What does Ruhl&Ruhl Realtors have in common with the glitzy, luxury Southern California firm featured on Netflix’s reality series, “Selling Sunset”?

For the second year in a row, the Quad-Cities based RuhlHomes.com was honored among the top five best overall real estate websites

Caroline Ruhl is CEO of Ruhl&Ruhl Realtors.

nationwide. Judged against hundreds of other residential brokerages across the nation, RuhlHomes.com ranked number 4 for the second consecutive year.

Last year’s winner, Los Angeles-based The Oppenheim Group (of “Selling Sunset”) is number two, and the top spot went to Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty, in the Seattle area.

RuhlHomes.com – which was re-launched in early 2019 after a comprehensive redesign — also earned fourth spot for best community and property detail pages, and fifth spot for overall design. View the full ranking information here. 

The rankings were conducted by REAL Trends, the trusted source of news, analysis and information on the residential real estate brokerage industry. The REAL Trends website ranking is the annual review of the best submitted websites across the country.

“This honor reflects the hard work put in by staff and our agents,” said Caroline Ruhl, CEO of Ruhl&Ruhl Realtors. “We would also like to thank our customers for giving input to make us better. We may be 158 years old, but this ranking reflects our continued commitment to stay on the cutting edge of technology.”

“We focus on adding value to our clients throughout the real estate transaction,” said Chris Beason, President of Ruhl&Ruhl Realtors. “With more and more of the real estate process going digital, we have committed to extending the excellence in service that we are known for to our online presence. It is this dedication to quality that allows our agents to rise above the rest.”

The home page of RuhlHomes.com.

Brent Driggers, Web director for REAL Trends, said Thursday that they consider the latest web design trends, industry trends and overall best practice for web design and development in the real estate space.

Websites were judged using a list of strict criteria in five critical areas including mobile experience, use of video, neighborhood/community pages, property detail pages and design, he said.

“A brokerage or team’s website is typically the first point of interaction that a potential buyer or seller has online,” Driggers said. “Having a captivating website that intrigues the user to take action has never been more important. Our goal with the website rankings is to provide a valuable benchmark tool for others to emulate and pull inspiration from when considering a website refresh.”

The home page for the Oppenheim Group, which is featured on Netflix’s series “Selling Sunset.”

Ruhl&Ruhl “has proven year after year that they are heavily invested in their online presence,” he said. “The website utilizes all aspects of effective web design best practice and provides the user with an invaluable online experience. The minimalist, yet elegant design makes it super simple to find what you are looking for, whether that be for buyers or sellers.

“The mega menu incorporated into the desktop website design is easy to use, engaging and makes the user experience very straight forward,” Driggers said.

“The user experience translates nicely onto mobile as well, as the user can quickly navigate without having to scroll very far to find what they are looking for. Ruhl Homes has made the effort to optimize their mobile experience and make it different from their desktop experience, which is another strong aspect of their overall website and a huge factor in their rankings.”

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Lastly, RuhlHomes.com has implemented several “one-of-a-kind elements that can be found throughout the website, such as the ‘Market Watch’ tool on the home page,” he added. “This tool helps the user immediately learn about market conditions within their price range in a easy to use, interactive manner that updates in real time. Tools like this are hard to come by in the industry and provide a truly unique value proposition that positions them as industry leaders.”

Redesign took over two years

The process to overhaul the Ruhl site took well over two years – including working with its 325 agents, customers, and the real estate website developer Neutrino, based in Seattle, said Jenny Parvin, Ruhl&Ruhl’s director of marketing and public relations.

It took more than two years to redesign the residential real estate site.

“Development of a website is always a really long process,” she said Thursday. “We spent a lot of time listening to and talking to agents and customers. They often give us the best feedback. We’ve been able to achieve this award, and for us it’s about listening to clients, customers and agents. What’s interesting about it, it’s an ongoing process. It’s something we pay attention to on a weekly, if not daily, basis.”

Among the biggest design improvements were focused on making the site simple and extremely user-friendly, Parvin said.

“We also went to great lengths to include a lot of communities,” she said of the regions they serve throughout eastern Iowa, western Illinois and southwest Wisconsin. “We have over 110 communities on the site now. It doesn’t matter the size of the local town or area; we make sure they’re represented on our site.”

You can get an estimated market value for your home on the site.

“We designed it with our local homebuyers and sellers in mind,” she said. Individual agents had their own pages on the site before 2019, but they were not as robust and complete as they are now, Parvin said, noting each includes a bio and customer testimonials as well as current listings.

Caroline Ruhl said the website honoe “says a lot about Jenny Parvin and Chris Beason, who spent a huge amount of time researching and studying. The biggest thing, we’ve got so many different markets and properties on our site, and have so much more information.

“I’m really proud of them; it was a real team effort,” Ruhl said. “They work every week, every day on this. They’re already working on how to make it better for next year. “

Among other improvements are all the analyses and data available on the site, she added.

“We’re really excited; this is something we’ve gotten two years in a row,” Parvin said of the rankings, calling REAL Trends “the leader in

The average Q-C home price is $220,000.

trusted information in the real estate industry. They have pretty in-depth processes for ranking brokerages.”

“It goes to show, we have excellent agents, who perform really at the top in the country,” she said. “Led by Chris Beason, to match that, it was time to give the agents the tools they deserve in the online space. It’s a reflection of the quality the agents give our customers.”

On the site, you can:

Search the Way You Want to. Whether you’re searching for a neighborhood, subdivision, school district, city, or zip code, RuhlHomes.com makes it easy to filter your results to find exactly what you’re looking for.

Get the Value of Your Home. Visit Ruhlhomes.com/Homevalue to put in your address to start to understand the value of your home. From there, you can contact us to get connected with an agent to learn more about the market trends in your neighborhood.

Discover More In-Depth Data. The data in Facts & Trends is brought to life on RuhlHomes.com. Learn if your market is a Buyer’s or Seller’s Market, compare the current activity to last year, and even research statistics by price range.

Make Better Decisions. Each listing you click on will give you all the information you will need to make the most informed decision, including detailed market conditions. You will also be able to save your favorite homes and create saved searches.

Explore Your Local Communities. Learn more about the local market trends, the history, the attractions, the amenities, and what makes each one of our over 110 communities on the site special. You can also filter your home search by these communities to view homes for sale in the area.

Go Beyond the Home Search. Use RuhlHomes.com to answer all of your real estate questions. Search for vendors to find your next plumber, test out the mortgage calculators to see how much you can afford, or read our buyer and seller guides to walk through each step of the process. You can even use our Utility Resource Guide to research and sign up for utilities.

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Jonathan Turner has been covering the Quad-Cities arts scene for 25 years, first as a reporter with the Dispatch and Rock Island Argus, and then as a reporter with the Quad City Times. Jonathan is also an accomplished actor and musician who has been seen frequently on local theater stages, including the Bucktown Revue and Black Box Theatre.