How Real Estate Websites Make Money

How Real Estate Websites Make Money

What is Digital Real Estate

Digital real estate can be multiple “things”. It can be defined as any digital asset that you own that can be bought or sold. As you can see, this is a very vague description. That’s because digital real estate is so versatile. Just as there are many forms of physical real estate, the same goes for digital real estate.

To purchase digital real estate, I recommend using Namecheap and SiteGround. These platforms are affordable and offer the best rated customer service.

Examples of Digital Real Estate

Examples of Digital Real Estate

Digital real estate can include domain names, websites, blogs, digital products, apps, social media accounts, email lists, intellectual property, and more. Any digital asset that can be bought or sold is likely a piece of digital real estate.

You can think of digital real estate as virtual property. Just like physical property, digital real estate will often increase in value as long as it is maintained correctly. 

Some people might also consider cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum digital real estate because it is a digital currency that can be bought and sold. 

Make Money Blogging with Sponsored Content

Sponsored content is exactly as it sounds. You partner with sponsors who pay you to promote their products or services on your blog.

If you have a product or service you think your readers would find useful, you should reach out to the business and offer to write a post about their product or service for a fee, usually a few hundred dollars. Naturally your post will include a plug for the company, and a thank you to them for sponsoring the post.

Before you think, “I’m not a professional writer; no one’s going to pay me to write a post,” note that this is much more about the visibility it provides the vendor than about your skill as a writer. For that reason, the vendor may want to see statistics on your blog’s views and the number of subscribers before agreeing to pay a few hundred dollars. Be prepared to share your numbers. And note that the larger your audience, the more you can charge.

And if your blog gets big enough, you’ll have companies reaching out, offering to send you ready-to-publish articles and paying you a small fee ($20-$50) to publish them! While I don’t like to crowd my blogs with too many of these, they provide a couple hundred dollars each month.

There are a few things you want to be aware of when using sponsored posts to monetize your blog:

  • Only write sponsored content for products, services, and vendors you actually use, or you would recommend to your family and closest friends.
  • Be honest, even about small downsides! Readers respect reviews that include a negative or two because it indicates that the reviewer isn’t completely biased. Just let your sponsor know what to expect ahead of time.
  • You must legally disclose at the beginning of the post that this is sponsored content, for which you were compensated.
  • Compensation may not always be money. You can negotiate for a free product or service in lieu of cash. My first-ever sponsored post for my first-ever blog was for a custom, at-home teeth whitening system. Instead of cash, I received the $199 system for free so I could try it and write about it.

Real-World Example of Sponsored Content

There is no shortage of potential sponsors in the real estate sector.

Perhaps you recently had a great experience with a roofing company. They may want to sponsor a post all about the Do’s and Don’ts of replacing a roof.

Or maybe you’re planning a move, and you need movers. Reach out to movers you (or someone you trust) has used before, and ask if they would be interested in providing you with a gratis move so you can write a review of their service on your blog.

Just think about all the vendors homeowners use, the services they provide, and how you can pair a vendor with a useful blog topic to serve your audience.  


3. Long-Term Rentals

More traditionally, long-term rentals are a common form of investment for homeowners. A long-term rental is typically 6 months or more – most commonly one year – and typically requires less upkeep on your day-to-day. Low inventory, excessive student loan debt, and the ever-growing millennial cohort create strong indicators for a strong and growing US rental market.

Your tenant signs a lease and is committed to paying monthly throughout the duration of the contract. This means you receive a stable flow of income for a set period of time, without having to worry much about the house unless it requires major repairs that the tenant is not responsible for per the terms of the contract. 


A real estate wholesaler serves as a middleman between motivated home sellers and real estate investors. A wholesaler finds cheap property investment opportunities (if you've ever seen those "we buy ugly houses" signs, those are typically put there by wholesalers). The wholesaler will enter into a contract to buy the property but then find a real estate investor who is willing to pay a bit more, the difference being the wholesaler's profit margin.

Unlike many other forms of real estate investing, wholesaling can be a very time-consuming job, and there are lots of rules and other things to know.

Network With Builders and Lenders

Another way to get referrals is through others in related fields, such as builders and financers. Lots of advice in expert articles recommend that homebuyers secure preapproval before they start looking for homes. That means that lenders encounter many buyers who don’t have agents yet. Getting one in your corner for referrals dramatically increases your opportunities.

The same principle applies to builders and others in the business. They meet many people just starting their home searches, and they often make referrals to agents. Some even keep stacks of business cards in their offices, so try to get your cards to them.

What Is Being a Real Estate Agent Really Like?

While often billed as a “flexible job with unlimited earning potential,” – this may be simplifying how hard agents work to be successful.

You could land listings right away and close deals without much effort. Or you might work for months without any leads or a sale.

Understanding there’s a lot more to being an agent than showing houses and signing contracts is critical.

It’s better to think about selling real estate as a part-time career you plan to do for years rather than a side hustle.

You’ll be investing a lot of time and money upfront to earn real estate income and save money as an agent.

If you enjoy taking care of clients, networking with colleagues, and researching and marketing properties, a part-time real estate career might be an excellent fit for you.

But remember, you’re working on commission, and there won’t be a paycheck without sales.

Also, keep in mind you’re probably going to be working nights and weekends. Be sure this aligns with your other life goals and interests.

Even though youre considering this as a part-time job, you may have to put in a lot more than part-time hours some weeks.

Finally, clients buying and selling houses are often under a lot of stress. You’ll have to be confident, flexible, and empathetic in your work with them.

The best (and most successful) full-time agents or side-hustle real estate professionals have those traits, along with being self-motivated, honest, and dedicated.

Threats to Zillow’s Revenue

Most of Zillow’s advertising relationships are short-term, so it can’t take them for granted. Zillow’s advertising revenue, on which the company’s financial success relies, could suffer if existing advertisers ended their relationship and Zillow was unable to replace them. If Zillow’s user base dwindles or its competitors become more attractive advertisers for mortgage lenders, property management companies, and real estate agents, ad revenue could decline.

Also, as the company relies heavily on ad revenue from its Premier Agent program, revenue could seriously suffer if agents stop seeing value from advertising on Zillow. Finally, a hit to the real estate market or a drop in consumer interest in home buying and mortgages, both of which are beyond Zillow’s control, would likely reduce traffic to the site and lead to a drop in ad revenue.

How to Build a Real Estate Website in 6 Steps

Discover the industry

The Discovery stage is a phase of the product development lifecycle when we learn about the market. In simple words, we dive into the real estate industry, study the competitors, search for their strong and weak sides, and search for the prospective niches we can cover with the product. 

Study your audience

The next step in making a real estate website that people truly need is to search for these needs. That's why we conduct user interviews, surveys and arrange focus groups. It helps us build a product that directly responds to the user's needs, not imaginary ones.

At the end of these 2 stages of real estate website development, we end up with the roadmap that includes:

  • Hypotheses: Delivering a Solution;
  • Problem Statement;
  • Assumptions of solutions; 
  • Lean Canvas – business idea execution; 
  • User interviews;
  • Proto Persona;
  • Prototyping and testing
  • Customer Journey Map (CJM) 

Choose a real estate website type

Once you find the real users’ needs to cover, choosing the website type is much easier. Here’re 6 of the most popular:

  1. Real Estate Marketplaces
  2. Property Listing Website
  3. Property Management Websites
  4. Real Estate Aggregators
  5. Selling and Buying Websites
  6. Renting Websites

They differ by the types of properties, functionality for homebuyers, realtors, home sellers, etc. 

Create design

While making a real estate website design, it's important to pay equal attention to UX&UI parts. Since user experience at real estate websites is personalized for three user roles: 

  • Agents;
  • Homebuyers;
  • Home sellers;

The profiles for different user roles should include other functions and allow you to switch roles on the website. With well-thought UX design, websites became easier to use and navigate. So make sure to hire a good UX designer for your project.

In addition, for better business results, your site design must be mobile-oriented.

Develop the MVP

To build a real estate website that solves a problem, we at Uptech really recommend starting with MVP. It lets you validate the idea cheap and fast, get feedback from real users, and have valid proof that your idea works for stakeholders and investors. 

A good example of starting small and growing into a #1 real estate app is – Yaza. It’s an app that allows real estate professionals to record, map, and share video home and neighborhood tours with buyers. Check it out.

Launch & Test & Improve 

We're coming close to the finish line in real estate website development, and the next step is to introduce your product to the market. That's truly my favorite part because you check how users interact with your product. 

Usually, it's a cycle of interactions: you capture feedback, find possible improvements, communicate the product requirements to the team, implement changes, and test. 

Though it looks huge, you should go through this cycle during the entire product development process. Note feedback collection may go in parallel with development. You shouldn't wait until the implementation.

Investment properties (rental real estate)

The most obvious way to make money in real estate is to buy an investment property (or several). You could buy a home and rent it out to long-term tenants or purchase a multi-unit rental property or small apartment building. You could look into buying a vacation rental or a property you intend to otherwise rent short term. Or you could buy a commercial property (any type of property that is not residential real estate), such as a retail or office building, and lease it to tenants to generate rental income.

Buying an investment property can be a great way to make money in real estate, but it isn't without its drawbacks, and there's quite a bit to learn before you get started.

Premier Services for Real Estate Agents

Zillow offers Premier Agent branding on their website, which includes multiple listing service search, client reviews, past sales, bio, photos, and videos. Real estate agents can also purchase advertising with Zillow. Ads targeted at users in agents’ local markets help them get new clients who are buying or selling homes. The ads also provide agents with increased visibility for their listings to help them find buyers. The Premier Agent program also provides agents with a customer relationship management system that helps them track Zillow users who have expressed interest in working with an agent. Costs for services vary by zip code.

For the year ending Dec. 31, 2020, Premier Agent revenue decreased from $943,947 in 2019, to $788,952 in December 2020, a loss of -16.41% month-over-month.

Real estate agents mainly pay Zillow based on the number of ad impressions delivered to users in specified zip codes. Premier Agent services remain Zillow’s main source of revenue.

Final Thoughts On Digital Real Estate

Digital real estate can be an excellent avenue for both investors and entrepreneurs looking to grow their income streams and make more money. With many options available, there are several ways to get started investing in digital real estate.

Between building a website, purchasing a domain name, or creating digital products, digital real estate allows anyone the opportunity to make money online.

We’re still in the very beginning of the digital world. This emerging digital market of internet property can be extremely lucrative.

So what are you waiting for? Start digital real estate investing today!

Forrest is a personal finance, entrepreneurship, and investing enthusiast dedicated to helping others obtain life long wealth. He owns several different blogs and is also passionate about health and fitness.

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