Philip Mann, Search Engine Optimization and Online Marketing (iDesignYours)

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Alan May
Jameson Sotheby's International Realty - Evanston, IL
A moving experience!

A lot of agents are techno-newbs... they may use technology, but they don't understand how it works.  It's kinda like "they know how to drive the car, but have no idea what's under the hood", and they're okay with that.

So, whether they own it, or not they may still not know how to access the backend (insert your own joke here).

Oct 25, 2019 06:27 AM
Mimi Foster
Falcon Property Company - Colorado Springs, CO
Voted Colorado Springs Best Realtor

There are so many nuances to real estate websites. A good friend in Denver pays $1,200 per month for hers and if she shuts it down she loses everything. There will never come a time that she owns anything on it. Duped? Absolutely not. She knows what she got. Me? I'd be pissed.

I can't imagine giving someone the rights to my intellectual property which is why I have a WP site. But everyone uses their site differently. If it's just IDX you're looking for, then the "rented" sites are fine. If you don't have time to blog, some "rented" sites are fine because they do it for you. Do you just want a web presence? Rent a site. 

I love WP. It's mine. It's a control issue. 

P.S. You're not ever only going to get "valuable" answers. We talk to each other here. We tease each other here. We get to know each other here. Sometimes we answer the question. Fact of life.

Oct 25, 2019 06:02 AM
Lyn Sims
Schaumburg, IL
Real Estate Agent Retired

Tons of websites do this, it's not some freak. If you want 100% control instead of a template site, that's what you get. Sounds like that is what they have.

Go with WP & then the guy won't know how to do anything.

I own & copyright every word on my site but I 'rent' the hosting of it from a company that REMAX decides. I could do anything that I want with my site & actually do.

Oct 25, 2019 05:34 AM
Carla Freund
Keller Williams Preferred Realty - Raleigh, NC
Carolina Life RealEstate & Relocation 919-602-8489

I feel like I've had them all. My first company let us have a website for $100 year. You could do a little in the back end but, it was cheap and they controlled it. My current company gives us a couple websites (no cost) and you can go into the back end and design it but, just like most, they're box websites. It serves its purpose. I spent a lot of money to have one built that would always be mine no matter what. They wanted to change me thousands to update it every year. I own the code but, I don't write in code. I ended up with a company that owns the site and yes I pay monthly but, they add content every month, they work with me on what I want, and they do adwords. It is my favorite overall. I don't have the time or patience to keep up a website. It takes away from my business. That's my 2 cents. You can check it out if you want:

Oct 25, 2019 04:30 AM
Candice A. Donofrio
Next Wave RE Investments LLC Bullhead City AZ Commercial RE Broker - Fort Mohave, AZ
928-201-4BHC (4242) call/text

Oh Lordy . . . you should own the website from the get, but sadly, many do not, and the story you cite is a familiar one.

My P2A site, I can and do modify it all the time and can get into the dashboard but should I stop paying, I'd have to migrate it to another site to retain anything.

My WP blogsite is MINE and I have full access. My web guy bails, I would move it to another host and this is like the 4th web guy so I have.

Prior, I had sites from companies who owned my soul and charged me for it. It is the price paid for convenience.

For some, it's worth it!

I own 3 dozen domain names. I am the registrant. THAT'S critical.

Oct 25, 2019 06:27 AM
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
Red Rock Real Estate Brokered by Real - St. George, UT
So Utah Residential, Referral & Relocation REALTOR

In my experience, you may own the site domain but not the website, for instance GoDaddy, WebsiteBox, Google web sites...

Oct 25, 2019 06:20 AM
Annette Lawrence , Palm Harbor, FL 727-420-4041
ReMax Realtec Group - Palm Harbor, FL
Making FLORIDA Real Estate EZ

MOST real estate agent websites are rentals.

Many agents have created proprietary websites for lead generation, which is different than real estate.

Some agents have staff or personal skill and time to stay current and can create and maintain their own real estate website.

The reality is, every 5 years the technology changes. The agents decision is whether to lose their investment or simply change to a vendor who has  the new stuff. That is at LEAST $5,000 in planned obsolescence every 5 years.

Oct 25, 2019 04:47 AM
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, EXP - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Depends on the agreement that the agent has with their site creator/host.

Oct 24, 2019 09:29 PM
Dario Ferreira
Attleboro, MA
Internet Marketing

They own the non-idx content of the website and , hopefully, the domain name.

They can always get the content and put it in another platform.

They do not own the template and the code that makes everything work.

Oct 25, 2019 07:01 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

I have a website with a third party and pay for by the month... I am not feeling duped. If I have improvements I need done they do them for me.

Oct 25, 2019 04:24 AM
Greg Cremia
Shore Realty of the Outer Banks - Nags Head, NC

Yes, most websites are rented. If you shop around you can find some small companies who will do it for a fee and let you own it but they are expensive because they have more work to do. If you have backend skilld try wordpress.

Oct 25, 2019 04:06 AM
Caroline Gerardo
Sun West Mortgage Corporation - Newport Beach, CA
C. G. Barbeau the Loan Lady nmls 324982

If you stop paying, they can take it down and sell the URL to the next guy

Better question- agents seem to only use the website of the brand they work under, why don't they put up their own website that they can own as long as they are in business paying along side the brand one

Oct 25, 2019 11:30 AM
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Retired - Franklin, MA
Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team

I actually own two wordpress sites...setup by someone years ago on AR.... at that time, I paid $800 for each.... 

I used Blue Host to host the sites.... I no longer use them, but I could have them redesigned and pay for hosting.... and then use them...I paid once....they're mine....

the companies that charge monthly often add canned posts.... they could fold their business and then you're out of business with your website!!

Oct 25, 2019 08:45 AM
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
Probate Real Estate

I've always owned my own sites. A cookie-cutter site was never an option for me. I do not believe those sites are owned by the person paying a monthly or yearly fee to use it.  When they are done paying they cannot take it with them. I do not know if people are duped - some people just don't want to build and manage their own sites.

Oct 25, 2019 08:34 AM
Dan Pittsenbarger
Keller Williams Western Realty - Bellingham, WA
Improving Conditions

Most likely they have access to their back office but have never gone their and don't know how to get there. I have a template site from a RE website provider. Mostly because paying $60/mo fit my budget better than paying 1,000's to have a custom site made for me and I'm not going to make the time to do it myself. I don't know of any that don't have a back office but that doesn't mean there aren't  some out there that don't allow agent access to the back end.

Oct 25, 2019 07:16 AM
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

These companies come and disappear. You need to own the domain, source code and get them to teach you making some changes. After setting it up change the password.


Oct 25, 2019 07:13 AM
Doug Dawes
Keller Williams Realty Evolution - Topsfield, MA - Georgetown, MA
Your Personal Realtor®

I don't know that answer. I own my domain name.

Oct 25, 2019 06:37 AM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


All our clients own their websites, they are hosted by our web developer's servers.  They pay a monthly fee for hosting and tech support. His response time is fast.  Our clients can move any time they want.  A

Oct 25, 2019 06:34 AM
Greg Large
ERA Real Solutions - Grove City, OH
A Tradition of Trust

The ownership of a site is in the domain name, depends on the agreement with each vendor. As long as you own the domain name, [IMHO you should ALWAYS own the domain name you use] one can do whatever they want to provide content, either do it themselves or hire it out. In short the OWNER of the domain name can do whatever they want with it.

Oct 25, 2019 05:36 AM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

I had a site and when I quit paying it went away. It was pay for play!

Oct 25, 2019 04:39 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

I only know about the ones my clients have used. For them the answer is no. They may not all be the same, however.

Oct 24, 2019 09:44 PM
Denise Copeland
Home Sales Palm Beach - Jupiter, FL
Jupiter Abacoa Sales & Beach Front Luxury Homes

Unfortunately No. You are in essence leasing the technology. On top of that, you must constantly update the blogs, communities and other information on the site to keep it in decent standings with google SEO.

Oct 29, 2019 01:43 PM
Jeff Pearl
RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA - Lovettsville, VA
Full Service Full Time Realtor

If you're paying a monthly fee, you're just renting or subscribing to the site. Some of those companies are ok for getting started, and even for ongoing use. I still use a site from gohomenetworks, and have used others, but I will never own them. As you probably know, If you want to own a site, that's a whole nother ballgame dealing with all that's involved in setting it up and maintaining it. You can pay someone to maintain a site you own, but many web developers and designers don't want to do the maintenance. To own, most people start with, then you need a domain name, hosting, and have to know what themes and plugins to use or avoid, you do your own security, back ups, maintenance, etc. Pay for whatever photos you want to use on the site, do your own seo ( sometimes), deal with constant changes and updates with everything associated with your website. It can be a lot more than what many agents want to or have time to deal with, so paying a monthly fee to one of those sites is the best way to get started.

Oct 27, 2019 05:52 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

I have a template site I have customized but I do not own it. They go out of business and it's gone. But I also have my own hosted WP blog with IDX - other than paying for the IDX, it's all mine. As far as agents being duped, I suspect many just don't understand the difference with template sites versus one built for them, and the ownership differences...and maybe don't care.

Oct 25, 2019 02:14 PM
Tammy Emineth
Personal SEO - Website SEO and Real Estate Marketing - Marysville, WA
Content Marketer, SEO Teacher, Website Fixer

There are a lot of website companies out there which is why we've always promoted ownership.. ownership of blogs, site, domain etc.. YOU own everything and no one can take it away from you. We have helped people migrate content to Sierra, Real Geeks, REW, etc.. but with Wordpress it's usually yours, as long as you don't go through a third party that keeps everything. You should always be paying for hosting and your domain if it's yours truly, IDX if you offer property search and then SEO ... but other than that, owning a website really costs next to nothing.  UNLESS you go with one of the big names.

Oct 25, 2019 10:21 AM
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Be nice to own it after all the money we pay in monthly


Oct 25, 2019 09:54 AM
Eve Alexander
Buyers Broker of Florida - Tampa, FL
Exclusively Representing ONLY Tampa Home Buyers

Make sure that you get IN WRITING that you own the website 100% and not the developer...before you pay anyone.



Oct 25, 2019 09:50 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

My data I have put on my site is mine, and definitely am able to get into the backend.

Oct 31, 2019 04:02 PM
Realtyna Inc
Realtyna - Newark, DE
Realtyna- MLS RETS Integration software & services

I think most on the market are "rented"... at the very least, the IDX is. 

At the risk of sounding biased, Realtyna is the only service (that I know of) that has an owned license model (and one-time fees).. even for the IDX. 

Oct 29, 2019 07:21 AM
Ryan Huggins - Thousand Oaks, CA - Thousand Oaks, CA
Residential Real Estate and Investment Properties

Some of the ones I looked at were rentals, as you so aptly saw.  That's why I went with a "build your own" model.

Oct 25, 2019 01:47 PM