March 16th 2020
A corporate website. Pretty much a necessity for any business today. Of course, it wasn’t always that way. The worldwide web is a relatively new phenomenon. But it’s taken hold in such a way that it’s hard to imagine life without it.
Here at RE/MAX Garden City Realty, we began our sojourn into the internet world shortly after it’s inception back some 20 years or so ago. It was a real challenge in the early days. Websites were almost unknown in the real estate community when we first set out to develop one. So we contacted a local web development company and asked if they would build us one “Of course” they told us. We hired them and soon discovered they knew nothing about the real estate industry or real estate websites. They wanted us to design the look and develop all the content. They would write code. Needless to say that venture didn’t work out so well.
Then we discovered a company out of Atlanta that specialized in real estate websites. They had created websites for a number of large RE/MAX offices in the U.S. and were anxious to break into Canada. We hired them, and I must say the process was excellent. They knew what a real estate website should look like. What it should contain and they had the tools to create and customize it to our needs. They created a product for us that worked exceptionally well for a number of years.
But nothing lasts forever, and over time due to rapid growth, mergers and personnel change, that company could no longer support or develop the website. We needed to start over.
By this time there were a number of relatively large real estate web developers who had product available. By now the process had evolved to the point that they would offer a ‘cookie-cutter’ website, well developed and feature enhanced that could be semi-customized to a real estate company’s needs. Each real estate website would be pretty much the same as the next but with a unique look and feel.
After shopping around, we elected to go with the same company that provided our back-office accounting package as well as our front desk management system. We felt that having one company handling all three areas, the process would be streamlined and seamlessly interactive. And it has been, for a number of years now.
But unfortunately, this provider is primarily an accounting software and systems company. Web design and maintenance is not their mainstay. Over time our website became outdated and somewhat non-functional.
So back to the drawing board. This time, do we go with an established real estate web provider with a slick proven product but with a somewhat one size fits all approach, or do we go to a design firm and build our new website from the ground up?
We elected to create our own!
We approached a local web development company but this time with a track record of real estate website development. Went over our wants and needs, and came to an agreement.
It’s been a challenge. A lot more hands-on during the development stage than we anticipated, but I’m pleased to say the first phase has now been rolled out. Our corporate website. It’s the primary function, of course, is to showcase listings and allow consumers to search for properties for sale. It does that well. But it also introduces our agents, provides buyer and seller tips, introduces our corporate culture to potential new hires, connects to our mortgage and legal departments, provides blogs on market conditions, investment, legal issues and a host of other things.
But as we’ve said, it’s a work in progress. Now we are in the process of adding websites for each of our salespeople. Hopefully, that will be added shortly along with more enhancements and features as we move along.
Have a look. I hope you like it and it works well for you. And of course, we’d love your feedback. As we’ve said, it’s a work in progress. It isn’t perfect but over time and with your input, we’ll keep the ball rolling, remove glitches and keep getting better and better.