In this article, we’ll talk about plugins that perfectly fit and boost our real estate PHP script. Once you have launched your real estate agency portal or a listing property directory, you need to think of generating traffic, populating your site with properties, and making it user-friendly and appealing to visitors. At the initial stage, you may think of your site as an apartment that you have just bought and moved in. It is half-empty and poorly furnished. To provide comfort and make it cozy, you need to buy furniture and decorate it. Similarly, your site offers only the basic functionality at the start, and the job of any webmaster is to think of plugins that will make users’ experience on your site more enjoyable.
Over the years, we have received a lot of queries from our users, who wanted to know how to navigate across a multitude of available plugins and single out the ones that are most relevant to our real estate script. Based on the feedback collected from property site owners and our expertise in property management, we have put together a list of plugins, which we believe every listing property site should offer. Spend no more than five minutes reading this post and learn how to give your property portal a head start with a set of powerful plugins specifically designed for our real estate script.
Our advanced and flexible Booking plugin allows you to transform your real estate site into a rental property portal, where users will be able to make reservations and rent both residential and non-residential properties. Once installed, the Plugin adds an additional tab to a property details page in the user interface. The Booking Plugin shows the user an availability calendar for the property, allows him to enter check-in and check-out dates, get rates, adjust the dates if his travel arrangements change, etc. The rental property owner can either accept or reject booking requests, set daily rates for high and low seasons, holidays and even weekends, set minimum/maximum stay duration (properties can be rented hourly, daily, or for longer periods). On the other end, the Administrator may view all the booking requests for a particular rental property, select different color schemes for the calendar, configure booking forms, etc. With our PHP real estate script and advanced booking module, you can easily create a rental property site that users will enjoy and prefer to others. The Plugin is PREMIUM.
Importing property ads in XML/XLS/CSV
The XML Feed Import plugin is intended to help site owners populate their freshly installed real estate sites with properties in XML format. You also can import listings in XLS/CSV formats using our flexible CSV/XLS Import Plugin with the mapping manager. You’ll need to find a free or paid source of feeds to import properties from. The XML Import plugin adds a sophisticated manager with a mapping module to the admin panel from where you may import a database of properties, more so, the Plugin transfers pictures along with properties with the use of picture archives or URLs of imported pictures. Once the import is complete, you get a comprehensive listing archive with photo galleries. The Plugin is essential to the real estate management software as it allows you to quickly populate your site with properties. More importantly, estate agents may create profiles and take the benefit of the CSV/XLS/XML plugins to import properties to their accounts. Both Plugins are PREMIUM.
When browsing property listings on your portal users need to navigate across a wide range of listings with minor or major differences in details. The Compare plugin allows users to add properties of interest to a table and scrupulously compare various listing characteristics and features without switching back and forth from one listing to another. The Plugin adds a button above the photo gallery in property details allowing the user to add properties to a comparison table, and select the one that best fits his needs. The Plugin is a convenient and useful add-on that helps users to compare ads easily and save the comparison results. The Plugin is PREMIUM.
Claim Your Listing
If you or agents on your site use the XML Import or CSV/XLS Import plugins to populate your real estate portal with third-party listings, you may end up collecting a multitude of properties not belonging to anyone. The Claim Your Listing plugin adds a “Claim Listing” button to the property details page allowing respective owners to claim their ads. The owner is given three options to verify his ownership:
– By an email assigned to a listing,
– By an SMS if a phone number is indicated in a listing (requires a Clickatell account), or
– By uploading an image.
The Plugin generates a manager in the admin panel from where you may view all pending listing verification requests. The Plugin is PREMIUM.
Filtering Homes by Location
The Location Filter plugin is a versatile tool that helps your users find the right property listings without wasting time looking through irrelevant ones. The Location Filter comes with a GEO filtering tool that is used to select and filter property listings by location. The Plugin can filter properties, agent accounts, and other content on your real estate portal. If your website contains properties from across the country, the user may select a certain region, district, or city where he wants to look through property listings. He may change the location as many times as he needs to find the property that best suits him. To make it even more convenient you may enable an automatic filtering mode. When set to the automatic filtering mode, the Plugin will identify a user’s IP and offer him property listings and estate agents that are relevant to his location. The functionality of the Location Filter can be enhanced with the activation of the Filter plugin that comes in handy when the user wants to narrow down his search. The Location Filter is FREE.
Search for Homes by Distance
The Search by Distance plugin creates a field in the front end where a user may enter a zip code, specify the maximum distance from it in miles or kilometers, and click the “Go” button that will bring up a transparent circle on the screen, within which the user will see all the active properties presented as red markers. The user may click any of them to get detailed listing information. Since the Plugin is based on Google Maps APIs service, it delivers accurate and up-to-date location information. The Plugin is flawlessly integrated with our real estate script and provides your users with an enhanced search experience. The Plugin is PREMIUM.
The Mortgage Calculator adds a box or a tab to every property details page where a user enters a mortgage amount and period along with an interest rate. The Plugin instantly brings up a loan repayment schedule showing users monthly installments, interest and the remaining amount to be paid. The installation is easy and hassle-free requiring no configuration in the back end. The loan calculator is especially useful for real estate sites since most of the buyers take out a mortgage to buy property, and therefore need to have a clear repayment schedule. Adding the Plugin to your site will retain users as they won’t have to leave your site to do the arithmetic. The mortgage calculator is equipped with a currency converter allowing users to see repayments in their country’s currency. The Plugin is FREE.
The Price History plugin creates a special box on the property details page in the front end. It works by recording price changes and showing them to a user in a table with a number of values such as a price changes date, current and prior price differences in percent per square foot, and more. To get a better visual idea, the user may opt for a line chart where the price changes are shown as fluctuations in a horizontal axis. The Plugin is installed smoothly in the back end and requires no configuration. The Plugin helps users to see the price dynamics of a property, which has been on sale for a long time. Seeing the changes, the user can make a more informed purchasing decision and find the most opportune time for buying a property. The Plugin is FREE.
The Location Finder plugin adds the Google Maps to the Add/Edit a Listing step above or below location-related fields showing a user location on the Maps by his IP. The user can move the marker and position it right over the listing location in order to provide a more accurate address. The marker is synced with the location fields; that is if you reposition the marker the fields will be automatically synced with the marker position. In addition, the Plugin displays similar listings from nearby locations, which is especially useful for recently launched websites with few listings available. As the Plugin is based on Google Maps, you may rest assured that the information is always correct and up-to-date. The Plugin is FREE.
The Listing Boxes plugin is intended to create boxes with properties that may appear virtually on all the pages of your site. Listing boxes help users easier navigate across your site and promptly locate properties matching their preferences. In the back end, the Administrator is presented with a range of options regarding the creation and placement of various boxes. To start with, you may create random, popular, featured, and recently added properties and choose the number of listings to be displayed in them. Furthermore, you may choose to display listing boxes horizontally or vertically and select a page on your site where a listing box will be placed. The Plugin might be enhanced with other plugins, such as the Listing Rating and Listing Carousel plugins. The Plugin is FREE.
The Nearby Schools plugin shows all nearby schools found in the vicinity of a property selected by a user. The schools are grouped based on a rating, type, grade level, and distance from a given property. If you click a school link you’ll be taken to a US school rating agency where you may obtain detailed information on more than 200,000 public and private schools, including reviews, knowledge scores on particular subjects, school contact information, and more. The Administrator may choose a number of schools that will be displayed in the results, as well as the radius within which the schools will be shown. The Plugin is FREE.
The Similar Ads plugin сreates a box with similar property listings on a property details page and allows your users to see other property options they may choose from. The Plugin also helps to generate more traffic to your real estate website as users will be likely to spend more quality time on your site by looking through similar listings. Once installed, the Plugin works perfectly well based on default settings. If you wish to apply advanced settings, you will need to configure the “similar listing form” and add additional fields, thus making the similarity of property listings more suitable to your needs. You can also choose where the “similar listing box” will appear on your site. The Plugin is PREMIUM.
Google Street View
The Google Street View plugin creates a street-view tab, a gallery or a box below the listing details. After viewing a property, the user may then click the street view and get a better visual representation, which will help him evaluate property surroundings. The Street View plugin gives a user a panoramic 360-degree view of the street with the advertised property, better yet, the user may navigate around the panorama with a mouse, see the adjacent houses and buildings, and even take a virtual tour around a neighborhood. Powered by the Google Maps and Yandex Maps services. The installation of the Plugin takes a few clicks, and its configuration takes a couple of minutes. Once active, it allows your users to better evaluate the surroundings around a property and make a more informed purchasing decision. The Plugin is FREE.
The Field-Bound Boxes plugin is designed to create standalone boxes with links in the form of categories providing users with the possibility to filter through multiple property listings. The content boxes created are flexible and may contain icons, images, text, text + images, etc. When a user clicks a box, which can come in the form of a lovely picture of a city or a tourist attraction depicting a city, he is redirected to a page containing all the property listings in the selected location. The Plugin offers a lot of useful settings and options, for example, you can add a listing counter to each of the links so that a user could see how many property ads are available on the page, you can use customized icons, etc. When installed together with the Location Filter plugin, the Plugin allows users to find properties in a couple of clicks. The Plugin is FREE.
The Property Comments/Reviews plugin adds an additional tab on a property details page, which allows users to leave their comments, reviews, and recommendations about products on your website. Comments and reviews do not only make your real estate portal more interactive and appealing to others but are also SEO-friendly as most of them contain keywords needed for the search engines to better index a certain property. In addition, the Plugin provides an opportunity for users to rate their experience with a home by assigning it a certain number of stars. In the admin panel, you can set the maximum number of characters a review may contain, decide whether you want comments to appear immediately or wait for your approval, etc. The Plugin is PREMIUM.
The Listing Rating plugin adds a rating widget to a page with property details allowing users to rate listings. The widget features a bar with a certain number of stars set by the Administrator and statistics on each rated product, including the number of votes and an average rating. You can also configure the rating to your preferences, for example, enable rating possibility only for registered users or prevent users from rating their own ads. The Plugin functionality can be extended with the help of other plugins, such as the Listing Box Plugin to create boxes with top-rated homes, or the Property Carousel plugin to rotate ads in them. The Plugin is FREE.
Despite the fact that our real estate PHP script offers a significant basic functionality you can make it even more powerful by using the plugins above. We believe your job as a webmaster is to make users feel welcome and at home on your site so that they would spend more time on it and return to it again, thus bringing added value to your real estate portal. Do not settle for the basic functionality because your site needs to give users much more than that. With our basic real estate software, you might certainly attract some visitors, but the main question is “will they come back?” Retaining users and turning them into regulars is a task more challenging than simply launching a website. If you add the right plugins to your site, you may rest assured that this will eventually pay off and your real estate site will be a welcome place for users.