Brokers who use the .realtor domain say it instantly communicates their real estate expertise, making them more searchable online. Here’s how two pros are building brand identity and capturing referrals.
Two years after launching her own brokerage, Kama Burton is looking to reinvest in herself.
During her inaugural year at the helm of CMB Realty Services in Moreno Valley, Calif., Burton was squarely focused on setting up her eleven-agent team with the tools and resources their business needed. But now that her company has found its footing, Burton, a selling broker, is refocusing on herself and “learning how to reach out for help,” she says. “The biggest challenge I have is really building the right systems and having everything in place.”
She began to realize that while she was present and engaging with clients across social media and other digital spaces, there was no central location online that established and promoted her identity as a real estate professional. Burton also is a national real estate speaker and trainer, so she needed a place where businesses looking for her services could easily identify her expertise. “I always hear people say, ‘Oh, I Googled you,’” Burton says. “When people see me online, I want them to know I’m a real estate expert.”
So, when she learned that she could get a free .realtor website—a domain the National Association of REALTORS® offers members to help market their real estate business—it sounded like the right solution for Burton. Not only does a .realtor web address raise brand visibility and improve searchability online, but it also indicates a higher level of professionalism. After all, REALTORS® commit to a Code of Ethics that puts the client’s interests first, have access to more reliable housing data via MLSs and uphold fair housing principles. Consumers and other real estate pros—an important source of referral business—immediately recognize the REALTOR® name as a trustworthy brand.
A Strong First Impression
Burton was looking for an alternative to her corporate website, which is prefixed mainly for home searches and transactions only and doesn’t showcase her individuality as a broker. She was drawn to the ability to personalize her .realtor website. “It’s important for people to see me as a whole person,” she adds.
With access to professional and premium website designs through get.realtor, Burton opted for the premium, which includes a customizable, multi-page layout. “I just wanted something where people would want to stay on the site,” she says. Burton’s website, kamaburton.realtor, is accented with her favorite color and the primary shade of her business logo: purple. The site has 10 pages dedicated to a range of business-specific topics, including county information, featured properties and a home valuation tool.
For an inside glimpse into who she is as a professional, Burton’s site also features a dedicated testimonials page and a curated real estate blog with expert tips and real estate insights. Each page links to Burton’s Instagram account(link is external), where she posts engaging videos, photos and more homebuying content.
“The website walks you through who I am,” she says. Her site has a home search bar, which Burton considers a way to deepen the relationship after visitors have gotten a taste of her personality. “Visitors can see who I am, and if they trust me enough, they can go ahead and search properties.”
A Referral Generator, Too
But the .realtor address does more than help potential customers find you; it also points you out to other real estate pros looking to refer business to someone in your area. This is the biggest value for Josh Jerman of Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers in Kihei, Hawaii—a market that attracts a wide range of buyers from around the world. Jerman, a 20-year real estate veteran who grew up on the island of Maui, is always looking for opportunities to stand out from competitors. He says traditional marketing tactics and a generic .com address can earn business. But for him, the .realtor domain is a play for more visibility. He’s using his website, joshjerman.realtor, as a tool to market to other brokers and expand his referral network.
Jerman says about 20% of his business comes from referrals, and that’s been going up since launching his .realtor website. Agents from around the country have found him online, some even reaching out to compliment his site and ask for advice. “The real benefit has been from the broker side,” he says. “I’ve been recognized by pros in other markets because of my .realtor site. Those connections lead to referral partnerships.”
Visitors to Jerman’s website, which he’s been using for nearly a year, are greeted by a carousel of colorful photos that highlight the splendor of Maui’s real estate: lush coastlines, glistening pool patios and deck views of the mountainside. Similar to Burton, Jerman’s website displays client testimonials, bio information and a list of his specialties and areas of expertise. The page ends with a photo gallery of more images that capture Maui’s natural beauty and residential perks.
Jerman says another benefit of the .realtor address is quick and easy setup; it took less than two weeks to get the website completely up and running. “I didn’t realize there would be that much receptivity to taking direction from us,” Jerman recalls about working with the vendor through the setup process. “We had all our content and images ready to go, but the customer service and control we had over the product was awesome.”
Jerman says he sees other vendors selling websites and domains for $500 to $1,500 a month. “It has definitely kept me away from spending money on other sites that are more costly,” he notes.
Ultimately, both Jerman and Burton say, it’s the power of the REALTOR® brand that sets their . websites apart. “The appeal of the .realtor website is in the namesake,” says Jerman. “Having a .realtor website is just the smart thing to do.”
Burton plans to continue personalizing her website and spreading the word about both of NAR’s web addresses, .realtor and .realestate. “I’m definitely encouraging all my agents to use their member benefit and access the site,” she says.