Everyone knows that the quickest way to make a website stand out from the crowd is by hosting tons of high quality content. It sounds simple, but producing lots of great content is extraordinarily tough and time consuming! Thankfully, the real estate space is littered with free out-of-the-box tools that savvy agents can use to build more compelling websites.
Here’s just a small taste of some of my favorite free widgets. Disclaimer: Two of them were built by my team. I have to do a little bit of blatant self promotion :).
- Mortgage Loan Place Calculator – This is one of the tools that our team is responsible for. The unique thing about it is the fact that it visualizes mortgage payments in a different way than most calculators. There’s also a slick white label version available that allows you to add a custom logo and colors making site integration a snap.
- MortagageCalculator.org Widget – One of the most popular mortgage calculator sites on the web is MortgageCalculator.org. This popular widget is a plain and simple calculator that works well if you’re looking for something easy to slap into a blog sidebar.
- How Much House Can I Afford? Widget – Prospective homeowners are constantly trying to figure out how much house they can afford. This handy calculator makes it easy to estimate the answer to that question.
- Google Maps – The industry standard mapping product. A lot of the widgets below are based on Google’s product but if you need something custom, Google makes it pretty easy to do your own mashups.
- Walkscore Widget – The concept of a walkscore is fairly new but really relevant today more than ever. Many buyers demand homes that are in close proximity to certain amenities (to be green, to live in the “action,” and for other reasons) and walkscore’s widget is a standardized way to compare different areas.
Real Estate Specific Sites
- Zillow Widgets – Real estate mega-site Zillow has an awesome array of widgets to jazz your site up. My favorites are the Real Estate Stats Chart tool and the My Zillow Linstings widget tool.
- Trulia Map Widget – Zillow’s arch-rival in the online real estate has a nifty white label listings map. If you’re a Trulia user, you can customize it to show just your listings.
Real Estate Research
- AltosResearch Widget – Altos offers a cool, free local real estate index chart. Web savvy shoppers love research tools and Altos is the expert solution in the space.
- RentBits Widget – This might not be the most relevant widget for RE agents but it’s cool nevertheless. It allows users to create a custom rental comparison list that shows average rents for various areas in an MSA.
- Zilpy Widget – Zilpy is another slightly less relevant home-selling widget but still really awesome for general RE related info. It’s similar to the RentBits tool and aggregates average rents for an area.
- Topix Widget – Topix’s real estate widgets is a simple news aggregator that can be used to populate your sidebar with free, relevant info and links to articles.