A brief history of agent websites

In 1999, when real estate agent websites were beginning to appear online, the early adopters of the technology entered listings manually. To do this, one needed to understand HTML, FTP, and the ins-and-outs of managing a hosting account. This was completely foreign to the average person at that time. Programming was very expensive and prone to breakage; subsequently, only a few agents had websites that enabled their admin or themselves to enter listing information into a form and have it appear on a website.

A need was identified for an easy-to-use real estate website and several companies entered the market. Agents could then choose from very basic website designs that included an admin area where even a beginner could enter listing information and photos and see them appear on the agent website. Companies like MyRealPage, Ubertor, and Point2Agent signed up thousands of real estate agents in Canada and the US (all three are Canadian companies).

Starting around 2010 . . .

It wasn’t long before agents began to complain that they were “locked in” to the systems provided by template companies and could not move their sites or do custom work. The trade-off when using a template site was reliability and simplicity but the demand for products that allowed agents to be different was a major driver of change.

One option that agents seem to have embraced is WordPress, which powers about 20% of the Internet and is used by major websites around the world. Wordpres is nice because it offers so many plug-ins to extend functions. If you’re a rental manager, you can add a rental listings function with a few clicks. The same for vacation rentals: no longer is programming a barrier to extending the reach of your business; with so many free and paid plug-ins it’s possible to do anything in WordPress that you can imagine.

The trend is toward DIY

As website technology becomes less difficult to use and users become more expert the free or DIY agent sites become more popular. Agents are a little more brave knowing that sites are simple to use and there is now much more free support online. Many of the websites in this list are free although some have a monthly fee. Maybe there is something here that appeals to your sense of style or ambitions. Agent iFrame® works with all template sites in this list and you’re welcome to call or email our office if you have some questions about how to proceed.