WPBeginner’s Latest List is a “Must See”

Have You Heard?

Our Must See theme has, once again, ranked third on WPBeginner’s Best Real Estate WordPress Themes for Realtors 2017! Each year, this WordPress authority recognizes the themes that best help REALTORS® create powerful websites to showcase their listings.

As one of our top selling themes, we knew Must See was a favorite among real estate agents and brokers… but to be recognized by an industry leading blog, that we read every day, is truly remarkable.

Must See, like all seven themes offered for the Equity framework, is mobile responsive, customizable, and optimized for IDX Broker Platinum service.

Did You Know?

You can try all seven by signing up for a TurnKey website free 30-day trial!

Get a New TurnKey 2.0 Website for Real Estate

TurnKey

Busy real estate agents have no time to build a website or babysit that site once it is up and running. Get your site working for you 24/7/365 while you spend your valuable time doing what you do best…selling real estate. Agent Evolution knows what you need to run a real estate business without all the unnecessary technical battles. With that in mind, we’ve created the next stage in real estate website packages – TurnKey 2.0.

turnkeylogo

Sign up now for a new TurnKey website and see the following benefits:

A simplified dashboard

WordPress is great. It powers a large part of the Internet for everything from financial websites to summer camps. One reason that we’ve chosen to build on WordPress is because of the inherit open nature of the framework. But when it comes to bringing your real estate website to the light of day, you don’t need to see all the options that a designer might need for a waffle house or pet salon. We simplified your workflow by taking the WordPress dashboard and redesigning it for real estate needs. Everything you need to manage your site on a day to day basis is front and center when you sign in. Log in and immediately get to work without all the clutter.

Easy drag and drop page creation

drag n dropMake your site unique without hours of work or hiring a full time designer. With the new TK designer, build pages with drag and drop simplicity. Add widgets or forms placed exactly as you’d like without guesswork or confusion.

Managed hosting with hands off updates

Having a site with outdated plugins and themes is not only a hassle, but it can be dangerous. Security updates not applied can cripple a website. Now you don’t have to worry about which plugins to update and whether or not these will work with your existing site features. Agent Evolution will take care of the hosting and regular updates necessary to keep your site current, up-to-date, and safe.

Powered by IDX Broker

When it comes right down to it, a beautiful website does little good if it doesn’t bring results. Show your potential buyers the information that they need to make an informed decision and choose the perfect property. IDX Broker takes care of updating this information on a regular basis so that you don’t have to constantly add new properties to your site manually.

 

Take your business to the next stage now at AgentEvolution.com.

4 Pitfalls to Avoid When Purchasing a Real Estate Theme

Picking out a theme to represent your business online is a difficult task. You need something that fits your unique style and is easy for visitors to find what they seek. Before you spend hours and possibly a lot of money on your website, prepare yourself. Here are some pitfalls to avoid when purchasing a real estate theme.

1) Incompatible Features

Real estate themes are sometimes built to work with a specific IDX service. You may fall in love with how the search works or how properties are displayed; however, it can be very disappointing to find out that your ideal layout will only work with a different IDX service. IDX, or Internet Data eXchange, is a generic term for real estate content shared over the Internet. Be very careful when choosing a theme to ensure that it is compatible for your specific IDX, lest all the features you paid for become worthless.

2) Upgrade Difficulties

Technology moves quickly. Software quickly becomes outdated or security leaks are found. You should expect the theme that you purchased to keep up. Make sure that you purchase a theme which allows for updates and is from a company that is stable enough to support those updates. You don’t want to invest in a theme only to have it fail you in a couple of months with no easy path to upgrade.

Besides updating the theme that you built, what happens when you want to change the look of your site? Nobody wants a stale site. Many themes have theme specific features that tie you into that theme. Changing themes can be both expensive and time consuming. You don’t want to have to rebuild your entire site any time you want to freshen up your website.

3) Avoid Bloat

When you buy a good theme that is built for real estate, it should not be bloated with features that you don’t need. Purchase only what you need to sell real estate and not slow down your site with frivolous features for a pet shop or online dating. The more plugins and unnecessary features that are installed, the slower your site will become. Be sure to get a theme which has the features that you require, but is still thin enough to run efficiently.

4) Low Standards

Even though something looks pretty on the demo, it doesn’t mean that this will perform well in the real world. Some discount themes ignore basic tenants of web development and are likely to fail. The theme may be set up in the demo with specific tweaks to work, but later may fail with additional plugins or configurations once installed on your site. Almost anyone can put together a theme that works in a specific environment, but make sure that the developer of the theme is highly rated and has experience to create a theme that will stand on it’s own in the real world.

Conclusion: Purchasing a Real Estate Theme

There are great real estate themes available; however, you need to know what to look for. Agent Evolution has created their own framework that is real estate specific. We don’t provide themes for restaurants or fitness clubs. Our specificity prevents bloat and allows us to focus on doing one thing and doing it correctly. Take a look at our demos and give our sales team a call now to get started on a real estate site that simply works.

Agent Evolution Best Real Estate Themes of 2016

Best Real Estate Themes of 2016

What’s better than creating some of the best real estate themes for WordPress?

Getting recognized for it!

Elegant Themes, an authority in WordPress themes, has announced the best real estate themes of 2016. Agent Evolution is proud to announce that Elegant Themes has selected our Open Floor Plan theme as one of the best real estate themes for 2016.

When you purchase this theme with the Equity framework, the IDX Broker setup fee is waived. This added value and customization set this theme apart from the pack.

Check out what Elegant Themes has to say and then Get Open Floor Plan now.

Get Fancy with Free Premium Templates for Equity

Ready to get fancy and put on the ritz? Agent Evolution is proud to announce that premium listing templates are now available with each Equity theme purchase. You can dress up your listing pages like never before. The best part is, this is a $60 retail value for free. Looking good never cost so little.

Free Premium Templates

The IMPress Listings plugin works great with your Equity based site. With IMPress Listings you can import listings into your site as WordPress posts. This allows you to feature some of your more high profile properties as though they are single property websites. These new templates let you elevate these listings even further. Put your own style on your individual listings with this added value package.

Equity themes now come with listing templates installed. For existing Equity theme users, you can upgrade your theme to a version that includes the templates by visiting your account page on AgentEvolution.com. To use these themes, just make sure that you have the free IMPress Listings plugin. Templates can be used on as many listings as you like to show off your properties with style.

“Why go through the expense and hassle of creating single property websites when IMPress Listings Templates give the same impression with a fraction of the effort?”

All 5 templates Included

Pick the template that best fits your style and your site. Each template offers a different design to fit the look of any listing. From Classical, to Solid, to Luxurious, you’ll always have the right attire for every occasion.

luxurious600 solid600 classical600 elegant300spacious-template

We hope that these templates will make your real estate site even better. Dress up the listings on your website and then go out for a night on the town while your site works for you 24/7/365.

Equity 1.5: IDX Broker Integration on a Whole New Level

We had an idea that has been cooking for over a year. What if we could import featured listings directly into the WordPress database?

After a lot of work, we got the answer we were looking for.

With today’s release of Equity 1.5, you can now import your featured listings from IDX Broker directly into WordPress.

Expanding on the use of the Equity API

With Equity 1.4, we introduced the Equity API. This special API was created by IDX Broker specifically for websites running the Equity framework.

Our first use of that API was to pull saved searches from IDX Broker into Equity widgets. Now we are pulling in featured listing data.

Import Featured Listings

equityimportWe’ve leveraged the listings management system built into our free WP Listings plugin to import your featured listings into WordPress.

Set-up is simple. All you need is the latest versions of Equity, WP Listings, and the IDX Broker plugin installed. You will also need to have an IDX Broker account.

Once those pieces are in place, you will get an option to “Import IDX Listings”. All of your IDX accounts featured listings will be displayed. Choose one or many to import. They will become listings within WP Listings.

The best part is that those listings can then be edited. Want to replace a low resolution photo with a better quality image? Easy. Want to add more photos? Sure. Add a map or video not available from your MLS. No Problem.

Since these listings are imported into the WP Listings plugin, you can use them with our premium listing templates. This means your listing pages can look like single property websites.

Watch our video tutorial to learn more.

equitylistings

Equity Widget Shortcodes

One of the most requested features has been the ability to use the Equity widgets outside of widget areas. Since those IDX widgets are native to WordPress, they really look great on the site. Customers have been wanting to add these widgets to community pages and in blog posts.

Equity 1.5 introduces new widget shortcodes to make adding Equity widgets throughout your site a possibility. Documentation on how to add the shortcodes is available in this Learning Center tutorial.

Equity Gets a Major Update For Its Birthday

birthdaycakeHow time flies. Hard to believe that it has already been a year since we first launched the Equity framework. In that time, Equity saw over a dozen updates for new features and performance. Six child themes were also released for Equity over those 12 months.

Equity really had a fabulous first year.

Since its initial release, we have had a goal of providing special IDX functionality exclusively through the Equity framework. This was a lofty goal, but an attainable one as a division of IDX Broker.

Working closely with the IDX Broker development team, the Equity API was created. This new API connects the IDX system to the Equity framework, providing data not available through the public IDX API.

Powered By The “Equity API”

With the recent release of Equity version 1.4, the first taste of that exclusive IDX data only available with the Equity framework is available.

One of the most requested features we’ve heard from our customers is the ability to pull saved searches into the Equity property widgets – allowing for full control over the display of the widgets and being fully indexable by search engines.

Now as of Equity version 1.4, you can bring properties from any saved link created in your IDX Dashboard directly into your theme with the Equity IDX Carousel or Showcase widget. This incredible new feature will allow you to show properties from any saved search.

  • Want to show properties between 250k and 500k in a specific neighborhood? Done.
  • Listings with 4+ bedrooms and on the market for less than 5 days? Done
  • Condos with an ocean view? Done.

savedsearches

Show these properties in any widget area in your theme – from the home page, the sidebar or the footer.

Version 1.4 is available as a free download for all current Equity subscribers. Simply log into your WordPress admin panel and follow the upgrade instructions.

Curb Appeal is Back and Better than Ever

Retiring Curb Appeal Evolved was a tough decision. It was our most popular theme that was still selling well when we took it off the market. Once we had the vision of what could be done with the design on the Equity framework, retiring Curb Appeal Evolved was necessary.

After months of hard work, Curb Appeal is back. This time as an Equity child theme.

Features From Curb Appeal Evolved

The design of Curb Appeal Evolved was a winner, so we didn’t want to fix what wasn’t broken. Elements brought over from the old theme include:

  • Quick search widget to lead the homepage
  • 4 call-to-action buttons high up on the homepage that utilize Font Awesome icons
  • Featured property carousel to showcase your listings

New Features Added

Curb Appeal Evolved was a great theme, but it wasn’t without room for improvements. Here are some of what is new in Curb Appeal for Equity:

  • Light or dark color scheme – choose a white or black base color and then add your own color scheme from there
  • Extra wide layout – 1400 pixels wide to better accommodate high resolution screens, while still offering a mobile optimized environment
  • Homepage background image – a slideshow behind the quick search proved distracting so we replaced it with a single background image
  • IDX Broker map widget optimization – add a full width listing map to the homepage

Plus Equity Features

Curb Appeal is now an Equity theme with all of the benefits of that framework. That means that the new Curb Appeal also has:

  • IDX Broker optimization
  • Properticons
  • Shortcodes for buttons, columns, testimonials, icon boxes, and more

With so much going for it, we expect the new Curb Appeal to surpass the popularity of it’s predecessor.

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Photos do so much for a website. They are the first thing a visitor takes in. Photos help them identify if the website is what they are looking for and if they want to stay on it.

Pictures also add life and character to a website. They set the tone and feeling even more than the written content.

Considering how important photos are for a real estate website, you would expect a lot of time and care put into selecting the right pictures. Unfortunately, such is not the case. Many sites feature poor quality photos of listings or tired, overused stock images. What results is a website that provides an underwhelming first impression.

Let’s take a lot at what you can do to step up your real estate website photos.

Subject Matter

Real estate agents sell more than a home. They sell lifestyle. Your website photos should express that.

Think outside the box and come up with images that represent your area. It could be landscape, landmarks, or even objects. Think of what makes your town special and capture that.

Ideas:

  • Minor league baseball game
  • Outdoor dining at a downtown restaurant
  • Runners on a local trail
  • Farmer’s market or fruit stand

Authentic, local photographs will reinforce the idea that you are the local expert and the real estate agent they should hire.

Editing

Proper editing can make a big difference in the finished product. Thankfully, you no longer need to invest hundreds on expensive software and months in community college courses to learn photo editing. It can now be done by the average business owner with little investment of time and money.

Tools

Photo editing tools have become much more accessible in the past few years. In fact, you probably have multiple tools in your pocket in the way of iPhone apps. You may find a smartphone screen a bit small for editing, but there are great options for iPads and computers.

iPad Apps

With a 10″ screen and powerful apps for a few bucks, an iPad is a great option for editing your website photos.

Apps to check out include:

Computer

For the most power and flexibility, turn to Adobe’s Creative Cloud Photography. This $9.99/mo. subscription gives you Lightroom and Photoshop. While Photoshop may be a bit intense for the average user, Lightroom is much easy to learn. Lightroom not only offers photo editing, but it also organizes your images to make them easier to find.

Learning

Learning basic photography and photo editing concepts can pay huge dividends. It will help you get better results with less effort.

Check out Lynda.com for video courses on taking better pictures and working with editing software like Lightroom. Lynda is a paid subscription, but is worth the cost.

Tips

Size

Image size can mean 2 different things. It could be the dimensions of the image or the weight in megabytes. These 2 are related as the larger the image dimensions, the larger the file size.

Be sure to shrink image dimensions down to fit the space on your website. We provide optimal dimensions for many image areas for each theme. Use your image editing software to shrink the image dimensions and then use a “Save for Web” option to decrease the file size.

If you are unsure of the image size needed, MeasureIt! is a free Chrome extension that lets you measure areas of your screen.

Remember, large files take longer to download which means slow loading web pages. Keep files small for the best user experience and search engine placement.

Crop

Once you know the final dimensions of your image, you can crop it to create the most interesting possible. Cropping to the exact dimensions for the space will provide the best results as WordPress will crop wrong proportioned images.

Orientation

This is an obvious one, but needs to be said. If the space on your website is landscape orientation (wider than tall), placing a portrait orientation (taller than wide) photo will most likely lead to poor results. Creative cropping may be possible but not always.

Filter

Anyone with an Instagram account is familiar with filters. They give your photos personality.

Use filters to make your photos more vibrant, turning them into black and white and add interesting tones.

Examples

To provide a bit of inspiration, here are 6 examples of a website with very different photos. They all are using our Must See theme with the same widget configuration. We have just changed the homepage photos and color scheme. All of which can be done from the admin panel with no coding.

Notice how different each site looks and feels with these simple variations.

Bonus: Color Schemes

You may already have a color scheme that you use in your logo and marketing pieces. If you don’t, it can be difficult to choose a color scheme for your website. While all of our themes come with several preset color schemes, you can also pick your own colors giving you unlimited options.

For the example sites, we used a free website called Pictaculous.com to choose each color scheme. Pictaculous.com allows you to upload a photo and it pulls a color palette from that image. Simply add those colors to your Agent Evolution theme and you will have perfectly matched site photos and colors.

Homepage That Looks Like A Tablet?

Mobile optimization couldn’t be a hotter topic for web design than it is right now. Real estate websites have seen mobile traffic grow in the past several years to the point that it now accounts for a majority of site traffic.

Last month’s Google announcement added fuel to the fire. Now, sites that aren’t mobile optimized will lose placement in search results.

All of this talk about the mobile experience got us thinking. Could a homepage be made to look and act more like a mobile device? Luckily, we already had a theme that could do this.

Picture Perfect As An iPad

The Picture Perfect theme already has an icon-based navigation menu on the homepage. The theme demo shows 4 icons, but did you know that you can add more? Simply add more menu items in the WordPress admin and the additional icons will go to a second row. With 4 icons across, you can easily offer 4, 8, 12, or even 16 navigational icons on the homepage. Include a good looking background photo with 12 icons and you get a homepage that looks like the home screen of an iPad.

Since Picture Perfect is mobile responsive, viewing the homepage on a smaller screen simply decreases the number of icons shown across. This makes for a clean tablet and smartphone environment.

Examples