Do Real Estate Websites Need To Comply with ADA?
In short – yes. All websites must comply with the ADA to ensure an accessible web, and the real estate sector is not secluded.
If you work in the real estate industry and you haven’t heard of the ADA or WCAG, then you might want to listen up. A significant uptick in demand letters and lawsuits are being sent to real estate agents and companies regarding their websites’ accessibility standards. Demand letters and subsequent lawsuits can be an enormously costly endeavor for many companies, as well as damaging to your company’s reputation.
Lawyers that represent users with disabilities are helping their clients to approach real estate businesses whose online platforms are accommodating of special needs. For example, websites that are likely to receive a demand letter will lack features like descriptive links, resizable text, alt text, transcripts for content, and much more.
Real estate websites might be specifically targeted due to their importance. Today it is nearly impossible to purchase or rent an apartment or home without first checking it out online. If your website is not set up to accommodate users with disabilities, then a large and crucial group of people are being left out of the opportunity to find their next home.
Wait, What Is Website Accessibility?
Now that your attention has been captured, you are probably wondering what website accessibility is and the process for acquiring it. To put it simply, website accessibility standards exist to ensure all users have equal access to information on websites and mobile apps. Website accessibility advocates believe the information you present online needs to be accessible by all people, regardless of disability type or severity of impairment.
According to the CDC, 1 in every 4 Americans has a disability. That amounts to around 61 million adults in the U.S. who might need unique tools to navigate and comprehend online content. If your real estate website is not taking proactive steps to accommodate users with disabilities, then you might be missing out on a broad audience.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has taken note of this issue. NAR has even gone as far as to appeal to the Department of Justice to provide clear standards for real estate companies so they can be sure to meet compliance standards. NAR has also been vocal in its warnings to both real estate agents and businesses about their vulnerability to lawsuits and litigation.
How Does Web Accessibility Relate to Real Estate?
As an agent, your company’s website is an important home-base for attracting potential clients. On your website, you can post about open houses, trends in real estate, financial information, critical company details, and of course, photos of homes available for sale or for rent.
It is possible to get information about price, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, location, neighborhood, and even schools from a real estate website. When users cannot access this important information, they miss out on the opportunity to find a great new home.
In 2018, 44% of potential home buyers looked at properties online as the first step in their real estate purchase journey. From the initial exploration on your website, clients are likely to contact your company or a specific agent to see a home or begin the process of working together. When a user cannot understand, navigate, or comprehend the information online, they are simply blocked from using your website to find a home.
How Can You Achieve ADA Compliance for Your Real Estate Website?
Now that you know just how important it is to your real estate business to maintain a compliant website, the next step is to turn your website accessible & ADA compliant and keep it that way.
In the past, companies resorted to a manual approach to updating and amending their websites to be more accessible and compliant. A manual method can be costly, as it requires a specialized professional to audit, plan, and implement the changes.
Fully manual methods are now generally considered outdated, as automated solutions have impacted how easily companies can update their websites.
Thanks to the automated solutions available today, obtaining a compliant website has never been easier or more affordable.
Automated Solutions to the Rescue
You will want to learn more about the best automated website accessibility solutions out there. Thanks to the usage of technology like artificial intelligence and machine learning, companies today can transform your website into a fully compliant one without any major adjustments or changes to your website’s code. Many also provide 24/7 monitoring, a certificate of compliance, and can complete the transformation in a matter of days.
Your real estate business provides people with the opportunity to find their dream home. Don’t hesitate to serve and reach a larger audience by taking important and immediate steps toward website accessibility today.