After you have your hosting account and domain setup, the first software that you’ll want to install is a front end package that will allow you to display contact information, your real estate listings with pictures, and other important data. And the solution that recommend and use myself, is Open Realty. Open Realty is a free solution, however there are some advanced integration tools you can purchase from them at a reasonable price, such as their IDX data importer, RETS data importer, and advanced Google map integration tools.
But let’s not get too technical just yet, you can always add these tools later. Let’s get started by downloading the free (or commercial, if it suits you better) addition of Open Realty. You can get it here:
Download Open Realty (link will open in a new window so you can keep your place here)
Once downloaded, unzip the package and upload it to the main location on your hosting account (generally the “public_html” or “htdocs” folder, or just the root folder your ftp program puts you into by default). If you need help uploading, refer to my post on the FileZilla FTP Program for assistance.
Once uploaded, you may need to change the permissions on the following folders/files to 777 (most hosts default your permissions to 755):
Don’t worry, this is very easy to do with FileZilla. When logged in to your site with FileZilla, just right click the appropriate file or folder, then click “File Permissions”. Simply change the numeric value to 777 and you’re done! Alternatively, you can just place a check in all nine boxes you see to change the permissions to 777.
Next, you will need a MySQL database. To create one, navigate to http://www.yourdomain.com/cpanel and login with the details your hosting provider emailed to you. Find the icon labeled “MySQL Database Wizard” and click on it. Name the database something like “openrealty” or whatever you would like. Write down the full name of the database before moving on, it will be something like username_openrealty. Click the “Next Step” button.
Fill in the appropriate boxes to create a user name and password for the new database. Write this information down, because we’ll need it later. Click the “Create User” button to continue. Check the “All Privileges” box, then click “Next Step”. You should see a screen telling you the process was successful.
Now, open a web browser and navigate to http://www.yourdomain.com/install/index.php. This will start the install wizard, and should be self explanatory. Just refer to the database name, user name and password you wrote down earlier when the install wizard asks for it.
Once you have completed the install, you’ll be able to go to http://www.yourdomain.com/admin to setup the specifics inside your Open Realty install. It is menu driven, and should be pretty easy to navigate. You’ll be able to update your contact information and provide a photo, as well as adding your listings with pictures, etc.
That’s it for the front end setup of your virtual real estate system. Let’s move on to the next step, which is installing a blog on your website.