There’s always something to howl about

The Greatest Listing Single-Site Ever Created!

…is what people might say once we are all done here.

After following Robert Worthington’s post: Videos are in My Arsenal and the terrific advice he got, I decided it’s my turn to spend some time in the barrel. Not for videos (despite the abundant potential I see in videos, I’m not there yet) but rather single sites: I am dialing in my individal listing web site model. Well… at least I think I am.

Heck, just last week I bragged in a Comment on Eric Blackwell’s NAR, IDX, Franchisors post “I know I can put together a single site that blows away most other agents and ALL other aggregator / franchisor lead generator thing-a-ma-bobs.”  Later that night, however, as I lay down to go to sleep, all I could hear, over and over in my head, was Robert Duvall saying to John Wayne in the movie True Grit: “I call that bold talk for a one-eyed, fat man!”  I realized that such a brag, based on only one person’s review (don’t kid yourself, though, my mom can be a tough critic) leaves room for improvement.

Real Estate, despite all the talking we do with others, is essentially a lonely business. (We do still talk to lots of people in order to generate business, don’t we? I mean… I didn’t miss some new App that does that for us, right?) When we create marketing pieces, and even entire marketing campaigns, we are often working in the bubble of our own minds. I have borrowed, swiped and learned as much as I can from what’s found on BHB, and so I can ask no better group to take a look at the direction I’m going and provide criticism. This single site, Wellesley La Mesa, is the first one utilizing my new layout and over-all look/feel, so it’s not too late to make wholesale changes if I’m missing something or just plain on the wrong path.

One note: the web site itself (The UnRealty Group), is about 30% finished, with lots of articles and content missing, so if you link over there, keep that in mind before tearin’ into me… I mean passin’ on your constructive criticisms.  Thanks!


22 Comments so far

  1. Al Lorenz November 1st, 2011 11:45 am

    Sean, I think the idea will generate a bunch of interest. It capitalizes on the desire folks have for something different as well as the overall negative perceptions of realtors. If you can counter the negatives with a bunch of positives, it could be great.

    I do have one thought, you might want to get as well and just forward it to your site. In my looks at keyword searches, nearly as many folks search for reality as realty so I usually include both in keywords.

  2. Dylan Darling November 1st, 2011 12:19 pm

    Sean, the overall design of the site is alright, but kind of boring if you ask me. Give it some color and find a way to organize your “features” on the right hand side, (that’s a lof ot text with no organization). Also, there is no sense advertising a property online without good photos. Hire a pro, or do some research and take better photos. I’ve written a couple blog posts about real estate photography. It means everything. If your photos don’t grab the attention of buyers, the text and features don’t matter… I gurantee you that hiring a pro will pay for itself.

    Also, your site doesn’t attract leads, which is what we want websites to do. There aren’t any, “contact me for more info” type links.

    Its a great start though.

  3. Sean Purcell November 1st, 2011 3:02 pm

    >Al – Thanks for the feedback; great idea about getting the url “reality” too. I’ll do that immediately. I am working on filling in the rest of the main site as time permits. My focus right now was to create the outline or model for future single sites within the main.

    >Dylan – Thanks to you as well. I see what you mean regarding the Features column on the left. I’ll have to see what I can do to enhance that (not a computer guy so each of these steps is like pulling teeth!). Wondering why you suggested a professional photographer… I did hire one. Those are the photos seen in the overview page and on the main page. Only the extra photos on each link are mine. Are you suggesting that I add the pro’s photos to those pages? Or are you suggesting that the pro didn’t do a good enough job to distinguish himself from an amateur like me?

    One note: I don’t use the site to generate leads. Its purpose is solely to help sell the home. Having said that, my contact info is at the top and at the bottom. Where/How else would you link it in?

    Thanks again for the input!

  4. Greg Swann November 1st, 2011 3:06 pm

    > Wondering why you suggested a professional photographer… I did hire one. Those are the photos seen in the overview page and on the main page. Only the extra photos on each link are mine. Are you suggesting that I add the pro’s photos to those pages? Or are you suggesting that the pro didn’t do a good enough job to distinguish himself from an amateur like me?

    Bigger. I like 640 pixels as a trade-off, size-to-bandwidth, but I’m loving 720 pixels a lot, too. Photos sell houses. All the detail will matter to someone who is hooked on the photos, but not before, IMO.

  5. Sean Purcell November 1st, 2011 3:14 pm

    Okay, so I’ve got two sets of photos from the photographer: one is MLS ready and 640×426, the other is Brochure ready and 4256×2832. Does that mean shrink the huge ones down, or use the ones I’m already using?

    Still not sure what I can do to improve the photos, other than allow them all to take their own page instead of being a gallery. Other ideas?

  6. Greg Swann November 1st, 2011 3:21 pm

    I’m seeing little thumbnails about 150 pixels square.

    > Still not sure what I can do to improve the photos, other than allow them all to take their own page instead of being a gallery. Other ideas?

    I would do a slide show in javascript (which is what I already do) or just stack them in the middle column.

  7. Sean Purcell November 1st, 2011 3:27 pm

    Got it. I’ll move the full size photos to the front page, and get started trying to use javascript…

    My original design for the page was a swipe from you, if I remember correctly. But looking through your site now (and looking back through links to old listings), I was either mistaken or you’ve gone to a more full face picture format. Thanks for the ideas!

  8. Greg Swann November 1st, 2011 3:59 pm

    > get started trying to use javascript

    You’re WordPress — I peeked. Find a plug-in and see how that works.

  9. Don Reedy November 1st, 2011 3:29 pm


    Pretty darn nice start for a single listing site. I do, however, think that the consensus is going to be that the photos just don’t cut it, especially when your intent is to sell this particular home.

    Nothing in the photos says “buy me.” Whether it’s bigger, better or distinguishable, the photos ARE the draw.

    On the right side you have “Overview of Pictures”, and these are bigger and better. But with your presentation you’ve shown me pictures of the “uglier sister” instead of the “prettiest one” first.

    With a few changes this could indeed be the “greatest ever….”

  10. Sean Purcell November 1st, 2011 3:31 pm

    This is an idea of what I’m thinking back to Greg:

    1322 East Vermont Ave

  11. Greg Swann November 1st, 2011 3:42 pm

    > 1322 East Vermont Ave

    Yeah. That’s kind of magaziney. I don’t mind that for the front page. Here’s another that I like a lot:

    Drill down to the photo pages to see how we were handling photos in those days.

  12. Sean Purcell November 1st, 2011 3:35 pm

    Thanks Don, so what I’m hearing from you and everyone else is: put the pro’s photos in full size on the main page and minimize the story telling and links…

  13. Don Reedy November 1st, 2011 3:44 pm

    Yep. The info needs to be there, but it’s the red bathing suit that sells.

  14. Dylan Darling November 3rd, 2011 7:15 am

    Sean- Sorry for the delayed response. Your photos look better now that they are big, but they still could use some work. The old saying “you get what you pay for” holds true for real estate photography. It looks like the photographer did strictly HDR images, which works well for most Realtors. But there isn’t any “pop” to the photos. You’d be amazed to see what a pro could do. Also, if you have the stats to back you up, it can be easy to get the sellers to pay for pro photography.

    Also, I agree with Don. I’d change the order of your photos. Show your best photos first, and grab the attention of the buyer. Then they’ll look through the rest.

    While I’m not a pro, I do consider myself a decent real estate photographer. I’ve put a lot of time and money into it. And I know that because of the photos alone, I’ve sold 2 traditional sale homes this year that received offers in the first week for more than the appraised value. The sellers were impressed to say the least, until we had to drop the price to the appraised value… but at least they know they got full market value.

    Here’s a listing I just took and photographed, Rather than a single page, I just post the virtual tour (slide show) on everything. Photos are what buyers want to see. And the main contributer to me getting this lising was my photography presentation.

    Your single site looks much better than before! Keep up the good work.

  15. Jeff Brown November 3rd, 2011 1:22 pm

    Hey Sean — I had the same experience as Dylan with the normal, not-much-special home I listed and sold a couple years ago in Clairemont. Pretty sure you saw it yourself. That plain Jane home also sold in a couple days — and we also had to adjust down to the appraisal. 🙂

    If you wish, I can get you in touch with the pro photog guy who took the shots.

  16. Dylan Darling November 3rd, 2011 3:31 pm

    There is also a great real estate photography website, They have plenty of tips and info from real estate photographers. They also have a directory of real estate photographers. I’ve gained a ton of knowledge from this site.

  17. Teri Lussier November 3rd, 2011 5:22 pm

    Oh wow! Much improved. I still want to see that home at dusk, lit up like a Christmas tree, with the city sparkling below, that clear moonlit San Diego sky above.

    And few things are as lonely as bathrooms without giant plump towels.

    Shine light across that granite.

    What are the views from inside the home in the evening?

    You have a lot of photos of light fixtures. Why aren’t they on? What kind of interesting shadows do they cast throughout the room?

    Fireplace!!!! Should have fire in it. At least candles or something. Warm that puppy up.

    Even so, looks so much better, Sean!

  18. Sean Purcell November 3rd, 2011 5:27 pm

    Thanks guys! As you can see, I took your suggestions and completely trashed the old site – started again. It’s not nearly complete (working on it right now), but I feel like the path I’m going down now is much, much better.

    I’ll Comment when it’s closer to finished in hopes of indulging you all for more feedback. Thanks again!

  19. Don Reedy November 5th, 2011 12:37 pm

    Sean….you ARE making fabulous improvements. Agree with Teri about almost everything she said. (She’s got the “touch” with such stuff).

    Congrats on what you started, how you’re improving, and how it will flourish.

  20. Greg Tracy November 5th, 2011 1:09 pm

    Sometimes an automatically-generated property details page does a great job of giving you good information and at the same time, is appealing to look at…

    I may be biased, of course, but if I’m spending hours online searching for anything, I like the look and feel of the place to be pleasant.

  21. Teyona November 6th, 2011 1:31 am

    Just reading all the comments makes me have that much idea about creating a site. Sean good luck to your new site!

  22. Jim Robison November 7th, 2011 10:42 am

    Dylan, thanks for the photography tips – something I think a lot of realtors could really work on. Are there any cameras that you recommend that are pretty affordable?

    Sean, good luck with the website, it’s always interesting to see a work in progress!