Realtor Shares Advice About Real Estate Domain Names

Realtor Shares Advice About Real Estate Domain Names

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Publisher’s note: Bill Hauck shared an insightful comment earlier this week about real estate domain names, and I asked him if he would be willing to expound on it in a blog post. Bill was kind enough to write the article below sharing some of his advice.

I’ve been a residential real estate agent for nearly 20 years and a domain name investor/enthusiast for at least the last ten years, maybe longer. During that time, I’ve purchased a number of real estate-related domain names to use for my real estate business, and others for the sole purpose of licensing or reselling. If you’re considering purchasing real estate-related domain names with the goal of licensing or reselling them to an end-user, my thought process as both Realtor and as a domainer may be of some help to you.

As a Realtor, I wanted to acquire geo-specific, real estate-related domains for lead generation. I was able to acquire several on Namejet and purchased (or negotiated trades for) other domains directly from the owners. Here is a list of domains I was willing to purchase over the years, albeit not at very high prices; SiouxFallsLots.com, SiouxFallsLand.com, SiouxFallsListings.com, SiouxFallsTeam.com, SiouxFallsCondos.com, SiouxFallsCondominiums.com, SiouxFallsBuilders.com, SiouxFallsBuilder.com, SiouxFallsSDRealEstate.com, SiouxFallsProperties.com and SiouxFallsHome.com. While I still own most of the above domains, the most desirable domains a Realtor can own, and more importantly may be willing to pay thousands of dollars for, are “City”Homes.com or “City”RealEstate.com. I was fortunate to acquire SiouxFallsHomes.com after many years of staying in touch with the owner and making generous offers for the domain.

In my opinion, “City”Homes.com is a bit shorter and slightly more brandable. However, I like the keywords in “City”RealEstate.com better and the domain can also be used for residential and commercial property. While there may be some money to be made in other real estate-related domain names, my personal preference when investing in geo real estate domains is to focus on “City”Homes.com and “City”RealEstate.com.

Once you have a quality real estate domain (RED) that you want to license or sell is to find an end-user. Years ago, I used to make lists of individual real estate agents and their e-mail addresses. While I had some early success that led to licensing three real estate domains (REDs), the returns weren’t high enough to justify all of the work. More recently, I’ve found that it’s become difficult to find e-mails addresses of individual agents, although I suspect there are services available for such purposes.

Here are some bullet points from my personal experience

  • The best domains for Realtors are “City”Homes.com and “City”RealEstate.com.
  • Don’t buy any domains with the word “Realtor.” It’s a trademarked term, should always be capitalized, and the National Association of Realtors does some policing to make sure non-Realtors aren’t using the term. Even agents have to be careful how they use the term.
  • I’ve only had male real estate agents willing to license or buy domains from me. I don’t know why, it’s just my experience.
  • I’ve had a more difficult time licensing and selling domains of cities that are suburbs vs. the domains of what I call “free-standing” or “stand-alone” cities.
  • I think it helps to set up a simple website (I use WordPress) for each domain pointing out the benefits and a way to contact you. I really like the Domena WordPress Theme. See AugustaHomes.com for an example.
  • It’s A LOT of work to contact individual real estate agents.
  • Don’t assume people in real estate in California are necessarily going to be more tech savvy than agents in Nebraska or Minnesota. I’ve spoken with office managers and brokers in California that thought the idea of spending a couple thousand dollars for the “City”RealEstate.com domain of a city with a population well over 100,000 was crazy. I’ve also found there are some very smart, savvy agents in the Upper Midwest.
  • Focus on contacting the gatekeepers, such as the office managers at real estate firms. You may even be able to convince the head of the Multiple Listing Service in the relevant area to offer the domain in the announcements, which are often times run daily and e-mailed to all the agents.
  • Purchase real estate domains of fast-growing cities with robust real estate markets. Also, you’ll want to focus on cities with expensive housing, not the ones in which the average price of a home is $100,000.
  • Generally speaking, I focus on cities with populations over 100,000 people. However, I recently made an exception and purchased OkobojiRealEstate.com for $160 on Namejet. I liked the domain because I’m familiar with and travel to the area about once per year. While the town is quite small, the home prices for lake property are very high. Given there are fewer than ten real estate firms in the area, it took me less than 30 minutes to contact each of the Brokers and make them aware the domain was available. I had an offer within a day or two for a couple thousand dollars. I didn’t sell and plan to develop the domain.
  • I’ve had more success licensing and selling domains to agents that live in the same part of the US in which I live, the Upper Midwest. I think there’s more of a trust factor when you’re dealing with someone that lives in a similar area.
  • I believe once you receive a lead on one of your domains, it’s best to call and actually speak with the interested party. I think you have a better chance of sealing the deal with someone when you take the time to speak with them.

About the same time, early 2015, that I purchased OkobojiRealEstate.com, I also purchased a “City”Homes.com domain at auction. The population of the city is several hundred thousand people. I had planned to pay as much as $2,000-$3,000 for the domain, but got caught up in the auction and ended up paying $6,400. I have certainly paid far too much for some domains because of auction frenzy. I have to admit having some reservations about spending that much on that “City”Homes.com domain with no guarantee I’d even get my money back. I would also caution people to start off with much smaller purchases until they have enough experience and available cash (I don’t recommend borrowing money to purchase domains) to graduate to larger purchases.

I set up a simple (Domena) site for the “City”Homes.com domain. Instead of contacting every Realtor in the area, I contacted a handful of responsible brokers and/or the office managers at the top real estate firms in the area. This leads to my final tips;

  • Search the internet for “city” homes and “city” real estate in the applicable area. Look for successful real estate agents that have an online presence on Page 1 or 2 of the search engines.
  • Don’t assume that because an agent already has a site that ranks reasonably well that they won’t be interested.
  • Look for agents that are already using a less-desirable, less-brandable version of the domain you’re trying to market.
  • Look for agents that have large teams. It’s not unusually for successful Realtors with teams to develop a second or even third website for lead generation. The bigger the team, the more mouths to feed.
  • When e-mailing real estate agents or office managers, keep it short and sweet, no more than a sentence or two. Direct them to the website/sales page that you’ve set up for the domain with more information and the “pitch.”

After using the tips above, I had a number of e-mails and phone calls from agents in response to the limited marketing that I did for the “City”Homes.com domain for which I had paid $6,400. The best leads I received came from male agents with small real estate teams that they wanted to grow, or from agents that already had a large team and wanted to develop a second lead-generating website to help support the team. Fortunately, I had a couple of agents make offers on the domain at the same time and it sold shortly thereafter for $15,000. It was a win-win transaction and I have no doubt that the buyer will get an excellent return on his investment.

If you currently own quality real estate-related domains, or are considering purchasing a few, I hope these tips will prove helpful.

Note: The views and opinions expressed in articles that are not written by Elliot Silver may not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher. Contributing writers are not endorsed by Elliot Silver or Top Notch Domains, LLC.


About The Contributor: Bill Hauck is a licensed real estate agent with Hegg Realtors in Sioux Falls, SD and has sold roughly $100 million worth of real estate. He is also a domain name investor/developer. In addition to his primary real estate domain, SiouxFallsHomes.com, and other real estate-related domains, he owns Brookings.com, Dodgeballs.com, TreeStands.com, and Volleyballs.com.

Connect with Bill: Website | Email | LinkedIn

Comments (17)

    Suhail

    Thank you Bill for sharing your experience. It’s an excellent post with lots of learning. I am just starting in RED. Would like to hear your thoughts on below questions:

    How often you think that the office managers will direct the email to the decision makers? and what motivates them to do that?

    I was thinking of creating a complete/working lead-page website using wordpress. Then approaching the end-users. In you experience do you think this will work better than the sales page approach?

    And a big thanks to Elliot for bringing Bill in.

    March 27th, 2015 at 12:10 pm

      Bill

      Hi Suhail,

      If you keep your e-mail to the office manager or responsible broker short and to the point and you have a quality domain name,there’s a decent chance they’ll share it with the agents. Office managers and responsible brokers want to help the agents and often have friendships with many of the agents with which they work.

      If your domain is low quality and your e-mail comes off as cheesy or is too long, I wouldn’t expect results. If you are able to create a content-rich website with real estate information that produces solid leads, I suspect you’ll be able to find agents that will be interesting in working with you.

      Good luck!

      Bill

      In reply to Suhail | March 27th, 2015 at 1:45 pm

    @Domains

    Does having a ‘City’Homes.com or ‘City’RealEstate.com domain result in more leads and sales for realtors, from your experience? Do home buyers and sellers ever comment on these types of domains, that they are easy to remember and promote more trust, stand out in advertising, etc?

    I usually find most realtors don’t ‘get’ that these types of domains can increase their business. If a domain like those above can generate one, two or more extra sales per year, isn’t that thousands of $$$ in extra commissions?

    March 27th, 2015 at 2:30 pm

      Bill

      If an agent owns and uses a “City”Homes.com or “City”RealEstate.com domain, I think it helps primarily with public perception and branding. I’ve found that there are usually a few daily type-in visitors to good real estate domains, so it’s possible that it could lead to sales. Ideally, agents will combine a quality domain with a properly-structured/optimized website for maximum benefit.

      I agree that many agents don’t look at things in terms of ROI. For me, if I make a one time spend of $5,000-$10,000 and get a $10,000-$20,000/year return from it, that’s a no-brainer. If you’re marketing to agents, helping them understand it’s all about ROI is a big key. With the recent sale of the domain I mentioned in the article, I was pleasantly surprised at the number of agents in an Upper Midwestern city DID “get it.” However, that’s not always the case.

      In reply to @Domains | March 27th, 2015 at 2:46 pm

    rob sequin

    Bill,

    Great article.

    What do you think about city Realty.com domains?

    March 27th, 2015 at 3:21 pm

      Bill

      I’m not a big fan of realty.com domains. Personally, I’d be more inclined to use a brandable domain (AskRealEstate.com, SolveRealEstate.com, ClickRealEstate.com, HomeLooker.com, or HomeFetch.com) before a “City”Realty.com. However, there may be agents out there that feel differently.

      In reply to rob sequin | March 27th, 2015 at 3:58 pm

    Mark Arford

    Good article. I’m in process of getting my Realtors license and WISH! I could get my hands on the city homes.com in my area. A hard core squatter has it so I will have to get a few deals under my belt and then make a better offer. I’ve tracked sales lately and this prices are up there. Examples:
    AustinHomes.com $40,000
    FortWorthHomes.com $34,100
    SiestaKeyHomes.com $10,000
    SarasotaHomes.com $15,000

    Back ordered this one and several others in this format on NameJet just in case these guys kick the bucket :)

    March 27th, 2015 at 5:05 pm

    wrobel

    That’s very practical good review. I’m wondering how you’d classify the importance of keywords: real estate, property, estate, properties, estates? Just this sequence is suggested by Google Keyword Planner tool. I think that combinations like ‘city’+ the keyword from above group are also great domain names. But being non-native English speaker, I must admit I don’t feel the difference well enough. Thanks in advance for comments to that.

    March 27th, 2015 at 5:11 pm

    Eric G

    What are your thoughts regarding the new extensions .property and .properties?

    March 27th, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    Paul

    Thank you for the insights Bill.

    Do you have any tips regarding parking or basic development of unused real estate domains please? Maybe there is a leadgen affiliate program, or is Adsense the best available option? Generic parking is giving an EPC of only $0.45 this month on my small amount of US ‘home’ traffic.

    TIA.

    – Paul

    March 27th, 2015 at 6:41 pm

    Jennifer

    This was an amazing read. Your detailed insight is very much appreciated and is sure to shave off a steep and expensive learning curve.

    March 27th, 2015 at 8:02 pm

    John

    Bill-great article and thanks to Elliot for bring it to us.As a rule (re spamming) I wouldn’t mention an exact name we own but I think in this case it matters because I see you own a “Listings” name. We own JacksonHoleListings.com and BeijingListings.com among others. We haven’t started to market them yet but will soon-my question is do you find “Listings.com” as a RE broker to be effective if done properly. Thank you.

    March 28th, 2015 at 12:03 am

    steve

    Bill, what do think about “city”.com to use for real estate purpose? Example: Elliot owns Lowell.com, are LowellHomes.com or LowellRealEstate.com better domains to use for real estate than Lowell.com?

    March 28th, 2015 at 12:10 am

    Hugh

    Elliot,

    Love the topic of this article and sample site provided. Very good for the industry to delve into the realistic marketing of a name. Well done. Elliot, maybe legal, medical, products etc. could be next on list of marketing on these lines. Probably one of the most helpful articles produced for the domain industry I have seen with real application.

    Bravo…

    Hugh

    March 28th, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    Bruce Breger

    Bill

    I was a Realtor in the early 2000’s. That old saying that 3% of the Realtors make 97% of the sales is right on. I find the same in now working with Realtors with domains. There are the 3% of the Realtors who will understand the value of a great Real Estate domain name.

    March 30th, 2015 at 8:59 am

    BullS

    I have these:

    GATEWOODHOMES.COM
    DICKHOME.COM

    April 1st, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    Brandi

    I am looking to sell some real estate domains that would be more interesting to real estate investors than agents or brokers. Do you know which online auction house is “best” for RE domains?

    July 11th, 2015 at 12:21 am

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