Many clients on the web these days that are into real estate. They want to offer their customers a user friendly and good looking website showing them all the real estate they have on offer. The choices out there and also in the WordPress community are huge. So what to choose and who to work with on this?
Real Estate Theme
One of the first things or perhaps the first thing you need to do is find yourself a real estate property theme. A WordPress theme is the design of the website containing all the needed layouts, color scheme and building block you will need to build a great WordPress based real estate agency website.
You will soon realize there are many companies on the web offering real estate WordPress themes. You do have to be careful though and pick a good one from a solid company that offers rock solid support. Often support is rather limited and you find yourself stuck in the need of something that requires yet again a customization. And that you do not want of course. You want a theme that works out of the box if possible. And one you can customize with ease!
Turnkey Real Estate Themes
So what is out there? What real estate themes did we find and what do we recommend? Well before we start we do need to make one thing clear. You do not need a theme to be called a real estate theme with dummy real estate content.
In general you just need a good theme with a solid layout that provides all the necessary tools to make a real estate website. So look for solid themes that are flexible and that have great support.
Two, Visual Composer or WP Bakery Builder are page builders that are sluggish and are lock-in type of page builders you can better live without. So focus on the ones that preferably work with page builders such as Elementor.
- Citilights – Visual Composer, WooCommerce, 1.9K+ sales – link
- HomePress – Elementor, Bootstrap 4, 400+ sales – link
- Houzez – Elementor, Visual Composer (main builder), 15K+ sales – link
- MyHome Real Estate – WP Bakery Builder, Visual Composer, 3.6K+ sales – link
- Real Homes – Bluehost recommended, 20K+ sales, Elementor – link
- Residence Real Estate – Bootstrap 3, Elementor (Elementor add-ons) or Visual Composer (Ultimate Add-ons) – link
- Real Estate 7 – Visual Composer (main builder), 15K+ sales – url
- Realtyspace – Visual Composer, 3.7K+ sales – link
- Real Spaces – Bluehost recommended, 1.2K+ sales, Bootstrap 3, WPML, no page builder mentioned – link
- WpEstate – WPBakery PageBuilderBootstrap 3, 3.8K+ sales – link
NB Themes chosen when they had good reviews and or loads of sales.
NBB Page Builders in use added as it is a vital aspect of your theme
So far in this list HomePress and Real Homes stood out as they offer a modern approach with a solid CSS framework like Bootstrap 4 (theme styling) and works and plays well with Elementor Page Builder. Most of the others I tend to drop as they work with Visual Composer or WPBakery Page Builder which are terrible page builders that have given us loads of headaches in the past.
HomePress is quite new and only has had around 400 sales on the creation of this article. And that is not a lot yet for a theme. Should not matter if it does well, but we of course prefer themes that have a more solid backing experience wise when possible. Real Homes already has 20K+ sales so in that field Real Homes stands out for sure.
We could work with one of these two themes or others however will not. The reason being that we work with themes that do more than one thing out of the box or custom themes. And we work with the themes that are well built and that we know well.
Multi Purpose Themes
Now besides the turnkey real estate themes there are also many multi purpose themes out there that can help you build pretty much for any vertical market including real estate. The following themes come to mind:
These are themes sold on Themeforest like the real estate themes mentioned before that. These are also themes that sell really well. Main difference is that these offer multiple purposes and always have multiple displays or templates. The ones we mention here are not the only ones, but they are however are the ones we have used in the past and or today.
Jupiter X is our current favorite, especially since they dropped Visual Composer for Elementor. Despite the fact that they had to rebuild all their templates to work with Elementor. Despite the fact that they had to build multiple plugins for it they did. They did because Elementor is one of the best page builders of today and does not suck like Visual Composer or WPBakery Page Builder.
Choice that did not come up in previous real estate theme listing is Jupiter X. When you look up Jupiter X you will find out it is a multi purpose theme with an outstanding rating on Themeforest. A theme from the German company Artbees and one we worked with for many years. As we mentioned before initially you should not focus on content and the vertical market. You should focus on layouts, on styles, on options and customizability.
Jupiter X is a wonderful theme that has many templates to offer. Templates that can be easily used in the real estate business. They are very modern and work well with the state of the art page builder Elementor. And, unlike starting with a custom theme using Sage, you start out with layouts and a general design. This does not mean we cannot tweak things. On the contrary, we can adjust a lot.
The foundation however is built and tools are there. This means you work with that foundation and tools. These tools are great. They however also provides the framework you will work in. So that does limit you somewhat, but also gives you focus.
Jupiter X Real Estate Template
Jupiter X does have a real estate template called Tantalus.
- It has plenty of sortable Portfolio shortcode in many pages.
- It has a beautiful LayeR Slider at Home’s header section.
- The pictures are organized neatly with descriptions to make it easier for viewers to select and decide. Each section displays 8 tiles so it is not overwhelming but the user can always search for more with just a click.
- It has a simple and functional footer. The background colors are visually appealing but not distracting. It also has a useful subscribe button for Newsletter.
- There is a large range of shortcodes that have been used here like Employee, CustomBox, Icon Box, Blog, Advanced Google Map and Gradient Fancy title. All of these features ensure that your website will look pretty and easy to use.
- tabbed real estate display
- contact form
- newsletter block
- agents page
single property display with:
- facts and features,
- interior features,
- spaces and amenities,
- house location
- agent contact details
source Artbees Blog article
So with the Jupiter X Theme, Elementor and Tantalus we will come a long way won’t we? It offers a pretty decent setup. Some elements may overlap with real estate plugin while other features will be needed, but together you can set up a pretty good real estate website!
NB Again, there are plenty of other templates we could use. This is just one tweaked to represent a real estate agency!
For those who truly want to stand out and have a fast theme and of course have the budget for it a custom theme is the best choice. You get exactly the design you are looking for. The one based on your house style (logo, colors and such).
Sage Starter Theme
For our customers that do choose this path we base a custom theme using Sage starters theme on their custom design. If a custom design is needed also we will take care of this as well.
It is important to understand that if a custom web design including logo is needed that means having our designer do all this. That is before we start the code in Sage. So obviously this will be a lot more work than working with a pre-existing theme so the price tag will be higher.
Here one example of a real estate made with Sage for Amurcon
It got a 66 on PageSpeed Insights for mobile and 92 for desktop – source. Not bad for a site with loads of bells and whistles for making clients looking for real estate happy!
Real Estate Plugins
There are many real estate plugins out there. What you normally need to worry about is what features are included in free and paid version of these plugins and in general what features are on offer and whether these features are good enough for your particular setup.
So what are the features most real estate agents look for? We decided to make a list based on our experience and general research:
- property image
- property features
- property description
- rooms / bathrooms no
- list format
- grid format
- search – customizable search preferred
- mortgage calculator
There are truly quite a few real estate plugins out there and quite a few are really good. Here some we found and we listed based on recommendations we found on the internet:
- AgentPress – 5k+ active installs, Genesis plugin needed
- Easy Property Listing – 6K+ active installs
- Essential Real Estate – 4K+ active installs
- Estatik – 3K+ active installs, themes available
- Impress Listing – 6K + active installs, agentpress migration, featured listing, cool search
- Real Estate Pro – Codecanyon 591 sales, VC compatible, came in second on Kinsta’s list
- WPL Real Estate – 5K+ active installs
- WP-Property – 4K+ active installs
We prefer plugins that at least have their free version on WordPress. That shows that they care about the community and share. But also allows the community and WordPress to scrutinize the base code.
We are not going to discuss all the options in detail here as Kinsta discussed most in our list and we simply do not have the time. This article is already really long. We will focus on the plugins that got our attention.
Estatik is a plugin with a commercial version like most real estate plugins and it is one that has a lot on offer. It offers a
- neat mortgage calculator
- search widget
- fields builder – unlimited with PRO
- request info
- unlimited domains – useful for developers servicing multiple clients
- map – with PRO
- Email alerts – with PRO
- Agents & frontend management – with PRO
- Subscriptions option (PayPal) – with PRO
- One (1) Estatik Theme FREE – with PRO
The PRO for $89 really seems to be needed as we do not want to live without maps and as we prefer not to add yet another plugin for maps. The fact that updates are for life and that it offers white labelling besides email alerts and maps does kind of make up for that all.
NB The free theme is not something we mostly care about as we prefer working with Jupiter, but some DIY clients should surely appreciate this.
IMPress impressed us as a real estate plugin. Perhaps not yet as much as Estatik, but a really neat one all the same. It also offers loads of options and seems to be well maintained too.
- automatic map insertion
- search with locations
- huge amount of property display options
- taxonomy control for custom property link / slug display – good SEO
- IMPress IDX for MLS integration (IDX US)
They also have a set of themes.
What is a major bummer with this plugin is that the free template listings seem to be basic and tweaks rather hard and that you need premium listing templates to improve upon that. And their package is $500 on off and $150 a year!
Easy Property Listing
Easy Property Listing is a plugin that works well with Jupiter and Jupiter X as can be seen in this demo. So by just using this plugin you can load properties you have on offer. It is also one of the most popular plugin. This is why initially this was the plugin we were considering for the number one spot. We do however no longer assign this spot to Easy Property Listing.
They did have a security issue in July 2019. They were removed from the WordPress repository due to issues with proper code checkups in their code. They did work really hard to solve the issue however.
Easy Property Listing Showcase inStyle
It offers really a lot of features and the only complaint Kinsta really had is that some features should be part of the free version and not the commercial one. And we do agree as we miss the two following:
- Mapping is an add-on and costs $87 and so that is one of them.
- Templates Listing – $67 – so is another one we really would like to have
- listings by price, date, location.
- Fast customizable listing search.
- Flag listing, new, under contract, sold and customize.
- Listing with price, no price
So in the end there are perhaps still many questions due to the many options out there. But for us the two options are clear. Either you go custom all the way with Sage or you pick Jupiter X with Tantalus or other template and Elementor.
For the listing part of things and other real estate needs you purchase Ekstatik. The most solid real estate plugin we found and one that should suite all your basic real estate needs.