In 2010, I wrote an article asking if real estate agents understand domain names. At that point in time, it had been my experience that many did not realize the value of exact match domain names (EMDs). Since that time, I have closed a number of solid deals on geoRealEstate.com domain names, and have met many real estate agents who value keyword domain names highly.
With this realization that there are many real estate agents who do “get” domain names, I thought it would be interesting to reach out to a number of agents and real estate professionals that own EMDs to get their perspective on these domain name assets.
Here are some of their responses:
Rick Golden – USA Realty – PoconosRealEstate.com
I purchased it about 2 years ago at auction for $2200, but I was prepared to go well into the 5 figures for it. I already owned PoconosRealEstate.ws and two of the top ranked travel websites for the Poconos, PoconosBest.com and PoconosHotels.com. I think links from these helped PoconosRealEstate.com get ranked faster / better.
We use the site as a lead generation tool for our Poconos region real estate brokerage. We do no other advertising and realize between 40 and 50 transactions per year from the site. It is our leading source of business. About 17% of all traffic is from folks typing PoconosRealEstate.com into their address bar and about 28% of traffic is return.
The Poconos Mountains in North eastern PA is a tourist destination and has a much higher ratio of second / vacation homes than many other regions. Thus internet marketing is the best source of leads as prospects will search for real estate prior to taking the 2 hour drive from the city and have a pretty good idea of the homes they wish to view before coming out.
Scott Hack – Finish Line Realty, LouisvilleRealEstate.com
My name is Scott Hack, I’m the broker and one of the founders of Finish Line Realty located in Louisville, KY. It’s been a while since I looked, but if my memory serves me correctly, by population, Louisville is ranked as the 27th largest city in the United States. Although Louisville is the largest city in Kentucky, it is not the state capital. Real estate in Louisville, KY is historically very affordable. The city consistently wins awards from national magazines and trade groups, making annual lists such as “best city to retire to, best city to raise a family” etc. Ratings like that of course can be very ambiguous, but what they show is that Louisville, KY offers a high quality of life for its residents. I am a near life long resident of the metro area. I’ve lived here my entire life except for a summer I spent working In Yellowstone National Park over a decade ago.
In the spring of 2011 Finish Line Realty was born, and with it a web presence needed to be established. For the first 3 months the company operated under a different domain. However, for the prior 2 years I had been in communication with the prior owner of LouisvilleRealEstate.com – The prior owner had turned down 2 or 3 of my previous offers for the domain. It was my understanding that they had been holding the domain in their portfolio for a while, I’m not sure how long or how they acquired it. In the spring of 2011 they approached me about acquiring the domain. It seemed that timing and being in the right place at the right time helped.
In keeping in contact with the prior owner, they had decided to sell some of their current inventory to make a large acquisition themselves. Their asking price was honestly still outside of my budget, but I was able to justify the cost by looking at the branding power of the domain, and 30 plus years I’d be able to use it in my real estate career. I can’t think of a single other domain that is as easily brand-able as cityrealestate.com — so I agreed to acquire the domain. In typical high-tech times, I signed the agreement, scanned and emailed it back and jumped on a plane to Vegas for a conference. After arrival in Vegas, I needed to provide funds, so I used my cell phone and PayPal which I had setup in advance prior to the trip to send over the funds. The domain was transferred to me the next day, and I had everything setup in under a week.
When making the decision to purchase LouisvilleRealEstate.com — my first priority was branding. As I mentioned it is nearly impossible to forget. Giving email addresses to locals is very easy. It’s extremely memorable. The other side of the coin for owning the domain came into the realm of search engine optimization. I had already acquired and owned a few dozen domain names that were either keyword rich, or exact match domains. The bonus that the search engines gave for an exact match domain, was helpful in ranking favorable in the search results. It is my understanding from what I’ve read that the bonus isn’t nearly as helpful as it once was. The site still ranks #1 in Bing for Louisville Real Estate, and does well in Google as well.
As I move into the next phase of my business plan and expand into hiring agents. My domain name, my branding, my assets are just as important if not MORE important than a stately office. Having the ability to attract buyers and sellers is the core of what I do. So by staking claim to this digital real estate, I am in effect building my tower on the ocean. I’ve grabbed the best piece of digital real estate that my city has to offer and I plan to continue to leverage it into bigger and better things. By now, you are probably curious what I paid to acquire the domain in 2011. The short answer is I’m not willing to disclose the exact figure. However, I’m willing to say that even though the cost to acquire the domain was outside of my original budget, it really worked out to me closing 1 or 2 additional deals to make it worthwhile. Which hurt cash flow initially in the beginning days of the business, but like all GOOD investments, it has paid for itself many times over in branding and increased exposure to my listings through higher rankings in the search engines.
Robert Pursell, NapaRealEstate.com
I purchased NapaRealEstate about five years ago for $2,000 from a fellow realtor who was retiring out of the business. The domain allowed me to get onto the the first results page of Google and Yahoo! natural search results. I also do PPC so I can value the natural clicks I receive to determine a return on investment. The domain generates around $100/month in traffic. So the domain paid for itself in about two years – a good return on investment.
I thought there would be branding value of a premium domain beyond its ability to generate natural search traffic but that impact has been minimal. I would therefore caution your domain resellers to price these domains within a valuation range that corresponds to its traffic value. A similar domain is being offered in our (relatively small) geography for $25,000 on the rationale that there is a whole business to be cultivated around the domain name beyond its PPC valuation. Needless to say despite lots of interest in the domain name it hasn’t sold after five plus years.
Steve Trang – ChandlerHomes.com
I bought my domains in April of 2011 through now. In that time, I’ve bought TempeHomes.com ($4500), ChandlerHomes.com ($5500), GilbertHomes.com ($4799), Mesarealestate.com, queencreekrealestate.com, laveenhomes.com, laveenrealestate.com, goodyearhomes.com, surprisehomes.com, phoenixshortsale.com, phoenixforeclosures.com, and phoenixgolfhomes.com. There’s more, but those are my best ones. I included the prices for the sales that are public record.
I bought these domains because I want to be seen as the authority in my area. When I call a new buyer, I can say, “Hi this is Steve from TempeHomes.com, and I’m calling because…” Also, when I’m at a listing presentation, I can offer to feature their home on the authority site free of charge.
The biggest benefit is that I have instant recognition when I call potential client and mention my domain. It’s a lot easier to say Steve from TempeHomes.com versus TempeAZ-real-estate.com. No offense if anybody owns that. I also do get a good amount of organic traffic which of course is a big bonus. Lastly, I’m convinced (with no clear proof) that it helps with my ppc bid prices due to relevance and authority.
I’m always interested in selling, but I don’t think anybody would want to pay my prices. Someone offered me 3000 for mesarealestate.com, which was not worth my time to counter.