The creation and management of a real estate listing website is no mean feat. There are a hundred and one things you need to pay attention to, right from adding listings to managing payments, featuring houses, creating descriptions, customizing search options and more.
With this in mind, you need a strong website building platform that can support all these functionalities, and WordPress is one such CMS solution. The WordPress platform has tons of options that can be customized as per requirement, to design a real estate listing website that becomes uniquely yours. The multitude of plugins available need varying levels of technical expertise, which allows for significant freedom in experimentation.
As always, we shall discuss two different approaches here, to create a real estate listing website on the WordPress platform. These are:
- WordPress + Real Estate Listing Website Plugin
- WordPress + Real Estate Listing Website Theme + Assorted Plugins for Functionalities
The first approach entails installing a comprehensive real estate listing website plugin that covers all the essentials for your website. No other themes or plugins need to be installed for the core functionalities.
The second approach is wider in its scope, in the sense that you can start off with a real estate listing website theme and then pick and choose the various other plugins you need for adding various functionalities to your website. Here you have to take care of the various aspects of website design, such as integrating payment gateways, social networking options, backups, and optimization, by yourself.
Each of these approaches offers different levels of flexibility in website building and have their own advantages and drawbacks. Let us analyze these in detail here.
Approach A: Using a Real Estate Listing Website Plugin
In this method, the approach is pretty straightforward. You download and install the real estate listing website plugin like any other plugin for WordPress and then start adding customizations as necessary. As the core of your website depends on the plugin you choose, some in-depth research is required before you finalize any. There are over 40 plugins available in the WordPress directory; here we take a look at five of the most dynamic real estate listing plugins.
WPL Real Estate
WPL Real Estate, which stands for WordPress Property Listing Real Estate is a comprehensive, end-to-end solution developed by Realtyna for managing listings on your website. The plugin features two different versions, the Basic and the Pro. A highly scalable plugin, it supports over 100,000+ listings on a regular server, which can be extended to more.
Additionally, the property can be listed according to various customizable categories and the plugin has an easy-to-use-interface that allows for the quick addition of listings and properties. One of the biggest pros of the WPL Real Estate plugin is its strong customer support. The extensive documentation and quick resolution of customer queries make it one of the best plugins to build a full-fledged real estate listing website.
WP-Property – WordPress Powered Real Estate and Property Management
The WP-Property plugin features an independent theme called ‘Avalon’ available along with the plugin. The other functionalities of the plugin include multiple attribute fields, customizable sidebar widgets, pagination, Google Maps integration, and variable display templates. One of the strengths of the plugin is that it has a comprehensive Search system which includes very specific search options such as the number of bedrooms, location, price, features, and more.
WP-Property strikes a snag in its customer support, which is merely passable. Also, there are some conflicts with the plugin registration and customer support validity, so make sure you read the ownership policy well before you install it. The features are satisfactory and the flexible search and smooth interface make it a good plugin for creating a real estate listing website.
Created by Agent Evolution, IMPress Listings was formerly known as WP Listings. The plugin allows for complete control over the addition, layout, and display of featured listings which can be added manually or imported from the computer. It also integrates several design templates for customizable displays. The plugin is responsive and compatible with most of the themes on WordPress.
One strength of the IMPress Listings plugin is that it lets you build your network and showcase agent listings on each of their individual pages. The integration of commission plugins or affiliate network-building plugins can help you earn a hefty commission simply by showcasing the listings of other realtors on your website. The plugin has several support videos that provide a step-by-step guide to installing and working with the plugin.
Easy Property Listings
Easy Property listings is one of the lightest real estate listings plugins and provide all necessary functionalities without bloating your website. The plugin works in a freemium fashion, with premium add-ons available within the plugin to extend features. Some of the distinct elements of the plugin include an automatic open house list generator, dynamic listings display in sidebars and widgets, comprehensive search options that show listings based on all relevant keywords, and Google Maps integration.
The Easy Property Listings plugin receives bonus points for its detailed documentation and customer support, which provide information about pretty much everything you can need in the real estate listings plugin.
Realia by Pragmatic Mates has an integrated front-end submission system that lets your users upload listings at the front end, while you charge a percentage commission for the same. It has multiple customization options as well. On the downside, the documentation is rather sketchy and the support is rather vague.
Note that the Realia plugin is not to be confused with the Realia theme for building a real estate listings website on WordPress.
This covers our list of the five most useful plugins to build a real estate listings website. We now move on to the next approach, where the theme takes central stage on the website.
Approach B: Using A Real Estate Listing Website Theme + Assorted Plugins
In this approach, the focus is the theme you select for the website. Any other functionality required can be added with the help of plugins dedicated to providing those specific features. To make things clearer, let us list the various elements we need while designing and running the real estate listings website.
The elements of the real estate listings website:
#1 Responsive real estate listings theme
The theme of the real estate listings website decides the kind of business your firm does. It creates the first impression of your website which is why it is important that the impression is a good one. The average user’s mindset is such that if the website does not catch his interest in the first five seconds and hold it for the next 20, the user will simply move on to another, better option. This makes having a great, responsive, and highly customizable theme an imperative factor in website design. There are over 100 different themes available for real estate listings, however, here is a short overview of some of the most popular ones from these.
Available in a premium version, the AgentPress Pro theme is built on the Genesis framework and supports multiple listings, advanced search, responsive design, and SEO compatibility.
Realtor – Real Estate WordPress Theme
Realtor is a classic, clean theme designed for real estate websites, with an excellent user-interface, variable listing displays, Google Maps integration and more.
Home Quest by ThemeFuse features customizable backgrounds, detailed listings, a sliding picture gallery, icons for quick reference, and a robust admin interface.
The Oikia theme has a drag-and-drop page builder that allows for easy customization of site display. Integrated search options help sift through properties for specific details with ease.
Estate Engine is one of the themes that allows you to add guest listings apart from your own. It also integrates with multiple payment gateways for smooth transactions.
Landmark boasts of a live search bar which populates listing results even as users search as per their requirements. It also has front-end property listings submission enabled.
The DreamVilla theme is available for a single as well as multiple property listings. The responsive theme has a Visual Page Builder integrated, which lets you create and customize pages easily.
Listify by Astoundify is a directory theme for WordPress. As a result, it can be used to successfully create a real estate listings website. Extremely user-friendly, highly customizable, drag-and-drop enabled, and with an inbuilt geolocator for populating relevant search results, the theme is one of the best directory themes for WordPress.
#2 Dynamic Photo Gallery
Ordinarily, the photo gallery is a part of the theme you install on your WordPress site. However, in the case of extended functionalities of image compression, optimization, and loading, some external plugins can be used to create an optimized photo gallery for the listings website. These include:
- Envira Gallery – Gallery Plugin
- Photo Gallery by WD – Gallery Plugin by Web Dorado
- Upfront – Gallery Plugin by WPMUDEV
- EWWW Image Optimizer – Image optimization plugin
- WP Smush – Image size reduction and optimization plugin
- BJ Lazy Load – Lazy loading of images for page optimization
#3 Contact forms
Contact forms are the means by which your users can ask any queries they might have regarding the listings and properties available. Some of the most versatile contact from plugins include:
- Pirate Forms
- Gravity Forms
- Ninja Forms
- WP Forms
- Formidable Pro
#4 Extensive search options
Every real estate listings website needs extensive search options to successfully reach the intended audience, in the clearest and concise manner possible. Searches are expected to be quick and relevant, populating results that can turn visitors into clients. To this end, here are a few examples of dynamic search plugins that have been known to increase leads significantly.
- WP Google Search
- Swiftype Search
- Category-Wise Search
- Highlight Search Terms
The website is expected to have other necessary functionalities, such as a website analyzer, integrated discounts and coupons, memberships, localization options, email marketing, and reviews and ratings, built into the core. However, as these plugins attend to a more general aspect of the website and are not real estate listings-specific, we shall not be discussing them here.
The Final Word
This is a brief description of the two methods of building a real estate listings website. Each of these individual methods has their advantages and drawbacks, and hence need to be chosen accordingly. When a real estate website plugin is used, a lot of the core functionalities are obtained inbuilt, without the additional hassle of checking, verifying, and updating every single plugin on the website. However, the site gets limited to the features offered by the plugin, where customization can be difficult for non-technical developers.
On the other side of the coin, using a theme and individual plugins does offer greater flexibility, but increases the bloat on the website core as well. In addition, the plugins have to be mutually compatible, else the site is liable to frequent crashes and breakdowns, which can severely damage the reputation of your firm.
Given the positives and negatives of each, the approach you choose depends on the priorities of your website, and your own inclination towards its maintenance. If a ready-to-use website is what you require and you are happy with control over basic customization, the plugin option is a good one. If on the other hand, you intend to experiment with the website and add several custom functionalities, the second approach is your cup of tea!
Do you have any other suggestions for plugins or themes that can be used while creating a real estate listings website? Let us know in the comments section below!