One of the sessions I moderated (along with Garron Selliken) at yesterday’s RE BarCamp was titled “wordpress and real estate”. Both Garron and I are wordpress fanatics – though I’ll admit he’s a bit deeper in the weeds than I am. Garron is the principal broker for mRealty in Portland and also owns a wordpress development company called HomeQuest. Along with writing on 5 wordpress blogs (personal blog, myKRO, CoRE, Zillow Blog, and GEB), I have set up numerous wp blogs, tweaked themes & CSS, and worked with plugins over the past few years. We spent most of the hour doing Q&A with the roughly 40 people who attended the discussion. Questions ranged from “What’s the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org?” to “Who can help me get everything set up?”. It seems most people in the audience were either already on WordPress and looking to take their site to the next level or looking to migrate over from a different platform. Though of course WordPress is known as a blogging platform, I (and Garron) genuinely believe WordPress can serve as a complete website solution for an agent or broker. It doesn’t have to be just your blogging platform, it can be your WHOLE website. There’s nothing that is accomplished with a stand alone agent/broker website — IDX search, local market data, a bio, school information, etc. — that cannot be accomplished using WordPress. I have nothing against the technology vendors that build real estate sites for agents and brokers — many of them have great platforms at affordable prices. In fact, many of them will set up a wordpress blog for you to go along with an agent/broker website — but a complete custom/semi-custom WordPress site is certainly another option for you to consider, particularly if you are committed to blogging as your primary long term customer acquisition strategy.
For those interested, here are three companies that you can consider talking to if you know you want a custom/semi-custom site built on wordpress, but don’t know where to turn:
1. Virtual Results – I’ve known Jim Marks for a few years now and have been very impressed with all the sites he’s built for his clients. [Update 2/25/2012: I ran marketing for Virtual Results from Nov 2010-Dec 2011]
2. Homequest – I first heard about Garron (and Home Quest) from my boss David Gibbons, who has been raving about the technology since he saw a demo while at RE BarCamp Portland a few months ago. I’ve since spoken with Garron several times in person and he is certainly on the cutting edge in terms of developing wordpress solutions in the real estate industry.
3. ListingPress – [Update 1/30/2011: I haven’t seen ListingPress implemented anywhere yet, so not recommending them]
Though they don’t specialize in real estate websites, you might also consider taking a look at WebDesign.com — a custom wordpress development shop run by Cory Miller, who coded the theme for Geek Estate Blog back in July of 2007 (though we’ve since redesigned the site).
Anyone know any other real estate technology providers that SPECIALIZE in wordpress-based sites? If so, please leave them in the comments.