Using highly affordable real estate website products can be quite tempting for brokerages, but some are still betting that dropping big bucks for custom designs and features will pay off.

First Team Real Estate, which claims to be the largest independent brokerage in California and have 2,500 sales professionals, is one of them. The brokerage has unveiled a mobile-friendly website, websites for all its agents and brokers and a powerful intranet.

They cost a pretty penny.

“We spent a quarter of a million dollars specifically so that our agents have the best tools available today and that will continue to emerge available to help them serve home buyers and sellers,” said Mark Hughes, chief operating officer at First Team Real Estate, in a statement.

The new website helped First Team “breeze through Mobilegeddon,” what some tech experts have dubbed a recent update to Google’s search engine algorithm, First Team Real Estate said. The update elevated mobile-friendly websites in search results, making others less discoverable.

“Our team knew that with the explosion in mobile use and the ever increasing reliance on photos, videos, and neighborhood information, our site and those of our agents needed to exceed each of those needs,” said Stephen Skinner, chief information officer, First Team Real Estate.

Along with the rollout of its websites, First Team has also made a powerful intranet available to its agents. The internal communication network is powered by Yapmo, a platform known for making it easier for real estate agents to find buyer or sellers represented by colleagues, and keep deals in house.

The intranet also makes technology resources available at one point of entry, including Google Apps, continuing education, a tool agents can use to edit their personal First Team-powered website, a customer relationship management system and a transaction management system.

Real Estate Webmasters (REW) partnered with First Time to develop and design its new websites.

By drawing on APIs (application programming interfaces) offered by Real Estate Webmasters and Yapmo, First Team says it forged many unique custom features for lead management, social media marketing and online brand identity, “significantly expanding the scope of these platforms beyond what is provided in their generic versions.”

Email Teke Wiggin.

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