you're looking for.
posted by ph00dz at 4:12 PM on October 30, 2007

I've installed Open-Realty for this purpose, but haven't really gotten into using it yet.

On the other end, here are some real estate themes and plugins for Wordpress. I would check out that route, as you already have WP experience, and it should be super simple for your dad to jump into.
posted by shinynewnick at 5:49 PM on October 30, 2007

Just checking back in...

I don't want to badmouth beezy's link, because I might be missing something about what they're offering, but what is going on with RealTown's pricing?! This page advertises 100MB of storage space at $299 a year, with a $50 setup fee! That would have been a bad deal, say, eight years ago. Today, it's ludicrous, when the a competitive host would give maybe ten times the storage, and at least as much bandwidth, for one tenth the price.

Of course, if they're selling an actual website, rather than just a hundred megs of space on a shared server, forget what I said. That's the only explanation I can find (well, the most charitable explanation I can find, at any rate) for their prices. The site certainly doesn't make it clear.
posted by electric_counterpoint at 7:17 PM on October 30, 2007

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