When you buy a new property, you know how to ask for the keys but are you asking for everything you need to unlock the digital assets you’re acquiring? This is the first of two articles where we’ll be addressing what you need to know to make sure you have what you need to maintain continuous use of the domain name and the website for your new property.
The domain name is the name of your website (e.g. villageoaks.com or talltreesbluebell.com) and its registration was previously maintained by the former owner of your property through a domain registration company, like Go Daddy or Network Solution. In order to keep the current property website, you’ll need to get them to transfer the ownership to you. Even if all parties involved are responsive, this process isn’t difficult, but it requires coordination between the seller and the buyer and can take several days to finalize.
However, there is a lot that can go wrong during this process. For example, the seller’s team may have lost the login credentials. Perhaps the person who stored that information left the company (or died – we once had to navigate that). Before you are going through with closing, make sure to verify the seller knows the login to the domain registrar. Also, get them to agree to be begin the domain transfer right after close, to respond to all domain transfer requests within 24 hours, and to not make any changes during the transfer. It’s also worth looking up when the domain is due to expire, which can be easily accomplished online. If it happens to be expiring during the transition, make sure the seller agrees to renew it.
With a little bit of planning, you’ll ensure the smooth transfer of the property’s domain and website. A few quick questions can leave you with all the information you need to update and maintain your new website.
It’s also important to determine who developed the property’s website, where it’s hosted and what, if any, hosting or maintenance agreements are in place. If it’s a RentCafe, RealPage or Entrata website, you will need to make sure to transfer service. We’ve seen sellers cancel service and leave companies scrambling to launch a new site and recover search engine visibility. You don’t want this to happen to you! If it’s a custom WordPress site, you’ll need to make sure you are introduced to the website developer and understand where the site is hosted, how well the site has been maintained, and if daily backups are in place. In either case, you’ll want to make sure you have all the logins associated with the site, including the CMS user name and password. You’ll also want to ask for FTP credentials, if it’s a custom site.
By asking the right questions, you’ll be able to ensure continuous service of your new property’s website as you take over. Whether you want to revamp the site after purchase, that’s up to you! But as long as you have all of the right information, the transfer should be simple. And, of course, if you’re looking to redesign any property website, we’re here to help.